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National Youth Dance Company


Since 2013, over 300 young people have joined NYDC.

To date, 84% of dancers graduating from the company go on to study dance at vocational dance schools both in the UK and in Europe and many have gone on to work professionally in world renowned companies such as New Adventures, Ballet Boyz, Teac Damsa (Michael Keegan Dolan),  Jasmin Vardimon Company and Ultima Vez.

Others decide to take a different path and we are equally proud of these students, proof of the value of engagement in dance and the arts for any future career and the transferable skills gained.

“Ninety-eight percent of NYDC alumni believe they gained something unique from NYDC which they could not have got from other dance training, 94% believe NYDC has helped them get where they are now in their careers, and 94% believe being in NYDC made the performing arts seem like a more viable career path” From the 2023 10 Year Evaluation Report by Shared Intelligence


Heather Birley- NYDC 2013/14

I danced with the company for one year, whilst also training at my local CAT scheme and dance school. I went on to train at London Contemporary Dance School and graduated with a first class honours degree. I now work as an apprentice dancer for Cullbergbaletten in Sweden whilst studying an MA at LCDS.

My time with NYDC taught me the power of the ‘thinking dancer’ and made me realise that the ‘how’ you do something is just as important as the ‘what’ you do. Maturity was a quality vital to being a member of NYDC; as a company member you have a lot of responsibility and expectation. We were also aware that this was just a good beginning and that there was a big journey ahead of us if we wanted to be professional dancers. NYDC made me realise from a young age the importance of forming connections and the impact these can have. I formed many strong relationships with the people I met at NYDC and we have gone on to share so many experiences and provide each other with guidance, advice and sometimes a shoulder to cry on.

NYDC is intense and demanding mentally, physically and emotionally, throughout my time with the company I think a mature work ethic was instilled in me which I now carry with me in my work as a professional dancer.

19/04/2014. Now in its second year, the National Youth Dance Company comes  to  the Clore Ballroom, Royal Festival Hall, London to perform a new double bill by pre-eminent choreographer Akram Khan: the world premiere of The Rashomon Effect, and a restaged excerpt from Khan’s critically acclaimed Vertical Road. Picture shows The Rashomon Effect choreographed by Andrej Petrovic and directed by Akram Khan.
15/04/2014. Now in its second year, the National Youth Dance Company returns to Sadler’s Wells’ main stage on Wednesday 16 April to perform a new double bill by pre-eminent choreographer Akram Khan: the world premiere of The Rashomon Effect, and a restaged excerpt from Khan’s critically acclaimed Vertical Road. Picture shows Vertical Road by Akram Khan.

Mariella Fortune-Ely- NYDC 2012/13 & 2013/14

   I joined my local Centre for Advanced Training scheme when I was 11 as well as dancing in a regional youth dance company and at a local dance school. Dance had always been a huge part of my life and I was searching for something to give me an insight into the dance profession. NYDC was exactly that!  Being part of the first year of the company was a privilege but also came with a massive responsibility to prove what this company was all about.

   One of the most sacred parts of being in the company is that we lived and breathed company life when we were together. We ate, danced, worked and meditated together and very quickly became a group of people that really trusted each other.

   During my time with the company I was torn between pursuing a career as a dancer and chasing a career as a doctor. The company definitely helped me think through my decisions, logically and emotionally and I decided to study medicine with an understanding that I will always carry my love of dance.

   During medical school at the University of St Andrews I joined the university’s competitive dance team which allowed me to continue training. I am currently in my clinical years of study in Manchester hospitals and am unfortunately finding very little chance to dance. I miss it a lot, but after many years I have found that it now holds a different place in my life.  

   My time in NYDC was key as it allowed me to fulfil my dreams in dance without me having to accept it as my career. Plus the skill for reflecting I gained in the company has certainly helped me with my medical portfolio!

Ryan Taylor- NYDC 2013/14

   I discovered my love for dance through Breakdance, being nurtured by the Bad Taste Cru in Newcastle and being inspired by the all the other Breakers of the scene. I was introduced to contemporary dance and enrolled on a BTEC dance course at Gateshead College before joining NYDC the following year.

   It’s hard to pick out exactly what the most memorable part of NYDC was; although, having the opportunity to work with Akram Khan and perform on Sadler’s Wells main stage at such a young age is something I’ll never be able to forget.

   I think NYDC provided me with many of the paving slabs I needed to create my own career path. Being part of something so generous makes you hungry to investigate and research deeper into what dance is for you. When I graduated from NYDC I went on to study a BA in Contemporary Dance at London Contemporary Dance School, which challenged me in every way possible. I graduated with a first class honours, earned with hard work and respect for the opportunities I was given. I worked with many great artists and last summer was given the chance to perform Rosalind by James Cousins at Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

   In November 2017 I joined RubberbanDance Group in Montreal, Canada, as an apprentice dancer. I’m looking forward to what my time with this company has to offer, I am surrounded by the most talented artists and have received nothing but inspiration, love and respect from them all. Now that I am looking back on the last few years, I’ve realised how difficult the journey has been, but how rewarding the results can be.