The William Wates Memorial Trust has given a two year grant to the Barking and Dagenham Youth Dance to run Saturday dance classes for underprivileged young people aged 13 – 18.
A successful programme is being delivered, and to date, they have reached and engaged with over 100 young people.
The participants are exposed to a variety of dance styles, cultures and traditions, and are also given the opportunity to perform their newly acquired skills at youth performance platforms.
The course leaders are ensuring that the project is imaginative and innovative, with the aim to nurture those who are gifted yet have not had access to the arts due to social exclusion.
The environment offered is safe and modern and the atmosphere friendly and professional. This allows the individuals to explore and research dance in its many forms thus boosting the participant’s self-esteem and building their confidence.
The aim is also to encourage the young people to participate in higher education and a member of BDYD is due to start professional dance training at a vocational college in central London in September 2008.
Ultimately, BDYD offers an integrated project that is identifying a common vision for all the underprivileged young people involved, and fundamentally giving them a sense of belonging to the local community. The project breaks down learning barriers and focusses on developing key skills that equip the young people with positive social skills. This, in turn, enables them to become responsible citizens.
In March 2007, a selection of BDYD members were asked to perform at an event called ‘Burn Out’. ‘Burn Out’ is a platform for young people to perform their own choreographies in a professional venue, this year held at The Playhouse, Harlow. Ten members performed a six minute choreography, from which two were also the choreographers, to a sell out audience of over 300 people. This was a fantastic opportunity for the young people as they performed their achievements directly to the public, boosting their self-esteem and developing their confidence.
In June 2007 BDYD performed at the London Youth Games at Crystal Palace. The young people represented the local borough and performed an Asian fused street dance choreography. They performed in front of an audience of 1000.
In July 2007, BDYD performed their very own showcase of work to a sell out audience of friends, family and the general public. The young people collaborated and created a performance that explored and challenged the public’s perception of today’s young people. Through various mediums, such as dance, singing and mc-ing the young people performed choreographies and songs at a particularly high standard. By using their newly acquired skills they broke down barriers and they felt a sense of belonging, which increased their self-esteem and confidence. The showcase was integrated and well informed, which equipped the individuals and prepared them for adulthood.