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News: Hippodrome’s Youth Dancers Flying The Flag For The North East


Hippodrome’s Youth Dancers Flying The Flag For The North East


Members of Darlington Hippodrome’s Youth Dance company have been selected to represent the North East region as part of an online national showcase at the U.Dance National Youth Dance Festival 2021.

Photo: Ian Paine

Darlington Hippodrome’s 14+ Contemporary Dance group has been selected as one of two regional finalists to represent the North East in the U.Dance National Youth Dance Festival for 2021. Presented by One Dance UK, the U.Dance National Youth Dance Festival invites youth dance groups selected from U.Dance Regional Platforms to experience a summer celebration of dance.  Having reached the regional finals at Dance City for several years, Darlington Hippodrome’s Youth Dance Company are thrilled to be selected to represent their region at the national final for the first time.


Due to the Covid pandemic the competition has had a different format in 2021, with the whole festival taking place online and groups being invited to submit a film of their chosen dance. Darlington Hippodrome engaged with Dave Allinson, a local film-maker to work alongside group leader and choreographer Debbie Harbin from The D Project Dance Company to create a dance piece called Textured Reality.


The piece was inspired by discussions with the dancers about their experiences through the first lockdown. Working face to face where possible and online where necessary, the piece evolved over time and focuses on the different layers of reality the group had to face during periods of isolation.


Lyndsey Middleton, Darlington Hippodrome’s Audience Development and Participation Officer said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have been chosen to represent the region at this exciting national event. Whilst lookdown has been a challenge for our young people, we were keen for them to still have access to the best possible dance opportunities, as well as being able to come together - albeit online - and explore what living through this period has meant to them and how it has impacted their mental health and wellbeing. The dance film that the young people have created and choreographed, led by their Dance leader Debbie is a heartfelt representation of their feelings and emotions expressed through dance, and we couldn’t be prouder of their achievements.”


Councillor Andy Keir said “This is great news not just for the talented young dancers involved but for Darlington and the wider region. This is a great opportunity to showcase the talent, drive and determination of the young people of Darlington highlighting an important issue in such a creative way.”


The national showcases will be held online from Friday 16 to Sunday 18 July. As well as the film being broadcast nationally, the festival will include online workshops with leading dance professionals and inspiring dance careers information for young people to take part in.


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