Interested in taking part? 

Information for schools & groups 

Where does the festival take place?

Our venue is Central Hall, the University of York.

How much does it cost?

Taking part in YSDF costs £130 per performance group (2019 price).


 The fee includes:

  • Participation in YSDF

  • Free places on the twilight training session for teachers/coordinator

  • Free tickets for supervising staff at the event

  • Free tickets for performers

  • Access to news and special offers from our partners (Yorkshire Dance, Northern School of Contemporary Dance and One Dance UK)

  • A certificate of appreciation to mark your school/group's involvement in the event

Some schools utilise their PE & Sport Premium Funding to cover costs. You can find out more by clicking on the link below

What happens on the day?

In the morning

Each school rehearses during an allocated 20 minute dress & technical rehearsal between 8.15am and 1.50pm. 

Between rehearsal and performance

Schools/groups are free to decide how they spend their time between rehearsal and the performance. Some may opt to instruct parents to bring their child to the venue for rehearsal, wait for them and then take them home and return at around 2pm whilst others may opt to stay on site with their group (if they are travelling a long distance).

The safety and wellbeing of groups is the responsibility of the school/group staff during this time. We will make sure that a space is available for groups staying between rehearsal and performance.

In the afternoon

The Festival begins at 3.00pm with an estimated finish time of 5.10pm (this can vary depending upon the length of pieces presented).

The auditorium doors open at 2.30pm. We ask all children, young people and audience members to stay for the duration of the festival so that those performing at the end have the same support and ‘buzz’ as those at the beginning. 


Groups will have the opportunity to see the entire festival on each day as they're seated in the auditorium. 

Who can take part?

The Festival is open to primary, secondary and specialist schools, colleges/FE providers as well as community dance settings that have an inclusive admissions policy (ie no audition or requirement for previous experience). 

What ages, abilities and group sizes?

Our youngest dancer has been 4 and our oldest 19. Groups are limited to 50 children/young people. All abilities welcomed. 

Is it a competiton?

Definitely not. This is an opportunity for children and young people to share their creative talents and have the opportunity to understand how they might progress their skills/interest in dance. Primaries get to see secondaries, secondaries get to see FE provision and FE get to learn about University/HE options. It's all about progression!

How do I register to take part?

When  registration for YSDF opens (normally in March of each year) we'll ask you to complete an online registration form. We recommend that you sign up for news and update to make sure you're the first to know (form at the bottom of this page). 


Once you return it to us an invoice for the registration fee will be raised. Once we receive payment we'll confirm your place in the festival and allocate a performance day.  

Is there a theme?

We set a theme each year that we think will be a fantastic starting point for choreography. Where you take it is entirely up to you - all we ask for you to consider the appropriateness of content to a family audience.

We arrange a twilight training session with a professional dancer/choreographer. As well as offering new ideas on approaching choreography and dance development, the session will give you some ideas about how the theme might be interpreted

Your performance

We place no restriction on performance content (other than it being suitable for a family audience in terms of:

content, costume and music choice.


The content and style will more often than not be determined by the ages and ability of your group.


Each performance should last no longer than 5 minutes. 

When will the festival take place?

The 2020 festival will take place across the weekends of the 14th/15th and 21st/22nd November. 

Join our mailing list to keep in touch and be the first to know about future performances/events as well as news and updates,

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