YDance (Scottish Youth Dance) was established in 1988 originally as Scottish Youth Dance Festival, offering an annual week-long festival for local youth dance groups in Scotland. Over the past 31 years YDance has grown into an annual operation working with thousands of young people each year. The company is respected in Scotland and elsewhere as a provider of high-quality work, both participatory and performance based, and has had core funding status since its inception. YDance’s work in the field of improving physical activity levels amongst young people is recognised by the Scottish Government Health and Sport Departments, who have commissioned three long term programmes of work from YDance since 2005.
Since establishing a year-round programme of work in the 1990’s YDance has developed the current three-part structure – giving children and young people across Scotland opportunities to participate in dance whatever their background, and at whatever level suits them, from initial participation through to higher level training and performance.
The company takes a leading role in advocating dance for young people in formal education, and in developing and nurturing youth dance opportunities at local level throughout Scotland. YDance has worked in partnership with a wide range of organisations and agencies, including Local Authorities, Cultural Trusts, Sportscotland, the NHS, the Active Schools network, and arts organisations including the other National Youth Performing Arts Companies, Indepen-dance and Scottish Ballet Education Department. In the formal education sector, YDance has established links with Education Scotland, the Scottish Qualifications Authority, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and Dance Colleges in Scotland.
YDance has worked with other youth dance agencies around the UK and internationally, to raise the profile of young people’s dance and to give young dancers from Scotland the chance to work with their peers from other parts of the world. The National Youth Dance Company of Scotland has performed in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Australia, India, Belgium, France, and the Republic of Ireland, and Horizons inclusive youth dance company has taken part in exchanges and performances in Spain, Germany, and the Netherlands. In 2014 YDance produced the first ever Commonwealth Youth Dance Festival alongside the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, which involved youth dance groups from across the UK and the Commonwealth.
As YDance enters its fourth decade, the company has become a key element of youth arts provision in Scotland. The company is a Regularly Funded Organisation within Creative Scotland’s portfolio, and has been supported by a range of other funds, including Scottish Governemnt targeted funds, NHS Health Scotland, Cashback for Creativity and trust funds including the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and the Robertson Trust.