Every summer for the last 13 years, YDance has been offering talented young dancers aged 16 – 25 the chance to develop their skills and experience what it’s like to be part of a professional touring dance company.

The annual Project Y Performance Course is the only intensive contemporary dance and performance programme of its kind. Each year up to 25 exceptional young dancers are selected from a rigorous audition process to form the Project Y company. The company spend four-weeks over the summer working with four different choreographers to create new dance works which are then toured to venues across Scotland. Many of the young performers study dance full time at training colleges in Scotland and England, and some younger participants are still at school but have a keen interest in pursuing dance as a career. The course attracts applicants from as far afield as Australia, the USA and Europe.

Due to the restrictions implemented following the outbreak of COVID-19, YDance responded to the situation and has adapted its prestigious Project Y course to an online format.

From Monday 20th July, the 24 young dancers who were selected at auditions back in March will take part in two weeks of online workshops with choreographers Anna Kenrick, Emma Jayne Park, Jessie Roberts-Smith, and Sandrine Monin. Workshops will focus on technique, improvisation, masterclasses and Q&A sessions with the choreographers.

Alongside the core dance workshops, participants will also get the opportunity to participate in costume and lighting design workshops with industry professionals in those fields. Throughout the two-week period the company will also work to create a dance performance film which will be released on the YDance website in August.

Carolyn Lappin, Executive Director of YDance said:

“When it became clear that we could not hope to bring our Project Y company together to rehearse and perform this year, we were determined to give those who successfully auditioned in March the opportunity to develop their skills through an online programme, for which we are not charging the usual tuition fees. Equally, we wanted to commit to supporting the freelance choreographers and other members of the creative team who were already contracted, by honouring their contacts and paying them their full fees. Freelancers are crucial to the performing arts ecology, and YDance is continuing to support both employed and freelance staff during the pandemic restrictions.

Although we are disappointed not to be able to offer our young dancers the full, live Project Y experience in the current circumstances, we are excited to work with them in a new way, and to discover ways of creating new work in a very different format.  The choreographers and creative team have risen to the challenge magnificently and we hope that the dancers have the best experience possible.”