It only seems like yesterday when we descended upon Central Hall for two weekends back in November to marvel at the 56 schools, colleges and groups that took part in YSDF18. We felt honoured to watch 1200 young dancers perform to a total audience of over 2800 people. We were delighted that Rachael Maskell MP and the Lord Mayor of York and Civic Party were able to attend.
2018 was a big year for The Yorkshire Schools Dance Festival. It was the first time the event was extended to two weekends - a decision we had to take because of the number of schools and groups who wanted to take part. And we think it worked rather nicely! The creative responses to our 2018 theme, 'Changes', were amazing; they included a homage to David Bowie, an exploration of how the arts inspire change, a focus on climate change, growing up, changes in music across the decades - the list goes on! No two pieces were the same.
Audience feedback has been amazing. One parent told us, "It really is the highlight of our year." (her son has taken part 3 times). "Seeing all those enthusiastic children and young people brings a tear to your eye and puts a smile on your face."
Feedback from schools/groups has been equally positive: "I think the event is absolutely brilliant! All the schools and parents who attended have absolutely raved about it. The event is a fantastic way of showcasing a celebration of performing arts across Yorkshire." Another teacher told us the event "... engaged many of our more vulnerable and less confident pupils who would not usually have the chance to have this experience."
And so it is with huge pride that we begin preparations for YSDF19. You may have noticed a few changes to the website (more to come over the next few weeks) and we'll be sharing a couple of amazing films we've made. The dates for 2019 are set - 16th & 17th and 23rd & 24th November. Schools, colleges and groups will be able to register in February. We recommend that people sign up for news and updates via the website to make sure they're the first to know. Places are allocated on first come, first served basis and demand is likely to be high.
Here's a just a selection of the many images we took at YSDF18. We think they reflect the breadth of styles, content and ages we were lucky to see. We have no doubt that YSDF19 will be just as phenomenal!