Text Size
Contrast

National Youth Dance Company

Author Archive

Meet Cohort 12

Wednesday, November 1st, 2023


On the 24th October we started the first residency of the new year of NYDC.
Cohort 12, 32 dancers from across the country.
Working with our 2023/24 Guest Artistic Director Oona Doherty.
Over 4 days in Ipswich the dancers and team got to know each other, danced together and spent time working out exactly who and what cohort 12 is.
We also managed to fit in a photo shoot and made a film! So watch this space for more updates.

Alumni Blog : Adanna

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2022

Ever since I was young, I always knew being a dancer was a creative place for me to express how I thought, felt, even battling my inner saboteur. Whether it was on stage or even behind it, the theatre was always an environment that I naturally gravitated towards. I never understood why I like theatre so much as a kid but there is something whimsical about spending a night at the theatre and feeling like you belong.

I remember like it was yesterday, I had gone to Sadler’s Wells before with my college for other dance shows, but this was exciting and different going to see NYDC Michael Keegan-Dolan In – Nocentes, my friend was in the performance. This day was a pivotal moment for me, because seeing those young dancers that I could related to; breathing, dancing, syncopating in time as one huge professional unit was something in my dance life that I always wanted to be at a part of. I knew that I wanted to do the exact things that they were doing. I felt the energy of the dancers even though I was in first circle. After the show in awe of what I just witness, on the way home I sat on the tube headphones in, music on visualising my own movement, my own style and feeling sensations of creative I was determined to seize my moment of being able to perform at Sadler’s Wells Theatre.

At this stage in my young career, I was slowly growing out of my timid shell and really started to embrace my identity as a dancer. When I first heard about NYDC I was still in college studying dance and I was already a part of another youth dance company, but I wanted to do more and challenge myself into gaining new experiences, expanding my dance vocabulary, making friends and future networks. I remember my audition process; I was such a nervous wreck because I knew I had the passion and movement quality with room to grow. It was a hard audition because within the whole process I discovered a new quality of moving that made me feel more unique and curious to explore.

The day I found out that I was going to be a part of NYDC I was in such a state because I was convinced that I wasn’t going to get it. I guess at the time people around saw my potential more than I did. I was going to work with Damien Jalet an amazing international choreographer and his team of special artists.  Once I settled down, I embarked on my NYDC experience and it was one of the most eye opening, sweatiest, and expressive things I had ever done. During my time with NYDC I really enjoyed the moments where we would have scheduled time to reflect and digest about the day or even the experience. Here are somethings I wrote down to keep me grounded and motivated.

Quotes for my NYDC dairy – age 16

“You are truly enough, and the best is yet to come.”

“NYDC is a place for me as young person to capture every moment and dance like no other person like you.”

“You have the talent, the creativity and the ability to do great things.”

“POWERHOUSE.”

I still live by these quotes today entering my adulting years because they remind me of where I once was and where I’m heading. However, when the pandemic became global last year, I honestly didn’t know what I wanted to do or where I wanted to start. I knew I wanted to work behind the scenes in the arts to explore and gain more knowledge on how theatres operate.

When I say the STEP internship programme found me, I didn’t find it I was so happy to see a job ad for Sadler’s Wells Theatre for Producing and Touring Intern, Learning & Engagement Intern. I applied for both in hopes to get either one because I knew how I wanted to absorb any job role to best of my abilities.  It was full circle moment for me when I was going through the interview process and got through to final rounds and had been offered the Learning & Engagement Intern role till this day, I’m still in a bit of shock but also extremely humble realising that I now work with Sadler’s Wells.

The things I want to achieve on this internship are going carry me into every Career milestone I reach, I want to be more confident in my communications skills, believe it or not I do struggle with verbal exchange and in this stage in my life being on this internship will challenge me to do more of this. I also desire to be a black arts dance producer of contemporary fusion creations that will evolve a message of cultural unity and love, I still love to dance and want to explore my movement vocabulary more by having this goal in mind and experiencing this amazing opportunity I have access to people with the knowledge, I’m seeking and doesn’t get better than that. Lastly, to travel and still do work that I’m passionate about as well dancing and meeting new people. I do have my eyes on New York and Japan two completely different places, but both have such rich cultural opportunities that I’ve always dream of making homes there, I now know my journey has endless opportunities for me waiting to be discover and explore. After all the world is my oyster.

Save the date(s)!

Wednesday, September 16th, 2020

NYDC has a lot of activity coming up the next few months of 2020 and we’d love for you to get involved. Have a look below for dates to save in your diaries, and keep checking our pages as more info gets announced soon:

SEPTEMBER: There will be 2 short taster workshops (26 Sep & 28 Sep) delivered over Zoom, led by some of our incredible NYDC alumni. Gain insight into the NYDC experience and learn more about how to get involved in our workshops in October.

OCTOBER: Want to be a member of NYDC and work with Guest Artistic Director, Alesandra Seutin? Come dance with us and meet the team by attending a workshop happening in-person around the country, or for the first time ever this year, we will also hold 1 workshop digitally! Dates for your diary: Leeds (Sun 04 Oct), Falmouth (Sat 10 Oct), Newcastle (Sat 24 Oct), Ipswich (Mon 26 Oct), Online Digital Workshop (Mon 26 Oct), Nottingham (Tue 27 Oct), Brighton (Wed 28 Oct), Bristol (Thu 29 Oct), Birmingham (Sat 31 Oct), London (Sun 01 Nov). Registration forms are live now, click here

NOVEMBER: NYDC will hold an audition on Sat 14 Nov at Sadler’s Wells in London. A few dancers from every workshop will be invited to this day, which is a brilliant opportunity to meet like-minded dancers from all over England.

DECEMBER: The 2020-21 cohort of NYDC will begin their first residency with choreographer, Alesandra Seutin….

 We can’t wait to meet you all!

Photo: Stephen Wright

Alumni Blog: Isis

Tuesday, July 21st, 2020

It’s 7:45, a sunny morning in Ipswich.  I’m in a room full of bleary-eyed people my age, with a damp cloth in hand, listening to soft chatter filling the room and watching bodies shuttle back and forth across the floor wiping it clean. No, I’m not describing a morning clear up after a wild party. It’s simply the scene of 40 extremely dedicated dancers, working alongside world-renowned choreographer Michael Keegan-Dolan, to collectively prepare the studio for a day’s work in the National Youth Dance Company.

I was a member of NYDC for 3 years and those memories are peppered with unique moments like this. For me, periods of reminiscing have become all too frequent at present. Time, as it has for a lot of people, has taken on a sort of endless quality, leading me into rabbit-holes of thought that just aren’t excavated enough in the franticness of everyday life. But as the great philosopher Channing Tatum said one time in some interview; ‘I don’t know what you’re going through life doing if you’re not really trying to collect some really great memories’. Going through my personal catalogue of memories (and some quite literal Snapchat ones) has caused me to arrive naturally at some reflection of those stand-out points that have impacted me most as a person, and therefore as a dancer. At the risk of sounding like an ageing popstar in an auto-biographical documentary – those were some truly great times.

Joining NYDC when I was just 15 was an incredible experience. Not only was I set to work with some of the most exciting and interesting choreographers – proffered by Sadler’s Wells no less – but I was in a huge network of dancers; people who were older than I was, from different backgrounds to me, who had different skill sets, but who were, crucially, all as passionate and committed to boogieing as I was.

Now I know the diverse, national nature of NYDC is already one of its biggest selling points as a youth company, but it’s not emphasised enough. Growing up in the east of England I was extremely lucky with the opportunities and access available to me as a young dancer.  Being in close proximity to London and from a middle-class background meant I was truly privileged growing up. I was a member of my brilliant local dance school King Slocombe, as well as the invaluable Centre for Advanced Training (CAT) in Ipswich at the Jerwood Dancehouse. But I vividly remember, at the NYDC final auditions in London, my dance world expanding… there was more than one CAT scheme, there were youth companies, there were hip hop crews, there was a whole youth dance world!

Within NYDC, not only did young people from different geographical locations collaborate and work together, these were dancers from different socio-economics backgrounds, different dance genres, of different ethnicities, with different life plans, personalities, star signs, you name it. ‘Melting-pot’ could never have been a more apt phrase. And, in light of now, in a world full of separation, anxiety and fractured beliefs, it highlights the camaraderie and collaboration of my experiences in NYDC.

As well as positively trying to tackle social inequalities within the dance world, assimilating a wide range of dancers all in one place during some of the most developmental stages of life is a smart move. Each cohort of NYDC becomes its own network, a segment of the interaction-based dance industry, working as its own ecosystem which creates ties and relationships crossing over years and provides a shared platform between a large group of dancers, which strengthens associations between dancers and can inspire artistic working relationships. Another plus: a ton more follows on Instagram. That being said, establishing these kinds of tangible relationships with people not in one’s social circle is extremely rare now. Unless you posses the enviable self-confidence to walk up to total strangers after a performance (let alone smile at someone on the tube), in this digital age, these personal meetings are especially hard to cultivate for oneself. This is never more apparent than in London, a city of opportunity but nearly oppressively so. I’m in my second year at London Contemporary Dance School which luckily has extensive experience of inviting the outside dance world in, but for other regional schools, it could be easier for students to feel a little isolated – a bit like everyone at the moment. That being said, there are intricate webs of mutual friends and people meeting in one-off workshops, leading to ‘I’ve seen them on Facebook’ or ‘they were in my audition’. As we are connecting digitally now like never before, we may discover opportunities, and people, that we might have missed in the everyday processes of dashing to the toilet, stretching and getting water manically before class.

Creating these links is only really one facet of the NYDC machine. To really understand what NYDC does, go and see a performance, it’ll speak for itself. But whilst that’s not possible, look at the dancers of NYDC, look at the rich variety of performers and creators that have passed through this catalyst of excellence. Each dancer carries with them the experiences and connections they made through NYDC, which if you asked them, probably still influence them in some capacity today. But NYDC, as a whole, carries the legacy of each of its dancers and contributors; it celebrates the power of collective effort which needs to be preserved and nurtured for upcoming generations of dancers and creators.

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.

NATIONAL YOUTH DANCE COMPANY COVID-19 UPDATE

Monday, March 23rd, 2020

March 25, 2020

To our NYDC family and friends,

As the country’s flagship youth dance company, we bring together dancers from across the country to create and perform. So it is with a heavy heart that we have decided to postpone our activity for at least 12 weeks to help contain the coronavirus pandemic. This includes the NYDC April residency, the world premiere of our new work by 2019-20 Guest Artistic Director Russell Maliphant and our NYDC workshops during the April- June period.

Keeping everyone safe and healthy is our top priority and our thoughts are with those who have been affected by the coronavirus. We are now working hard to reschedule our activity wherever possible and are monitoring developments and following government, NHS and Public Health England guidance to determine the best time to do so.

This is a difficult time for us all. While we cannot physically dance together over the next few months, we will remain active and creative. We are looking at ways that we can all still share our love of dance and will make new content available digitally. Follow us on our social media channels for updates.

For dancers who are interested in participating in NYDC Workshops, please register your contact details

through this online form

We will be in touch with everyone registered as soon as we have more information to share with you. 

Thank you for your support and commitment to NYDC and for your understanding at this difficult time.

We look forward to dancing together with everyone again soon. 

With love,

The NYDC team

Dance with us on Social Media: @nydcompany

NATIONAL YOUTH DANCE COMPANY ANNOUNCES GUEST ARTISTIC DIRECTORS FOR 2019 – 2021

Wednesday, August 7th, 2019

The company will begin creating a new commission with Russell Maliphant in autumn 2019. He takes over from current Guest Artistic Director, the Olivier award-winning dance artist Botis Seva whose work for NYDC, MADHEAD, premiered at DanceEast in Ipswich on 20 April. MADHEAD tours to six further venues across England this summer, closing at Sadler’s Wells on 19 July.

Now in its eighth year, NYDC has established a reputation for innovative, challenging and influential work, producing open-minded and curious dancers. The company brings together the brightest talent from across England, immersing the members fully in the process of creating, performing and touring new work, giving them a unique insight into the dance profession.

Russell Maliphant, NYDC Guest Artistic Director 2019/20, said: “I am very happy to be working as the next Guest Artistic Director for National Youth Dance Company. NYDC provides great opportunities for young dancers to develop in to world class performers – I have seen this in action over the years and have personally worked with some of that talent in my own company.  I’m looking forward to starting this season with another new generation of dancers here in the UK.”

Alesandra Seutin, NYDC Guest Artistic Director 2020/21, said: “I am very excited and honoured to work with National Youth Dance Company as Guest Artistic Director in 2020/21. I look forward to breaking boundaries with the dancers of the future, and having the opportunity to be part of this beautiful process is amazing. With the support of Sadler’s Wells, I hope to continue growing as a leader and a maker collaborating with NYDC to keep its reputation for innovative, challenging and influential work, producing open-minded and curious dancers.”

About the new Guest Artistic Directors

Russell Maliphant established his own dance company in 1996 as the framework to create productions and work with his own ensemble of dancers. Since then, he has received two Olivier awards, three South Bank Show awards and four Critics’ Circle National Dance awards. He became an Associate Artist of Sadler’s Wells in 2005.

Russell’s work has been performed by renowned dance artists including Sylvie Guillem, BalletBoyz, Munich Ballet and English National Ballet, for whom his piece Second Breath was part of the critically celebrated programme Lest We Forget. Two graduates of NYDC, Edd Arnold and Folu Odimayo, make up part of the Russell Maliphant Dance Company and can be seen performing in Silent Lines at Sadler’s Wells, on 18 & 19 October.

Russell Maliphant’s Silent Lines (c) Julian Broad

Performer, choreographer and teacher Alesandra Seutin grew up in Brussels and lives in London. She studied dance internationally and continued her training at the École des Sables in Senegal as a student of Germaine Acogny. She is now a worldwide ambassador of the Acogny technique and teaches at École des Sables and globally. In 2007, she founded Vocab Dance Company, and has progressively built an international reputation for creating thought provoking and visually striking performances.

Alesandra presented Boy Breaking Glass as part of Sadler’s Wells’ 20th anniversary commission, Reckonings, in October 2018 alongside works from Sadler’s Wells New Wave Associate Julie Cunningham and current NYDC Guest Artistic Director Botis Seva.

Alesandra Seutin’s Boy Breaking Glass (c) Johan Persson

BOTIS SEVA: “WE SHOULD FEEL THE POWER OF ALL OF THEM ON STAGE.”

Wednesday, August 7th, 2019

“It’s just a massive privilege,” says choreographer Botis Seva on his recent Olivier Award win. His talent was spotted early through his participation in Breakin’ Convention’s artist development programmes; it was here he was introduced to our wider artist development team, and later invited to curate an evening in the Lilian Baylis Studio. This led to Sadler’s Wells commissioning his first main stage work, BLKDOG, which premiered on our stage in October 2018. The piece received huge acclaim and, only a few months later, the ambitious young choreographer found himself collecting an Olivier Award for Best New Dance Production on the stage of the Royal Albert Hall.

“It felt very weird because I wasn’t expecting to win,” he says humbly. His fellow nominees were all illustrious names in the world of dance, including the Royal Ballet, Ballet British Columbia and the mighty William Forsythe. “It’s quite weird being up against him – someone whose work I’ve seen and been like ‘wow’,” says Botis.

So how did he celebrate his success? Sipping champagne with theatre royalty at the after party? He went straight home for a cup of tea and biscuits. “I had no time to let it sink in because I was working with NYDC on another show. That’s my job, innit!”

The next morning he was back in the studio to continue rehearsals with the 38 young dancers of National Youth Dance Company (NYDC), of which Botis is this year’s Guest Artistic Director. “Everyone started clapping,” he says, “I think they were in shock.”

NYDC, a project run by Sadler’s Wells, auditions the brightest young dance talent aged 16-24 from across the UK each year for the opportunity to gain experience of working in a professional dance company and collaborating with a well-established choreographer on creating a new dance work. Previous artistic directors have included Akram Khan, Jasmin Vardimon, Damien Jalet and Sharon Eyal.

Botis’s creation, MADHEAD, is a piece that reflects the experiences of the young dancers. “It’s about their generation and what the future could look like. That is the question that I have for the piece. What’s the future for young people growing up in this kind of society?”

“It was a weird process because we had a short amount of time to make the work,” he says. “For me the process started by questioning myself: how did I feel when I was 17 and where was my brain at?”

It was also a collaborative process with the company, which involved Botis interviewing the young dancers. “They felt like they didn’t have the same respect or teachers didn’t give them the same kind of respect. There’s a concept in that which we’re exploring. A lot of them feel frustrated at being called young people and how they get treated.”

This experience of working with a young company echoes his own experiences of getting into dance growing up. He started going to classes in Elephant and Castle after Tony Adigun, founder of Avant Garde Dance, ran a workshop in his school. “I had nothing else to do so I just went to these classes that were happening.”

Botis cites Tony Adigun as an early role model. “Meeting him was kind of a big revelation,” he says. He encouraged Botis to audition for his youth company and “after that,” Botis says “I started to take it seriously”. It wasn’t until later when he started teaching at a local youth club, that Botis began cutting his teeth as a choreographer.

Tony’s influence can be felt in Botis’s own style as a choreographer, which is difficult to define. “I call it free-form hip hop,” he says. “There’s a mix of contemporary and African dance. I can’t really give it a title, but I use free-form hip hop as a base. I can’t really label it anything else.”

National Youth Dance Company perform MADHEAD by 2018-19
Guest Artistic Director Botis Seva © Tony Nandi 2019

As a young, black choreographer with influences from hip hop, he feels he hasn’t escaped certain associations. “That happens all the time. Sometimes it’s not even about my blackness. I don’t use that excuse. I’ve made that work because I feel a certain way,” he says. “Maybe because it’s labelled as hip hop or it’s seen as hip hop, [people think] oh it must have something to do with knife crime. BLKDOG wasn’t really about that. For other people it seemed like it was about that. Technically the hoods don’t really mean it’s about gangs.”

So how does he feel about the future of hip hop? “It is changing because there are loads of artists taking it in different avenues, but I don’t know if it has the same respect. I think people might appreciate it more, but it is going to take some time to land.”

His movement language exists somewhere at the centre of a Venn diagram of contemporary, African and hip hop dance – but there is something else uniquely Botis that comes in to play. There is a darkness, both aesthetically in the stark, dimly lit staging, and thematically, tackling subjects such as mental health, the responsibilities of adulthood and the struggles of being an artist.

The trailer for MADHEAD feels straight out of a dystopian drama like Black Mirror, which coincidentally Botis is a fan of. He credits cinema as a big influence on his work. “I’m into psychological thrillers, mind-bending stuff. I love that,” he says. But for Botis, the most important thing about MADHEAD is the opportunity to hear what this generation has to say.

“It’s a new voice within young people and I think they’re trying to say something. People need to be there to witness it. They’re trying to communicate some of their frustrations about today’s society and they should be heard. We should feel the power of all of them on stage.”

National Youth Dance Company (NYDC) is supported using public funding by the Department for Education and Arts Council England.

BOTIS SEVA IS THE NEXT GUEST ARTISTIC DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL YOUTH DANCE COMPANY

Tuesday, May 8th, 2018

Botis Seva

 

Seva takes over from the current Guest Artistic Director, Sadler’s Wells’ Associate Artist Sharon Eyal. Used To Be Blonde, Eyal’s production for National Youth Dance Company, premiered to critical acclaim at Sadler’s Wells earlier this month and is touring across England this summer.

Botis Seva is a dance artist, choreographer and director working within the realms of contemporary dance, physical theatre and hip-hop. He was awarded the Bonnie Bird Choreography Fund and the Marion North Mentoring Award in 2015, and has won two international choreographic competitions: Choreography 30 in Hannover, Germany and Copenhagen’s International Choreographic Competition. Seva’s recent dance credits include InNoForm for the British Dance Edition & Laban Theatre, Woman of Sun for Greenwich Dance & Trinity Laban Partnership Compass Commission, outdoor work H.O.Hfor Without Walls, GDIF & Norfolk & Norwich Festival and TuTuMucky for Scottish Dance Theatre.

Seva and his collective Far From the Norm have previously performed at Sadler’s Wells with Breakin’ Convention, and curated a Wild Card evening in the Lilian Baylis Studio. In October his work will be seen in Reckonings, a triple bill commissioned by Sadler’s Wells to celebrate the 20th anniversary of our current theatre building, which will also feature pieces by UK-based dance-makers Julie Cunningham and Alesandra Seutin.

Botis Seva, NYDC Guest Artistic Director, said: “I’m very excited and grateful for the opportunity to work with National Youth Dance Company. I look forward to sharing my passion for dance with these young performers, and having the opportunity to challenge my own dance language while I am Guest Artistic Director. Having the chance to work with NYDC has always been on my bucket list, and I hope with the support of Sadler’s Wells this experience will truly push me as an artist.”

Experience Workshops will take place across England from May to July. The workshops are an opportunity to find out more about NYDC. Young dancers will take part in a company class, learn repertoire from NYDC productions and take part in creative tasks. Participants will also meet members of the current company, ask questions and get advice on dance training and careers in dance. Experience Workshops are used as an opportunity to be considered for a place in the 2018-19 company. They are open to dancers from all backgrounds and abilities, with experience in any dance style.

Entering its seventh year, NYDC has established a reputation for innovative, challenging and influential work, producing open-minded and curious dancers. The company brings together the brightest talent from across England, immersing the members fully in the process of creating, performing and touring new work, giving them a unique insight into the dance profession. NYDC has a track record of putting young people on paths to successful dance careers, with over 80% of all former NYDC dancers now either in further dance studies, in vocational training or working professionally. Graduates from NYDC have since danced in Michael Keegan-Dolan’s Teaċ Daṁsa, Hofesh II, and the Jasmin Vardimon Company.

In addition to the core programme, NYDC runs additional projects that support dance in communities across the country. Current members will visit Falmouth in May for a residency with local young dancers who are a part of Propeller and Hall for Cornwall Youth Dance. This starts a creation process that culminates in a large-scale outdoor performance at the Eden Project in July. Also, NYDC recently partnered with the inclusive Corali Dance Company to create a new dance film, directed by Paul Davidson (a Corali and NYDC dancer), which has been developed into a workshop for young dancers with regional partners across England.

Q&A: Matilda

Wednesday, May 10th, 2017

National Youth Dance Company

Where from/area:

I live in Bleasdale, near to Garstang, Preston.

 

Former schools/places of study:

At the moment, I study A Level’s in Dance, English Literature, French and History at Runshaw College, Leyland and before that I went to St. Cecilia’s RC High School in Longridge.

 

Please tell us a bit about what age you started dancing, why and where you were first taught?

I started dancing when I was four years old, and attended The Garstang School of Dance. I did weekly classes in Tap, Ballet and Modern which were great fun and really encouraged my passion for dance and performing. Then, when I was 15, I auditioned for and joined Ludus Youth Dance Company in Lancaster and then Maelstrom Youth, which introduced me to contemporary dance.  I continue to dance with both these companies as it gives me an invaluable experience of contemporary dance technique and performance.

 

When did you apply for the National Youth Dance Company and why you wanted to be involved?

I applied for NYDC at UDance Nationals 2016, where I did an experience workshop. I honestly didn’t imagine that I would be asked to attend the final audition, let alone be invited to join the company. I knew that NYDC was the flagship youth dance company for England, but not much more than that, so my main reason for attending the initial workshop was for the chance to dance more!  Going to Sadler’s Wells for the final audition was nerve-wracking, but I approached it as another fantastic dance experience under international dance professionals.

 

How did it feel to be selected?

I was absolutely speechless! After the initial surprise, I was ecstatic and very proud of myself, along with being nervous to see what the year would have in store.

 

How have you found the experience so far and what are you most looking forward to?

NYDC has been an amazing experience so far. It’s difficult to describe, but the intensity of the days, the quality of the dance and the wonderful people in the company all mean that I didn’t want to come home after the October and February residencies!

Really, I love it all, so I’m looking forward to everything: the next residency, the Premiere and the tour of the UK in the summer.  At the moment, I’m particularly excited to be performing at Latitude Festival 2017 and hoping we will get the chance to watch some of the other performances there.

 

Tell me a bit about the show – what can we expect? What new skills have you learnt?

Tarantiseismic is going to be a very powerful performance, especially as the company is so big, with lots of dancers. Damien has been exploring abandonment, ritual, control, and melancholia with us. I think it will be exhausting to dance, and amazing to watch!

Particularly, we have worked on finding opposition, release and control in our movements, whilst also improving fitness and stamina along the way.

 

What are you hoping to gain from the experience?

NYDC has already increased my confidence a lot in dance, and as the year progresses, it is my aim to continue to push myself out of my comfort zone. NYDC is also a wonderful opportunity to work closely in a professional environment with an international choreographer, and to experience growing from a group of young dancers into a cohesive Company, skills which I know will be useful throughout my life, not just in dance.

 

What has it been like to work with Damien Jalet?

It has been an incredible experience working with Damien Jalet- he is an internationally-renowned choreographer and he pushes us to achieve things I didn’t think were possible. Damien makes us work very hard, and although each day is as exhausting as the last, it is also very rewarding.  He is so focussed and has such a clear idea of what he wants to achieve that it inspires all of us. Having watched various of Damien’s previous works, it is a very exciting feeling to hope that he will create something just as spectacular with us.

 

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.