Summary from ‘Promoting Youth Dance in an International Context’ event

Promoting Youth Dance in an International Context. What we have in common – A summary from event on Saturday 29th Oct 2011

We have a shared passion for youth dance, a belief that it matters both for what it means to young people and the future of the art form of dance.  We want young people to have the best possible experience of dance, and for one of them to become Prime Minister!

We share a belief that dance is, and has to be, fun for young people.  We know that the human relationships that grow and the social aspects of being involved in youth dance are vital.  They matter to young people developing as citizens and seeing the world differently.

We are agreed that involvement in youth dance consists of many activities and has many purposes; it involves different styles of dance and different roles for young people – at different times any one of them may be a dancer, dance maker, organiser, mentor, teacher, leader, audience, critic.

We value the different kinds of models and frameworks that exist.  Professional dance companies may set up youth groups, programmers may promote the work of youth dance groups, professional choreographers may create new work with youth dance groups, groups may emerge from schools, community arts activities, and through young people setting up their own group.

We work to ensure there are progression routes for young people.  This may include to higher education, a career in dance, a life-long enthusiasm for dance.  Youth groups may perform locally, and we want them to have opportunities to perform with their peers regionally, nationally and internationally.

In the current economic climate, we all need low cost dance projects.  England has done a lot on 58 pence per school-aged child over the last three years, but even that amount cannot be relied on in the future.  We all have experience of dance being less visible than other art forms, and not being recognised by those who hold the purse-strings.  We need politicians to recognise dance and appreciate what it means in the lives of young people.

Dance is nearly famous.  Young people know dance is great, even if policy-makers have not yet caught up with the fact.  Young people challenge assumptions, they are risk-takers and revolutionaries.  However difficult the current period of austerity seems, it is young people who will safe guard the future of dance – as future artists, audiences, and policy makers.