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04 Jun 2024

Image Credit: Malachy Luckie

Today (Tuesday 4 June) is Power of Youth Day, a day to celebrate the impact of youth social action in our communities. Organised by the #iwill movement, this day is not just a celebration; it’s a call to action, an invitation for individuals and businesses to unite in recognising, empowering, and providing opportunities for the leaders of tomorrow. At DanceEast, youth voice is embedded into our organisation throughout the year, and we have signed #iwill’s Power of Youth Charter. Read on to find out more about how we do this…

Each year, we run a DanceEast Youth Festival for ages 14+, led and directed by a youth planning team. The youth planning team programme and book artists, manage the schedule and engage other young people in the delivery of the day. Young people perform, lead workshops, and assist the running of the festival. This opportunity is great for aspiring producers, and young people interested in learning more about arts event management, marketing and community work.

Katie Squirrel was a member of the Youth Festival planning team last year and shares their experience: “I have found that there are limited opportunities for young producers to get industry experience at the moment so initiatives like this are important to ensure there is a next generation of enthusiastic producers!” Read Katie’s blog post about the event here.

Another way youth voice is championed is through the DanceEast Centre for Advanced Training (CAT) programme. The CAT students are offered the chance to become student reps for the programme with nominations made from current CAT students. Reps take part in projects such as social media takeovers and assist at Taster and Open Days. They also offer valuable feedback about the programme, giving advice on what they would like to see more of and are given the chance to plan events such as the End of Year Celebration.

We also host U.Dance East, a regional platform for youth dance groups to take part in workshops and perform. Young people are engaged in the shortlisting panel and national selection panel. These panellists are often at emerging and established stages of their career.

We also incorporate youth voice in the leadership of the organisation by having a young board member. CAT alumni artist Isis Clunie now sits on the DanceEast board, and last year Isis shared her career story as part of our Move Be Moved 40 Campaign. Now a professional dance artist, Isis loves performing and “bringing joy to people. It doesn’t really matter what form that takes, I just really love sharing art that makes people happy.” Read the full blog post here.

Currently, we are in the process of recruiting an Audience Ambassador aged 18-35 to help encourage new local audiences to attend DanceEast, as part of our wider Future Dance Audiences project. It’s an exciting project, which gives a local young person the chance to connect and network with other young people living in Ipswich to share the exciting performance programme we have on offer here at DanceEast and encourage them to engage with us.

We have also partnered with Eastern Angles to provide a creative career bursary for someone aged 18+ living in Ipswich. So, if you’re interested in finding out more about working in a dance organisation, a Boost Creative Career Bursary could be for you! The bursary provides paid work experience opportunities in the arts organisations across the town, giving individuals the chance to further their professional development and boost their creative careers with a bursary of at least £1,500. Find out more here.