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We believe passionately in inspiring the next generation to find their love of dance.

Between 2012 and 2022 we've worked with 129 schools/groups and over 9000 young dancers. 


The Yorkshire Schools Dance Festival (YSDF) is a non-competitive annual dance event that engages children of all ages and abilities from primary schools, secondary schools, colleges and community groups who might not otherwise have the opportunity to take part in dance activities.


The Festival will be staged at The Carriageworks, Leeds, in October 2023 and have previously been staged at Central Hall, University of York. Each year we welcome around 1200 children and young people from schools, colleges and community groups across the region. They share their response to an annual theme. The event attracts a family audience of around 4000 people across the four days of performance. 


The core of each Festival day is the presentation of the school, college and community groups' choreographic response to an annual theme. Each performance lasts around 4-5 minutes. They perform to a capacity audience of 1000. Performers watch the other groups perform.

We aim to immerse the children, young people and audience in a range of activities the moment they step into a dedicated workshop space. We have formed partnerships with the following organisations to add further value:

York Dance Space - Creation of a festival finale involving all performers and audience. Development of online instructional video. Finale workshop/rehearsal before Festival. Audience participation. Supports our Leadership Programme by acting as mentors. 

Northern School of Contemporary Dance - Student delivery of performance and supporting workshop for primary aged children before the Festival. Students drawn from 3rd year undergraduates who have elected to undertake the ‘Dance Education’ module. 

One Dance UK

Representation from their One Dance UK’s Dance Ambassadors and the Children & Young people team to connect with staff from schools and dance leaders. The event is the largest annual U.Dance event.

College/FE Providers

We welcome the participation of post-16 groups. In 2021 CAPA College, York College, Leeds City College and Mechanics delivered scratch workshops with young people of secondary age. A short demonstration of their work was performed at the Festival. Watch the video.

Children & Young People’s Dance Network North - We have a close working relationship with Gail Ferrin, CYPDNN Coordinator. Gail leads instagram take-overs, supports the refinement of performances, mentors the One Dance UK Ambassadors and supports event delivery.




The Festival is open to schools, colleges and community groups (serving diverse communities) across Yorkshire. Since the Festival began in 2012 we have worked with 129 schools, colleges and community dance groups and welcomed over 9000 performers on to the stage.

The Festival is often oversubscribed. The 4 performance days are curated to ensure a balance of 1.primary schools, 2. secondary schools, 2. college/FE providers and community groups. Structuring the event in this way serves our ambition to highlight progression in dance and signpost wider participation opportunities.


  • Provide a prestigious performance platform for children and young people of all ages,

  • Celebrate and nurture children and young people’s creative talents,
  • Celebrate and shape dance provision in schools,

  • Engage families in live dance performance,

  • Support and promote participation and progression in dance,

  • impact positively on children and young people’s emotional, mental and physical health,

  • Develop leadership roles for young people,

  • Provide training and professional development opportunities for staff,

  • Be a voice for dance at regional and national level


The Festival is delivered by a team with extensive experience in dance education and event management. YSDF is not for profit. Any income is directed back into making the experience for participants the best it can be and widening involvement through digital engagement platforms.

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