10 years of Preston Youth Dance Company

Posted: 15 August 2022
PYDC on stage performing Infectious

The end of this academic year also marks a full 10 years of Preston Youth Dance Company! Starting out back in 2012, originally based at Cardinal Newman College and supported by Ludus Dance, the company are now housed at the University of Central Lancashire and are a In Residence Company of UCLanDance.

We are taking time over the next year to check in with dancers and company assistants past and present to reflect on the successes, the unique qualities and how life in PYDC still lives with them today. We have started by producing a short film (available from September 2022) and a series of zoom reflection sessions to drill down into the details of made PYDC so important for those involved. Here are just a few of the things we’ve discovered so far:

Maiya: ‘Before I started in PYDC, I had no confidence at all and I was so nervous when I first joined…I could do the creative stuff but I had no confidence, I could do it but I didn’t want you to see it because I thought it wasn’t going to be right but actually you were really influential for me in that every single person was celebrated which really built my confidence and also really built the confidence of the group as well.’

Meara: ‘The assistant role allowed me to see what these young people were learning in schools and understand what they had in terms of dance access and so, when doing this alongside my degree, it gave me an eye opener and allowed me to develop myself as the dance artist I wanted to be.’

Zoe: Thinking back to PYDC and reminiscing about music and pieces…’Lots of fun! And I was thinking of child like play, it’s a positive space that you held, it was finding that balance of creating a really nice movement piece with a really fun theme on top with everybody personalities in it as well. The one thing PYDC was, was you indulged in everybody personalities and then that came through in the piece. The ‘infectious’ piece was such a fun piece and I think it was one of those pieces, the first piece, where I was like, oh God, you can actually have fun! It sounds a bit daft because some experiences can be really quite serious and not personal, when thinking of this piece everything was so personal to everybody in the company and it was more about developing them, see something in them, pulling it out and putting that in the piece, and then the piece is obviously more fun, engaging interesting, different…’

And, as a key element in our reflection sessions, we asked previous dancers and assistants to listen to a piece of music that reminded them of their time with PYDC to kickstart the memories. Here is a playlist of those tracks to pass on the energy, inspiration and enthusiasm of our Thursday evenings…!

You can learn more about PYDC by reading our Case Study.

The next opportunity for young dancers aged 11 – 19 years to join PYDC will be this Autumn. Visit our youth dance page to find out more.