Strictly youth dancing - ministers join 'Strictly' stars and Royal Ballet to boost youth dance

17 March 2008

Dance – one of the fastest growing subject for GCSE and A level students in England – is to receive a £5.5 million boost from the Government, Culture Secretary Andy Burnham and Schools Minister Andrew Adonis announced today.

Today’s announcement follows a review of youth dance by Royal Opera House Chief Executive Tony Hall, also published today.

The new investment, plus a support structure, will boost dance opportunities for young people - both in school and out of school hours.  It will help young people dance for fun and fitness, and support talented young dancers move into the profession – finding the next ‘Billy Elliot’ and maintaining Britain’s world-class status in dance.

Funded through the Departments for Culture, Media and Sport and Children, Schools and Families and Arts Council England, the initiative will include:

  • For the first time in dance, an organisation – Youth Dance England (YDE) – which is charged and funded to develop a national youth dance strategy across both school and youth dance sectors. 

  • A pilot of dance co-ordinators in schools supporting the provision of dance – both as an artform and within school sport.
    Six new Centres of Advanced Training (CATs) between now and 2011, training and supporting around 1,500 more young people inspired to take dance to the next level

  • A new leadership from a joint DCMS/DCSF Dance Review Programme Board.  For the first time, it will bring together stakeholders, agencies and funders from education and dance sectors and young dancers themselves.

Culture Secretary Andy Burnham, said:
"Ballet or ballroom, hip-hop or Highland, dance is something we're really good at in this country.
It also combines physical activity, creativity and beauty in a way that appeals to all.  So it's right and good that Government support for the dance world should be put on a new footing, and I look forward to seeing the next generation of dancers - and the one after that - benefit from it."

Schools Minister Andrew Adonis added,
“Young people love dance. After football, it is the most popular kind of formal exercise in schools. But of course it is so much more than that – it is physical communication, artistic expression and social recreation. That is why we must provide more chances for young people to experience high quality dance opportunities, both in and out of school.

“I’m delighted to be able to announce that we will be rolling out six new Music and Dance Scheme Centres for Advanced Training. Alongside the five already in existence, they will provide a nationwide network for some of our most promising future talent.
“I will also be asking Youth Dance England to do a small-scale pilot of dance co-ordinators within the school sport structure. This will look at how to maximise dance opportunities on offer at a local level.

Culture Minister Margaret Hodge said, 
"Dance is one of our oldest art forms and one that people can take part in, or simply watch, at just about any age or degree of skill and experience.  Dance is also triumphantly eclectic, drawing in styles and forms from all over the world and from every tradition.  I am thrilled that young people will now have access to a higher standard of provision, and that the dance sector itself has now got the further recognition it so richly deserves."


Chief Executive of the Royal Opera House, Tony Hall said.
“My review aims to do one thing - and this is to get young people dancing, wherever they live, and from whatever background they come.  Dance answers lots of the issues young people face from expressing their creativity, to working in teams, tackling obesity, or justhaving fun.  I am delighted the Government is acting on our ideas.

New Patron of Youth Dance England, Arlene Phillips, said:  "I am thrilled to be a patron of YDE at this exciting time.  Dance can be life changing, dance can make a difference to every young person and I welcome this increased support for youth dance training."

Alan Davey, Chief Executive Arts Council England, said:
"Youth Dance takes a great leap forwards today. Dance already plays an important part in the daily lives of many young people. Now, the opportunity to take part in and learn about dance will be there for even more aspiring dancers across the country.
"Arts Council England is pleased to be part of this first step towards consolidating youth dance provision across the country.  Our investment means that Youth Dance England will become an Arts Council England Regularly Funded Organisation.  This is in direct response to Tony Hall's call to set up a properly funded, powerful national youth dance organisation for England."

Leedon Lower School, Leighton Buzzard worked with YDE on a dance project.  Head teacher, Mrs Frances Godfrey, said,   “The dance activity project that took place at our school was a fantastic way of engaging more pupils in dance and raising the skills and confidence of the people teaching it. We need additional dance resources in schools to ensure we deliver a diverse range of high quality dance to all pupils, as it is a great way to keep fit, raise self-esteem and improve creativity.”

Notes to editors:

Funding:   The joint funding constitutes:

   2008 - 09  2009-10  2010-11
DCSF  250  550  600
DCSF Music and Dance scheme  400 410  420 
DCMS/Arts Council England  900 960  1020 
Total  1.55m 1.920m  2.040m 

Dance Audit:  The Youth Sport Trust was asked to undertake an audit of dance activity across England within School Sport Partnerships. The full results of this audit are published alongside the Review. The results of the audit are currently being analysed by Youth Dance England and the Dance Review Programme Board to inform future support for dance education.


Centres for Advanced Training (CATs)
The centres are being rolled out in every region and complement the provision available at full-time residential schools such as the Royal Ballet School.  Because the CATs provide out-of-school-hours training, children and young people with potential and commitment can remain in their local school and community without the need to go away to boarding school.  They also offer training in a broader range of dance genres.  The existing dance CATs are:

  • Dance City Academy, Newcastle upon Tyne
  • Laban Dance CAT, London
  • London Contemporary Dance School CAT at The Place
  • Swindon Dance Academy
  • Yorkshire Young Dancers (with Northern School of Contemporary Dance and Northern Ballet Theatre, Leeds)

Two new dance CATs are due to come on stream during the 2008/09 school year:

  • Dance East Academy, Ipswich
  • Birmingham Dance Academy (with Dance Xchange and SAMPAD South Asian dance)

Over the course of the next few years, new dance CATs are expected to open at Dance4 in Nottingham (serving the East Midlands from September 2009) and in the North West, with further strengthening of the infrastructure in the South West and South East.   CATs are also supported through the Department for Children, Schools and Families' Music and Dance scheme.


  • 86 per cent of pupils participate in at least two hours a week on high quality PE and school sport in a typical week - up from an estimated 25 per cent in 2002. (Source:2006/07 DCSF sport survey)

  • Dance was the second most commonly offered activity - (96 per cent of schools).
    (Source: 2006/07 DCSF sport survey)

  • Participation in dance has increased by 83 per cent over the last four years (Source: Arts Council England)

  • Dance is second only to football as the most popular activity of school children (Source: PE and School Sport Club Links scheme)

  • 17 per cent of participants in Youth Dance England’s current projects are from backgrounds other than White British (compared to 10% BME population figures for the UK).

  • The number of students taking GCSE dance has increased by 125 per cent from 7,003 in 2001 to 15,750 in 2005. (Source: The Assessment and Qualifications Alliance)

Copies of the Dance Review, Government Response and Audit of Dance Provision in English Schools 2006/07 published today, can be downloaded from the Department for Children, schools and families website.

Interview bids for Andy Burnham should be submitted to Fiona Cameron, on 020 7211 6266 or Clare Ramsaran on 020 7211 6272. 
Bids for Andrew Adonis should be submitted to Ed Hawkesworth on 020 7925 5999 or Lucy Allen on 020 7925 5942.


Press Enquiries: 020 7211 6052/6277
Out of hours telephone pager no: 07699 751153
Public Enquiries: 020 7211 6200

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