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National Youth Dance Company

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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.”


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.