Past Programmes for Children and Young People

Past CYP Programmes

Over the years, Youth Dance England (one of the partners that merged to become One Dance UK) ran many programmes and events for both young people and the adults working in the sector. One Dance UK is building on this work and ran its first national youth dance festival – U.Dance 2016 – in July 2016.

Below is a list of past dance programmes for Children and Young People.


In 2015 Youth Dance England partnered with Plymouth Dance to deliver The National Youth Dance Festival. The four-day festival welcomed over 300 young people and 72 group leaders from across England.

Plymouth Dance also hosted local engagement activity in the lead up to U.Dance 2015, making the total reach for U.Dance 1600 young dancers. Watch videos from the event here.

View U.Dance 2015 photos.

Nottingham welcomed 1000 young dancers and their group leaders who travelled from all over the country to take part in U.Dance 2014. This Midlands based festival included a special strand called U.Dance South Asian, and enabled more South Asian work to be seen at the national festival. You can see the groups performing here.

View U.Dance 2014 photos.

Taking place across five venues in Leeds, this youth dance festival involved hundreds of young people from around the UK and included the first U.Dance New Dimensions strand.

See a video about the event here.

View U.Dance 2013 photos.

U.Dance 2012 took place at Southbank Centre 13-15 July, showcasing some of the best dance groups from around the UK. It also offered the wider public the opportunity to take part in free dance workshops with renowned professionals, watch dance films made by or featuring young people, and see dancers in rehearsal.  In a major new development, U.Dance 2012 presented the first UK-wide youth dance company called the U.Dance Ensemble, with the internationally-acclaimed choreographer Hofesh Shechter appointed as Artistic Director. The event was made possible through YDE’s partnership with Southbank Centre, DU Dance in Northern Ireland, National Youth Dance Wales and YDance (Scottish Youth Dance); who for the first time organised selection platforms in their own nations linking to U.Dance.

View U.Dance 2012 photos.


U.Dance 2010

U.Dance England was an outstanding success on Sunday 4th July 2010 at Birmingham Hippodrome. 150 young dancers from 12 regional dance groups gave an incredible performance, including their twelve original pieces and a mind-blowing finale pulled together just a couple of days prior, under the direction of choreographer Bettina Strickler.

The participants all took part in a memorable four-day residential beforehand, during which they practised and developed their dance skills in genres ranging from contemporary to Kathak, and street to musical theatre. They were taught technique, repertoire and choreography by some of England’s renowned artists, including Adèle Thompson from Stomp and Marc Calape from So You Think You Can Dance.

The previous incarnation of U.Dance was the National Youth Dance Festival, which ran from 2006.

Young Creatives

Run since 2008, Young Creatives is a choreographic programme that aims to enhance young people’s skills and knowledge of choreography and gives them the opportunity to present their own work.


Eight Young Creatives, who have been selected from across England, will each present short dance works they have devised following intensive workshop sessions with Paul Hoskins, Music Director, Rambert, choreographer and dancer Sarah Dowling, designer Alice Walkling, and a four-day residential at The Royal Ballet School.


In 2014 the programme branched out into four different areas of the country giving even more young people the chance to take part. The chosen young choreographers from all four regions came together at The Royal Ballet School in London,where they took part in a residential programme at White Lodge and went on to share their work in the Clore Studio Theatre at the Royal Opera House.


Young Creatives 2013 participants worked through residential programmes at the Royal Opera House and Royal Ballet School, mentoring by professional choreographers and a public performance of their work in the Linbury Studio Theatre at the Royal Opera House.

See a short film here.


Other Major Events and Conferences:

YDE Stride! was an annual leadership and development programme aimed at young people wishing to explore the many career opportunities available within the dance sector.

YDE Stride! offered a rare opportunity to participate in an action-packed residential, devise projects with skilled and professional guidance, and develop experience and knowledge of the dance sector through a work placement and support of a mentor, all of which aimed to help participants get a head start with their career in dance.

I just needed the opportunity to get out there and explore…YDE Stride! helped me do this and see what I could be involved in. Participating in Stride! made me see the different rolesI could playin dance and the areas I could specialise in, and realise that just because I dance I don’t have to become a dancer, I can still be involved in dance in other ways. – Stride! 2009 participant 

A very successful YDE Conference took place 23-24 September 2010 at the Mermaid Conference Centre in London, where over 300 delegates exchanged their ideas, knowledge and aspirations for the future of young people’s dance.

The first  Ten Year Vision for Children and Young People’s Dance was launched at the Conference where it was championed by guest speakers Ed Vaizey, Wayne McGregor and Tony Hall amongst others. The Vision identifies needs in high quality teaching and workforce development, increased opportunities for participation and performance both in and out of school settings, dance space development, and strengthening the national young people’s dance network.

The YDE Conference also featured a number of specialist speakers in more than 30 different subjects, who talked about areas including education, careers, teaching development and disability dance for young people. Speakers from Australia, Finland, The Netherlands, Canada and Germany gave an international perspective and a comparison of youth dance in their respective countries, their aims and objectives and the challenges faced. 

Dance Links was a YDE initiative that aimed to strengthen links between schools and out-of-school dance providers in order to overall improve dance experiences for young people.

The project started in 2004 from YDE’s partnership with the National Dance Teachers Association (NDTA), following an increased awareness that schools did not know how to identify and access dance providers to work with their students, and that there was a lack of dance specialists available to work in schools.

Dance Links was funded by the Physical Education Sport Strategy for Young People (PESSYP) through the Department of Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), as part of the government’s plan for every child and young person to participate in five hours of physical activity per week.

In 2008 the National Young Dance Entrepreneurs residential weekend took place at the University of Bedfordshire. The aim was to encourage motivated, talented young people to increase their skills and experience as dance leaders and also build capacity within the present and future dance sector work force.

The programme included learning about how to work best as leader, useful skills such as running a project, performance, presentational skills and how to raise funds for projects. The students were assigned mentors, undertook work experience working on YDE’s major programmes, and were given career guidance to help them develop their skills and plan ahead. The young people also gave input in the setting up of Youth Dance England’s new Young Ambassadors’ scheme.