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National Youth Dance Company

Archive for April, 2020

Company blog: Millie

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2020

Going into the April residency I undoubtedly didn’t know what to expect. No packing was needed, as this was the National Youth Dance Company’s first digital residency! Although we couldn’t be together in person, Zoom has become our best friend, and home these past two weeks. It allowed us to see each other’s faces and feel connected with the company, support team and artists.

Regardless of the numerous live-stream dance classes available online, my incentive to stay moving during the lockdown period decreased rapidly as the days went on. The virtual residency was just what I needed to restore my motivation and return to a somewhat normal schedule. Every morning, Edd, Folu, Grace or Artistic Director Russell Maliphant led company class. They assisted us on how to stay in tune with our bodies and deepen our knowledge on how to move them. After all the chaos of A Levels being cancelled and the possibility that we might not be able to perform our piece; taking class made me feel like me again. Alongside class we partook in Toolbox sessions, my favourite being the debate for our Gold Arts Award. It was fulfilling for the company to discuss issues we are passionate about within the world of dance.

The company found numerous ways for us stay connected with past and current cohorts. We had a ‘Bank Holiday Dance Jam’, which allowed us to dance with NYDC alumni including (BBC young dancer winner) Connor Scott! It was such a fun way to stay creative and inspired. Here’s what other company members have said about the Digital Residency:

“The digital residency summed up in 3 words  “Enlightening, reassuring and peaceful” Sonny

 I think the biggest challenge is not being able to separate your home space from your working space – on residency you are normally in a bubble where a lot of the outside world is forgotten. With the virtual residency, it’s impossible to separate work and home” Jack

 “During the residency I have learnt new methods of activating energy through yoga”  Elisabeth

“My favourite thing about this residency has been seeing how we have adapted to this time but still connected and developed as dancers” Mirabelle

Now whilst we didn’t wake up each morning to a delicious hotel buffet breakfast, I enjoyed using the time at home to sharpen up on my cooking skills before I move out for university. Lockdown has given me time to read, binge watch TV and research topics I’m interested in that I usually don’t have time for.

If this residency has taught me anything, it’s determination of the dance community to continue working on our craft regardless of the challenges and limitations we’re faced with. It has been truly inspiring. Ironically I feel my movement style has changed a lot this residency despite the fact I don’t have the company around me for inspiration. In my room I felt free to explore and take risks without the feeling of pressure or exposure. In some ways it is quite scary knowing that without NYDC there will be a loss of structure from my life, however there are so many skills I would like to maintain from this residency including yoga practice! I look forward to seeing the company in person and hope we will be able to perform our piece at some point in the future.

The 2023-2024 NYDC Guest Artistic Director is Oona Doherty.


Oona Doherty, born in 1986, is a Northern-Irish choreographer based in Belfast. She studied at St. Louise’s Comprehensive College in Belfast, at the London Contemporary Dance School, the University of Ulster and LABAN. She earned an undergraduate and a master’s degree in the Disciplines of Contemporary Dance. Since 2010, she has worked with several companies, including: T.r.a.s.h. dance/performance group (Netherlands), Abattoir Fermé (Belgium), Veronika Riz (Italy), Emma Martin/United Fall, Enda Walsh and Landmark Productions (Ireland).

She has won many awards for her choreographic work, which includes: Hope Hunt and the Ascension into Lazarus (2015), a 30-minute solo that won her the Best Performer Award at the Tiger Dublin Fringe (2016), the Aerowaves award (2016/17), the Total Theatre Dance Award and The Place Dance Award at the Edinburgh Fringe (2017); Hard to be Soft – A Belfast Prayer (2018), which won the Best Dance Show 2019 award from the English daily “The Guardian”; Lady Magma – The Birth of a Cult (2019).

She has been an associated artist as the MAC Belfast HATCH Artist (2016), an Aerowaves Selected Artist, Prime Cut REVEAL Artist (2017), Maison de la Danse Lyon and La Briqueterie Paris Associate (2017-20), and again the MAC Belfast HATCH Artist (2020).

She has collaborated on music videos with the Rubber Bandits, Girl Band, Jamie XX. She participated in the digital Dancing Nation festival promoted by BBC Arts and Sadler’s Wells with Hope Hunt (2020). Carla Holmes made a documentary about her artistic work titled Welcome To A Bright White Limbo, which won the Best Short Irish Film Award and a special mention at Tribeca in New York (2020).

Her choreographic experimentation has extended to the world of visual arts in an exhibition titled Death of the Hunter, shown at the Golden Thread Gallery in Belfast, Lothringer 13 Halle in Munich, ADC Gallery in Geneva and the Kanal – Centre Pompidou in Brussels.

Francis, Leeds

Francis has been dancing from a young age, training with MeshDance in Leeds and Stage Door Theatre School in Guiseley, and performing at venues such as Northern Ballet and National Theatre. Francis especially enjoys commercial dance styles and musical theatre, but is looking forward to learning new skills and working with other young dancers as a member of NYDC cohort 12.

Roselynn, Manchester

Roselynn started dancing in her bedroom as a self taught dancer. She auditioned for the Lowry CAT scheme in 2022 and is in her second year of training. She has experience in Contemporary, Commercial, and a bit of Kathak but would love to dance every style if she could.

Fue, Huddersfield​

Fue has been a dancer for the most part of her life. She started at a local dance school, learning Ballet, Tap, Modern, Jazz and Acro. Then in 2020, Fue joined Phoenix Youth Academy and the CAT programme at Northern School Of Contemporary Dance. Since then, Fue has been working to explore more contemporary movement and techniques.

Matthew, Durham

Matthew started dancing with Tin Arts when he was 17 with a mixed ability group of contemporary dancers.
They have reached the U Dance finals 3 times in a row. Matthew has skills in ballet, jazz, Bollywood and more.
Matthew has been with NYDC for one year touring the country.

Ayuna, London

Ayuna grew up in Siberia, Russia, but moved to the UK aged 15. She is a talented athlete and musician, and, as a child, enjoyed ballroom dancing. Over the past few years, Ayuna has taken every possible opportunity to train in different dance styles and develop her choreography skills, working with companies such as Step Change Stusios, Leicester ProDance, Propel Dance, and One Dance UK, as part of their Young Creatives Programme. She is over the moon to be a part of NYDC and can’t wait to take Cohort 12’s new work on tour.

Daisy, Ashford

Daisy has been dancing since she was three, with the Margaret Giles School of Dancing. She achieved GCSE Grade 9 from the Royal Academy of Dance. She is currently studying UAL Level 3 Dance at Canterbury College during the week and training on the CAT Program at Trinity Laban at weekends. Daisy has experience is lots of dance styles, including Contemporary, Ballet, Hip-Hop and Tap.

Rosa, Leeds

Rosa started their dance training at RJC learning Soca when they were 4. They then moved on to dance for Gipton Together in primary school, where they learned commercial dance styles and performed competitively. They started the CAT scheme at NSCD when they were 13 whilst also studying BTEC dance in highschool, and now train in contemporary dance with Phoenix youth Academy Seniors alongside their A-levels.

Monét, London

Monét’s experience with dance started with ballet when she was three years old at Siegeris Dance Company. She continued to practice ballet for thirteen years until they joined ‘Artistry Youth Dance Company’ in 2020, where she practiced Horton technique and jazz. Monét currently trains at ‘Twiin dance company and agency’ in street dance and modern, as well as practicing afro and hip hop at ‘Rhythm Masters’.

Megan, Durham​

Megan started training in contemporary dance at TIN Arts in Durham when she was 2, later joining Fishburn Youth Dance and Drama when she was 10, where she trained in ballet, modern and tap. At age 12 Megan was awarded a place at the Dance City CAT scheme in Newcastle. She now trains solely in contemporary and ballet alongside her A-levels in Maths, Religious Studies and Textiles.

Georgia, Penzance

Georgia has been dancing since the age of 3. She has studied ballet, tap, jazz and commercial, before finding a love for movement through contemporary dance. She is currently taking A level dance at Truro college and has attended Exeter CAT scheme for the last five years.

Otis, Dartmoor

Otis is an expressive and theatrical mover who has honed his dance skills working with Exeter CAT scheme and Chaya Youth Company. He is thrilled to be joining NYDC this year and is determined to throw himself fully into the creative process. He is also a talented mathematician and pianist.

Gilbert, Cambridge

Gilbert has been dancing since before he can remember. At 4, he began classes locally in ballet, tap and modern. He expanded his training at Bodywork in Cambridge, where he was on their Theatre School program from ages 13 to 16. To focus on hip-hop, Gilbert spent the following 2 years as a member of London-based crew, Elementz Youth. Now 19, NYDC has proved a new venture into experimental contemporary dance for him.

Meg, Hertfordshire

Meg has trained in a range of styles growing up. Her training now is predominantly ballet and contemporary and she dances at Carter School of Dance, Hot House Dance, The Place’s CAT Scheme and English National Ballet’s Youth company. Currently, she is in her final year of A-levels studying geography, PE and sociology

Luis, Folkestone

Luis started dancing at the age of 4 at Instep Dance Company in which he found a love for contemporary dance. Luis has studied dance at GCSE level and is currently studying a double A – Level in dance.

Morgan, Newbury

Morgan started dancing at the age of 6, he became attached to dancing at Trinity Newbury performing arts school at the age of 12 studying the contemporary technique along side breakdance, jazz, and Horton. He teaches boys and girls dance company’s competing in competitions, he is self taught and is pushing this dream to continue is training after 6 form to pursue a career in performing arts.

Luke, Birmingham

Luke started taking street dance classes when he was four years old but had always loved moving to music. He has trained in many different styles such as Hip Hop, House, commercial, contemporary, ballet, afro fusion, jazz and more. His main dance inspirations are creatives like Paris Goebel and Les Twins and looks to be a performer and choreographer to the stars. He currently trains at Marshon Dance Company and Birmingham Ormiston Academy but has worked with company’s such as the Hippodrome, Zoonation Youth Company, Ace dance and Music and more.

Rowan, Frome

Rowan has always had a passion for physical movement. As a child he took a few ballet classes but it just didn’t click for him. However, it was not until early last year he started showing a real interest in receiving formal training. Currently training at the Bristol School of Acting on a dance course, this is only the beginning of Rowan’s dance journey.

Lina, London

Lina started her dance journey at a local afterschool club, training in tap, ballet and modern. After some time, she turned acro gymnast at Bromley Valley for the next 5 years before training in jazz and Horton at Artistry Youth Dance. Now, she dances for Shift at The Place.

Charly, Leamington Spa

Charly started dancing aged three at Susan Taylor Dance Academy. She is part of Motionhouse Youth Dance Company and trains at Fiery Feet Dance Studio as well being a competitive gymnast. She was in NYDC last year with Wayne McGregor CBE and in September she is excited to be starting her full-time training in professional dance and musical theatre at Bird College.

Jacob, Ipswich

Jacob has loved dancing for as long as he can remember, training from a young age in a variety of different styles. Having taken a break from dance to focus on sporting endeavours, he joined DanceEast’s CAT scheme last year, and has since noticed a real boost in his confidence and technique. Jacob is at his happiest when he dances, so is really excited to be a part of NYDC this year.

Wray, Manchester​

Wray has been dancing since she was three years old, training in ballet and tap at Glenda Ann School of Dancing. At the age of thirteen, Wray was introduced to contemporary when she joined Company Chameleon’s youth dance company. She is currently studying her A-levels in Biology, Physics, and Maths.

Ruben, Tavistock

Ruben started dancing with the B company aged 8. He then moved onto working with Attik dance and Ben Dunks. Mainly focusing on contemporary but including aspects from a variety of styles. When lockdown happened Ruben stopped dancing and only recently decided to pick it up again by attending the nydc workshops and joining chhaya youth dance in Exeter. Ruben is currently studying fine art at Exeter College.

Aleesha, Leeds

Aleesha started dancing at the age of two at Baby ballet. At the age of 7 she joined her local dance school Barbara Mann Dance academy where she did Ballet, Tap and Mordern. She later trained at Northern Ballet, whilst at Northern Ballet she discovered her love for Contemporary Dance. This led her to Phoenix Dance theatre Youth Academy.

Phoebe, Winchester

Phoebe started dancing at four and a half at Stagecoach, Winchester and joined Intregr8 three years later. She is now training with Hampshire Youth Dance Company and CAT at The Place. She was also part of last years Cohort.

Kitty, Haslemere

Kitty started dancing at the age of 7, taking part in Tap and Modern dance classes at her local dance school. Later she began ballet and joined the CAT scheme at The Place. She trains regularly with Phillipa Hogan’s School of Dance and CAT. This is her second year with NYDC.

Meeri, London

Meeri started dancing at the age of 3 and found her passion for movement while training at Tamara Rasmussen Opisto in Helsinki, Finland. Upon moving to the UK, she continued training in ballet and took contemporary dance classes at The Place, where she currently performs with Shift Youth Dance Company and trains with their CAT Programme. She also studies A-level Dance alongside Economics, Maths, and Further Maths. She finds joy and inspiration through dance.

Anya, Derby

Anya started dance by attending creative-contemporary classes at Déda Dance Derby, since the age of three, and has progressed to their youth dance company ‘Bounceback.’ She has recently completed the first year of the One Dance UK young creatives program. She danced at Base Studios London, through a school trip, and alongside her dancing is studying A-level Mathematics, Chemistry and Spanish .

Aoibh, Manchester

Aoibh started dancing ballet at the age of 3. She is currently training in contemporary and ballet at the Centre of Advanced Training at The Lowry. She is also involved in dance at her school, Altrincham Grammar School for Girls, where she is studying for A-Levels. This is Aoibh’s second year in NYDC.

Ernie, Porlock

Ernie is a boxer/dancer who has had an untraditional way through dance. His style is difficult to pin, but he would describe it as highly physical and sensitive to audiences in site-specific dance. He currently dances with Stacked Wonky who create experimental, site-specific performance worlds using movement, choreography, sound and objects.

Venus, London

V began dancing in primary school through ballet and jazz classes before reaching secondary where she began contemporary classes with The Place. From there, she joined their resident youth performance companies as well as the CAT scheme. Currently, she is enrolled in the BRIT school dance strand where she will continue her training for the next 2 years. This is her second year in NYDC having worked with Wayne McGregor in Cohort 11 last year.

Frank, Sheffield

Frank first started dancing formally age 11 at a local dance centre were he took classes in commercial dance. He then went onto to train with Phoenix Dance Theatre and Northern School of Contemporary Dance (CAT) where he trains in Contemporary dance and ballet. Frank is hoping to undertake a degree in musical theatre once he finishes his A levels.

James, Chesterfield

James (Slayer) started dancing when he was 8. He entered his first battle at 9 and since then has won numerous titles in popping and all styles categories. At 15 he became the youngest ever open world modern jive champion. James trained for two years on the Swindon Urban Dance CAT programme and two years at Birmingham contemporary CAT programme.