U.Dance 2019 was a blast!

31 Jul 2019

One Dance UK were delighted to celebrate the end of their time in London in style, by bringing the U.Dance National Festival 2019 to the iconic Southbank Centre in partnership with ISTD. On the 20 and 21 of July we celebrated a fantastically sunny weekend, with almost 500 young people dancing their way into the city of London across some amazing venues. Participants from across the UK took part in challenging workshops from swing dance to musical theatre, taking place at inspiring venues such as Rambert and National Theatre. Meanwhile BFI Southbank played host to U.Dance on Screen, showcasing an amazing array of dance films made with and by young people.

Akademi’s annual NAVADAL competition featured stunning South Asian dance work presented by young people in the Clore Ballroom in front of a panel of industry professionals, with the winners transferring to the Purcell Room for a special performance curated by Vidya Patel. Members of the public and U.Dance participants were also treated to EFDSS’s lively ceilidh and folk dance processions as well as a Jazz Jam presented in partnership with Tomorrow’s Warrors jazz ensemble!

Dance teachers and those working in dance education were treated to a special networking and social event to celebrate the end of the academic year, and in recognition of their hard work with young people. Geoff Barton, General Secretary of ASCL, provided motivational words around the power and value of dance for young people.

Young Creatives, One Dance UK’s programme for aspiring choreographers in partnership with Royal Opera House and Rambert showcased 6 original and thought-provoking pieces of choreography, with themes as wide ranging as Brexit and the pros and cons of surveillance. Across the two evenings, after a rousing introduction from acclaimed choreographer Sir Richard Alston, One Dance UK’s Youth Dance Champion, 24 youth dance groups from across the UK took to the beautiful Queen Elizabeth Hall stage to perform in front of a huge and highly appreciative audience – all wrapped up with a stunning all-cast finale, complete with glow sticks!

Laura Nicholson, Head of Children and Young People’s Dance at One Dance UK said;

“The U.Dance National Festival celebrates excellence in the youth dance sector, showcasing high quality work from schools, private dance schools and community settings in a wide range of dance styles. U.Dance provides a vibrant platform for young people to demonstrate their creativity, talent and sheer hard work, whilst raising aspirations and sharing best practice. While attending U.Dance, young people are inspired by a range of industry professionals and learn about the wide range of dance-related careers available. U.Dance provides memorable and life-enhancing experiences for participants. A special thank you must be extended to all the teachers, youth group leaders and choreographers who work tirelessly all year around to provide creative opportunities for the young people they work with.”

Planning is now underway for U.Dance 2020, which will take place in Glasgow. We are absolutely delighted to be bringing this festival to Scotland for the very first time in partnership with YDance and Scottish Ballet. See you there!