THE second weekend of the 2019 Yorkshire Schools Dance Festival will be held at Central Hall, University of York, on Saturday and Sunday from 3pm.
As many as 1,200 children aged four to 19, from 57 primary schools, secondary schools, colleges and community dance groups, are taking part in this annual non-competitive event.
Spread over two weekends, the festival celebrates the region’s young creative talent and raises the profile of dance provision within schools and the wider community, while showcasing a range of abilities and dance styles. For the vast majority, this is the first time they will have danced in public.
For the four days of dancing, groups are travelling from as far afield as Ingleton, Hull, Thirsk and Barnsley to take part after developing their performances through after-school clubs, during curriculum time and as part of examination courses.
A festival theme is set each year, and for the past few months schools and groups have been deciding how best to interpret this year’s theme, Reflections. Performances vary from reinterpretations of the Snow White story, through to a consideration of the physics of reflection, to support work within science lessons.
Laura Brett, class teacher at Naburn CE Primary School, York, says: “Our dance piece tells the story of a Grandma and Grandad reflecting on their lives as children, watching as visions of their younger selves relive some of the happier days in their lives.
“The children have had great fun choreographing this – prompting some discussion about the lives we lead and the mark we want to make on the world.”
Taking part from Keighley, Emma Pease, Class 3 teacher at Cowling Primary School, says: “We thought about how social media affects us and our mental health. The group then modelled how we could reflect this negativity away from us, realising our strength together and becoming more resilient as a result.”
The festival is produced by York arts education specialists Creative Learning Partnerships, whose director, Colin Jackson, says: “Dance is an art form that is central to our heritage and culture. It’s celebrated increasingly on our TV screens through shows like Strictly Come Dancing and Britain’s Got Talent.
“The sad state of affairs in schools, however, is that it is quickly disappearing from the curriculum, despite the overwhelming evidence of its positive impact on physical, emotional and social wellbeing.
“Dance is a collaborative process that develops teamwork, resilience, communication skills, creativity and a sense of pride. Why shouldn’t our children be afforded these opportunities?”
Across the two weekends, the 1,200 dancers will be performing to 2,000 people, who will see how schools have interpreted the theme in different ways.
In an extension to the 2019 festival, through funding from Arts Council England, Engage & Inspire will be giving participating children the chance to work with professional artists from Yorkshire and the North.
Northern Rascals and Hawk Dance Theatre are presenting specially commissioned performances, Casson & Friends and TenFoot Dance are hosting interactive workshops while Brink & Howl Creative are delivering an innovative digital dance installation combining music, dance and digital projections. Two hundred children will have the opportunity to achieve an Arts Award to reward their efforts.
Jon Beney, associate artist at Hull Truck Theatre and co-artistic director at TenFoot Dance, says: “The Yorkshire Schools Dance Festival is a great opportunity for the young dancers of Yorkshire to come together and celebrate everything dance.
As a kid, I was inspired by many people that shaped my journey and it feels nice to have stories and skills to help inspire others.”
Tickets are available at yorkshireschoolsdancefestival.co.uk, priced at £7 for adults, £6 for children, plus a booking fee.
Taking part on November 16 were:
Burton Leonard CE Primary School, near Harrogate;
Clifton Green Primary School, York;
E.K Galaxy Cheer & Dance, Harrogate;
Gomersal Primary School, Cleckheaton;
Holy Trinity CE Junior School, Ripon;
Ingleton Primary School;
Ingleton Youth Dance;
Knavesmire Primary School, York;
Selby High School;
St John Fisher Catholic High School, Harrogate;
St Olave’s School, York;
The Snaith School, Goole;
Westfield Primary Community School, York;
York College Performing Arts.
CAPA College, Wakefield;
Cowling Primary School, Keighley;
Hall Cross Academy, Doncaster;
Naburn CE Primary School, York;
Osbaldwick Primary Academy, York;
Outwood Academy, Ripon;
Pannal Primary School, Harrogate;
Robert Wilkinson Primary Academy, York;
St Oswald’s CE Primary School, York;
Stamford Bridge Primary School;
The Rodillian Academy, Wakefield;
The Space Dance Studio, Hull;
Thirsk Youth Dance;
Tockwith CE Primary Academy.
Taking part on November 23 will be:
Bellfield Primary School, Hull;
Greatwood Community Primary and Nursery;
Haxby Road Primary Academy, York;
Leavening Community Primary;
Poppleton Road Primary School, York;
Ralph Butterfield Primary School, York;
Skipton Girls High School;
St Barnabas CE Primary School, York;
St Lawrence’s CE Primary School, York;
Trinity Academy, Halifax.
CAPA Juniors, Wakefield;
Dunnington CE Primary School, York;
Hempland Primary Academy, York;
Huntington Primary Academy, York;
Hymers College Junior School, Hull;
Lord Deramore’s Primary School, York;
Mechanics Performing Arts, Wakefield;
Melbourne Primary School, York;
Northern Dance Academy, York;
Ryburn Valley High School, Sowerby Bridge;
St Aelred’s RC Primary School, York;
St Paul’s CE Primary School, York;
St Wilfrid’s RC Primary School, York;
Staynor Hall Primary Academy, Selby;
York Youth Dance.