The Nation Youth Dance Company’s premiere…

The Nation Youth Dance Company’s premiere…

Over the past few weeks we’ve been hearing from Katie Hewison, a student and young choreographer at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance, about an exciting dance project that’s happening with young people in Leeds.

Yorkshire Dance’s Dance Whispers is a five day summer school delivered by Northern School of Contemporary Dance (NSCD) in the final week of July, featuring a daily contemporary dance technique class, followed by a variation of contact work, repertory, improvisation within creative sessions.

Here’s Katie dairy entry from the 10 April, as she attended a premier of an inspirational dance show in London…


Sitting at Leeds Train station watching the world go by the city seemed so busy as everybody went about their business, yet little Leeds seemed a world away from the busy London Tubes, where I would be soon.

It was the big day for National Youth Dance Company (NYDC) – premier time!

After working with Lila Dance helping students at Northern School of Contemporary Dance (NSCD) all week, my own body was ready for a rest. Although I bet it was far from the feelings of the NYDC students coming upon the end of their residency, I bet they were tired and nervous, but filled with excitement and adrenaline.  Ready to perform to the huge audience at Sadler’s Wells awaiting them!

Arriving in London we spent some time chatting to some more of NYDC’s alumni, who were all in Vertical Road last year, and are now studying elsewhere. It was really interesting to hear their experiences, and how they each, like the other NYDC Alumni we talked to they have gained such memorable, valuable incredible skills from being in the Youth Company.

As it was premier day we talked a lot about being ‘in the zone’, how it feels when you’re onstage, of our experiences and how important breath is as a focus, to get ‘into the zone’ during preparation as a group, before going onstage.

We then had a little tour of Sadler’s Wells and got to go onto the stage and really feel how big the theatre is. We also walked past Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, who choreographed Frame[d], which was very exciting. Then we had lovely dinner with NYDC and got to catch up with our buddies, and how they were feeling before the big moment! All the dance whisperers were nervous and excited for them.

The theatre was full and NYDC had a standing ovation from all of the dance whisperers, it was so inspiring and amazing! It was great, especially from having been a part of their process and having had an insight into their rehearsals, to see it onstage as a final product

It was nearly the end of their residency yet beginning of much more to come, and we can’t wait to welcome you to Leeds, where we can share all our choreographies with you!

Check out a review of Frame[d] here.

The train journey home Sam, Rhiannon and I were all jotting down and discussing our thoughts!

Here are a few things I jotted down…

  • Does the insight into the works process affect the way you look at the end product?
  • Viewing and perspective is so interesting! Seeing the piece close up, and then in the huge scale of the theatre!
  • ‘Trust Inspiration will come’ Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui
  • ‘Magic moments’ and movement intention.
  • Trust ideas and be selective.
  • Connections and smooth transitions- the moments which are so simple with stillness and quietness yet have such importance and impact.
  • Stay true to your influences, inspirations and style.
  • Preciseness in everything – dedication and persistence.
  • Clarity and emotion
  • Giving your style to others and moulding to it. Gathering individual influences but still having the wholeness- feeling of togetherness and unity throughout movement language and all features.

Having an insight into NYDC’s process and the way Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui has worked, I notice the connections between all the features in the piece. The influences of sound, costume, lighting, props and movement are all intertwined and worked with throughout the process seemingly.  This has made me focus deeper on all these influences as a choreographer from the very beginning of the process. I meet NSCD’s youth dance company for the first time next week and I am really excited to share and explore all my ideas with them!

I like to doodle and draw, so I decided to put some of my thoughts in my mind down on paper- inspired from seeing Frame[d] and this process…

A big thanks to Katie for sharing the beginning of her Dance Whispers journey!

 You can learn more about the project here, and follow the Northern School of Contemporary Dance on Twitter @NorthernSchool.

Are you involved in an exciting summer school project? Are you using dance to engage young people? Why not let us know by leaving a comment below…



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