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Dance Futures Conference | 2021

Dance Futures: a one-day youth dance conference that explores and champions youth dance as part of our Covid recovery.

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About Dance Futures Conference | 2021

We feel passionately about supporting children and young people to lead healthier and happier lives and recognised the role that dance played as we emerged from a challenging 18 months. We created this conference with support from the Regional Dance Development Network – a group of dance professionals who are committed to developing opportunities for children, young people and wider communities to dance across Yorkshire.

Dance Futures was a day of workshops, talks and performances that allowed dance professionals to hear directly from young people, about how the pandemic has impacted their relationship with dance, and how organisations and artists were responding to this.

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Arrivals with refreshments (everyone)

A selection of teas and coffees will be available.


10:00am – 10:50am

Opening Session (everyone)

Start the day with a performance from Explosive from Leeds City College, followed by a special animation created by independent artist, Jem Clancy, commissioned to capture the voices of young people. Next there will be a keynote, delivered by Laura Nicholson and a young ambassador from One Dance UK followed by a chance to network and meet other freelance dance artists and organisations that are attending.


11:00am – 12:15pm

Breakout Session 1: (choose from 3 sessions)

1) Moving Beyond Inclusive Practice

Tess Chaytor & Tertia Brigham (TIN Arts) and Ruben Reuter (independent artist).

This presentation and discussion will explore how to support talent development for dancers with a learning disability and/or autism. It will draw on personal experiences and learning from the Talent Hub – a 3 year partnership project between Tin Arts, Yorkshire Dance and Inclusion North.

2) Speak Volumes – Ambition, Scale and Vision

Hannah Kirkpatrick (Sadlers Wells) with Ashur Cali, Katie Smith and Maiya Leeke (National Youth Dance Company).

This presentation and discussion will reflect on the National Youth Dance Company’s latest work ‘Speak Volumes’ by Alesandra Seutin. You will hear directly from the young dancers about their process and experiences working in a youth company during lockdown.

3) Young People Taking the Lead (Practical Session)

Olivia, Sophia and Abigail from CAPA College

Led completely by current students and CAPA college, this ‘get up and move’ practical session explores individuality within movement. Following this, the students will lead a discussion about how to embed youth leadership as a part of dance education for young people.

12:15pm – 1:00pm

Lunch Break (everyone)

A selection of vegetarian and vegan food will be provided. Please let us know if you have any specific allergies or dietary requirements.


1:00pm – 1:15pm

Film Screening (everyone)

Three short films created by Abbie, Choolwe, Tassia, as part of One Dance UK’s Young Creatives.


1:15pm – 2:00pm

Wellbeing and Mental health for Young People (everyone)

Georgia Cooper, Kathy Williams OLY, Mohammed Saeed and two One Dance UK ambassadors.

This panel session invites perspectives from 3 young people who will share their experiences of dance over the past 18 months. Joining them is mental health professional, Georgia Cooper and Kathy Williams OLY, Director of RJC Dance, who will share experiences of working with young people to support their mental health and wellbeing. The session invites open and honest conversation about how we can best support young people in dance as we emerge from the pandemic.


2:15pm – 3.:30pm

Breakout Session 2: (choose from 3 sessions)

1) ‘In Partnership’: exploring collaborative working and how to embed artistic quality in socially engaged practice.

Paul Smethurst from New Adventures and Helen Linsell and Mohammed Saeed from Dance United Yorkshire

The session will outline the ongoing partnership between DUY and New Adventures which began with the ‘Civil Blood’ project in 2019, inspired by Matthew Bourne’s contemporary production of ‘Romeo and Juliet’.  There will be an opportunity to see extracts of work and gain an insight into how both organisations have shared their practice and learnt from each other’s specialist methodologies in order to achieve artistic excellence whilst working with vulnerable and disengaged young people.

2) The Value of Person-Led Practice (Practical Session)

Charlotte Armitage, Charlotte Jones, Hayley Graham

Led by independent dance artists, Charlotte, Charlotte and Hayley, this practical session will create a welcoming space to experience, discuss and learn about person-led teaching. Together we will explore how ditching expectations can support us when facilitating dance in SEN schools.

3) Dance with Social Purpose

Tracy Witney (NSCD), Ian Rodley (DAZL) and William from Kick Off.

A Presentation and discussion about the ‘Kick Off’ boys project led by DAZL, NSCD, Leeds City College and Phoenix Dance Theatre. Hear about the ways the project has engaged boys and created pathways into new opportunities. The session will also look at how dance is a gateway to address social policy.


3:30pm – 3:45pm

Short Tea/ Coffee Break (everyone)


3:45pm – 4:30pm

Closing Session (everyone)

Closing the day will be a film and performance by Kick Off Boys, followed by a closing Keynote from Laura Nicholson and a young ambassador from One Dance UK which will reflect on the future of youth dance.




.Click to find out more about our panellists, speakers and performers (so far).

Explosive from Leeds City College
Explosive from Leeds City College

Opening Session (Performance)





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