Project Y Dancer Blog – Part 1

Ever wondered what it would be like to be part of the Project Y Company? What are the challenges? What’s it like working with other dancers you don’t know? How does it develop you as a dancer and as an individual? What’s it like to tour? Never fear, we have the answers for you right here in Part 1 our Project Y Dancer Blog.

Fay Reilly (17), took part in her first Project Y Performance Course in 2017. We asked her a few questions about her experience of the project…

What was it that attracted you to the Project Y Performance Course?

Project Y is one of a kind. The fact that I could work with three prestigious choreographers seemed almost too good to be true. Also, the chance to create and perform all over Scotland with other creative and innovative people sounded amazing.

How is the four-week programme split up?

In the first week we were all together and worked with the first choreographer, Alan Greig. In the second week we split up into two groups and worked with either Hagit Yakira or Steven Martin. In my case I got to work with Steven Martin which was absolutely amazing. For the third week we came back together as one group again and made a piece with Theo Clinkard. For the fourth and final week we toured all the pieces around Scotland, premiering in Glasgow then on to Dundee, Aberdeen and Stirling.

What was it like working in a big group of other young people you didn’t know?

At first it was quite daunting, but after the first day we all felt like a big family. Everyone was so passionate and loved dance that it was inspiring to be around and you automatically felt comfortable.

What was the most difficult thing about Project Y and why?

The most difficult thing about Project Y was how exhausted you would be from dancing all day. However, everyone kept each other motivated and there was always someone you could talk to or someone you could get a comforting hug from.

Is there a good balance of creativity and dance class/technique?

In the morning we would always do a technique class, which is important to start the day off. We did create a lot which I think is one of the reasons Project Y is so special. It greatly improved my creative and improvisation ability.

How did it develop you as a dancer?

I would go as far as saying Project Y made me. Before Project Y I was very new to contemporary dance and had next to no experience in improvisation or creating. Being a part of Project Y made me get over so many fears I had, and without Project Y I definitely wouldn’t be where I am in my dance career today.

And as a person?

It definitely matures you. We had the opportunity to have three well-known and amazing choreographers make a new piece with us so you had to show the utmost dedication and maturity. Also touring made it even more clear that dancing is what I want to do.

What is it like being on tour?

Being on tour is an amazing feeling, especially touring with all of your friends. Being on tour with everyone brings you even closer.

Do you feel everyone taking part in Project Y has an equal shared experience?

Absolutely! I don’t think there was a single person that didn’t enjoy their time at Project Y. Even when we had sore muscles!

As far as you can tell, do you think Project Y is a realistic representation of what working in a contemporary dance is like? Why?

Definitely. Being in the studio creating and moving all day for 5 days is very accurate to what it would be like in a company. The choreographers treated us how they would if we were their dancers in their company. Also performing and doing tech rehearsals was done in a very professional way.

Do you feel Project Y has supported your dance training? In what way?

Project Y has totally made my ability shoot up. I was even lucky enough to be given 1 of 13 places in the National Youth Dance Company of Scotland, and without Project Y I don’t think I ever could be capable of doing that.

Do you have a better vision of your career goals and if you want dance to be a part of that?

Project Y assured me that being a dancer and performing was what I wanted to do.

Would you recommend Project Y?


Would you still recommend Project Y to dancers who do not necessarily class themselves as contemporary dancers?

Definitely. Even if you don’t class yourself as a contemporary dancer you should give it a go. It will open your mind to so many things and so many ways of moving which is so important!

Is there anything you would change about the project?

Maybe do even more performances.

Would you do it again?

Yes of course! I will hopefully be taking part in Project Y 2018.

Coming soon – Part 2 of our Project Y Dancer Blog. We chat to Rachel Laird, 5-time Project Y Company member to find out how the project has helped her develop as a dancer.

If you want to take part in the Project Y, you can find out how at our About the Project Y Performance Course page.