Two East Midlands youth dance groups have been selected to represent the region’s exceptional youth dance talent on the prestigious stage of Birmingham Hippodrome as part of the U.Dance 2017, the National Youth Dance Festival between 13–16 July. Northampton School for Boys from Northamptonshire’s N.Dance county platform and Next Door Youth Dance Company from Nottinghamshire’s Episodes were selected by a panel of dance industry experts to progress into the national programme.

Northampton School for Boys was working collaboratively to create the movement material for their piece ‘To Jimmy’. Based on the play ‘Hymns’ by Chris O’Connell, the dance explored the friendship of six boys as they mourn the loss of their friend Jimmy. Mapping out four stages of grief, and the effects this has on their friendship, the piece was focusing on male bravado. Their school has been sending groups to the festival since 2005. Next Door Youth Dance Company, an auditioned company set up in September 2016, took part in U.Dance for the very first time. Having a strong focus on contemporary technique, improvisation and choreographic skills, their piece entitled ‘Waiting For You’ told the creative story of a once glamorous, abandoned restaurant hopeful of a customer to break their boredom.

U.Dance 2017 had five county platforms in the East Midlands, enabling young people to present exceptionally high quality dance and choreography. With its varied display of dance and choreographic styles, including ballet, contemporary, hip hop, street, south Asian, musical theatre, and sometimes a unique fusion of different genres, these fastpaced events proved to be a hit with audiences.

All of this year’s county winners had the exclusive opportunity to take part in elEMents Choreo Lab at Dance4’s international Centre for Choreography in Nottingham. Dance4 were pleased to invite 66 young people to a special day where the young dancers explored choreographic skills, ideas and practices with international choreographer Theo Clinkard and other high-profile professional dancers. The day was a unique opportunity to learn and work in a professional environment and state-of-the-art dance studios.

Becky Aram, Dance4’s Producer of Public Programmes says ‘It is an incredible achievement to be chosen from over 80 groups to represent the East Midlands at the National event. Next Door Youth Dance Company and Northampton School for Boys will reflect the diversity and creativity that comes through the U.Dance framework brilliantly.’


Tickets for the shows can be bought on Birmingham Hippodrome’s website on or follow the story with Dance4 on Twitter on @Dance_4.

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