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“I am absolutely raving and buzzing at how good the day was” Reflections on FRESH 2024

Mon 13 May 2024
Part of: FRESH 2024 | March 2024
News Story Momentum at FRESH 2024 (c) Brian Slater

On Saturday 23rd March, nearly 300 talented young dancers took over CAST theatre in Doncaster as part of FRESH 2024. Across 2 stages, FRESH brought together 20 live dance groups and 4 screen dance films. Dance styles including Soca Cheer, Theatre and Slapstick, Commercial and Contemporary were showcased to a packed audience.

Each year FRESH offers young dancers from across Yorkshire the chance to perform on a professional stage.  Throughout the day the young people learn new dance styles and meet peers from other exceptional dance groups across the region. They also join together to learn and rehearse a celebratory finale routine.

“Such a fantastic opportunity and loved having the chance to work with new choreographers within different settings and styles.  Everyone was supportive and welcoming which allowed a great environment to flourish.  Overall, amazing experience.” – Young dancer

This year’s event shone a light on dance in South Yorkshire, with incredible artists including Jemma Mae and Pierre Lafayette-Marsh creating and delivering the 2 finale routines for the event. Gary Clarke Company gave dancers the chance to explore professional company repertoire while National Youth Dance Company offered inspiring progression routes and artist Akeim Toussaint Buck ran workshops incorporating contemporary and martial arts techniques.

“I really enjoyed the first workshop, even though it was a completely different style to what we’ve done. I loved everything about the day and would love to take part in it again.” – Young dancer

Young People’s creativity and energy was at the heart of FRESH 2024. Many dancers return to FRESH each year and this year we were inspired to see young dancers taking on new challenges and following their creative dreams in the role of choreographer. For example Street Beat Elite’s Unstoppable was created by two young people, Ruby Coles and Lewis Greenough.

“It was brilliant to be able to try different styles and genres of dance that I haven’t tried or even considered before. Being with the other dance schools spurred us on and gave us the inspiration to try new things.” – Young dancer

FRESH provides a progression route to U.Dance, One Dance UK’s national youth dance festival. Each year, one or two groups are selected to represent Yorkshire at the National Festival, which this year takes place in Liverpool.

“Our students were really inspired. They all have loads of dance ideas for the future. All of the dancers who came now want to pursue a career in the industry. Despite the long day, the dancers were singing the entire way home because they were so excited and loved it so much… I am absolutely raving and buzzing at how good the day was.” – Group leader

Ione Barton, Youth & Community Dance Manager explains:

“The joy of FRESH is in witnessing the energy, passion and incredible talent of these young performers. They are a testament to the commitment and skill of their teachers, group leaders and choreographers. Standing in the wings watching them shine on stage, the future of youth dance in Yorkshire looks bright.”


Image: Brian Slater

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