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An eye on artistry with York Dance Space

Updated: Sep 6, 2018

York Dance Space will be adding their very special blend of artistry and creativity to the Yorkshire Schools Dance Festival for a second year. They'll once again be choreographing our finale as well as offering 8 FREE workshops to schools leading up to the festival.

2017 Finale Dance: Choreographed by York Dance Space

Every year's finale is a response to our annual theme. Last year it was 'Freedom' and the culmination of the festival was an uplifting celebration of individuality and movement. It certainly got the audience to their feet (as you can see in the photograph).

We asked Hannah Wintie-Hawkins (co-director at York Dance Space) what her recipe for a successful finale piece is. In true Great British Bake Off style, she told us:

  1. Mix an uplifting song with some energetic dance movements.

  2. Combine with audience and dancers so that everyone can participate and the mixture has been brought together as a whole.

  3. Kneed in enthusiasm, spirit and creativity.

  4. Sprinkle with the magic that was produced on stage by the performers before. Add a pinch of cheesiness.

  5. Bake until everyone leaves with a smile on their face and with a feeling that they want to watch/participate in dance again.

Hannah, who took part in the event when she was at school, went on to say, "The finale piece will be a celebration of what has come before. Bringing participants and the audience together so that everyone leaves with a shared experience of dancing and moving together and positive memories of the event."

Hannah and Drew in action with younger children (Photo: Sam Johnson)

Drew Wintie-Hawkins (co-director at York Dance Space) added, “The Yorkshire Schools Dance Festival is one of the only events which allows young people from 4 to 19 to celebrate and perform on the same stage regardless of experience. Creating an environment where younger less experienced dancers can be inspired by older more experienced young people is truly wonderful."

Hannah and Drew will also be offering free workshops to 8 participating schools. The focus will be specific to each school and depend upon what stage of the creative process they are at. It could be generating movement ideas in response to the 2018 'Changes' theme, a focus on contact and partnering work to develop skills and techniques, introducing devices and techniques to make a coherent piece of work that is exciting to watch or a workshop focused on refining a finished dance piece.

Hannah says, "I really enjoy seeing teachers and leaders taking risks both in terms of their response to the theme and choreographic content. It demonstrates clearly that we have great professionals in schools committed to ensuring dance opportunities and giving their pupils a varied experience of styles and approaches."

A workshop at York Dance Space, Tang Hall, York (Photo: Michael Oakes)

Established for just over 2 years, York Dance Space champions the development of dance across York and North Yorkshire through learning, participation, education and performance and aim to:

  • Bring unique and high quality dance experiences to all ages particularly children and young people.

  • Create innovative community/professional work with the notion that every body dances and that is artistically driven.

  • To use the power of dance and the arts to enhance wellbeing, quality of life and aspiration.

  • To immerse the role of a dance artist within a school/education setting. Including ‘choreographing the curriculum’, artists in residence and teacher CPD.

  • To connect professional dance artists and work to the wider community.

York Dance Space run an extensive participation programme throughout term time, including York Youth Dance (youth dance company), Over 50’s Creative Dance classes and Saturday school. Alongside this programme, York Dance Space offer bespoke in school projects or workshops that focus on using creativity and movement as an instrument of learning. York Dance Space have established positive partnerships with local organisations to create dance opportunities for people across the city and the wider reach of North Yorkshire, these include York Theatre Royal, York Art Gallery, York Explore Libraries, Great Yorkshire Fringe, York St John University, Pilot Theatre and Yorkshire Schools Dance Festival.


For more information about York Dance Space visit:

Facebook, Twitter & Instagram: @yorkdancespace

Tickets for the 2018 Yorkshire Schools Dance Festival will be on sale from 18th September.

YSDF18 is supported by Yorkshire Education and the York & North Yorkshire Dance Hub


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