The Commonwealth Youth Dance Festival 2014 is a showcase for 'choreographic excellence'

Anna Kenrick of YDance: ‘You’re going to see excellence in youth dance, and the power and energy that young people bring'

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The Commonwealth Youth Dance Festival 2014 is a showcase for 'choreographic excellence'

Sitting with 115 applications in front of her, and just 36 slots in the Commonwealth Youth Dance Festival available, Anna Kenrick had her work cut out.

As artistic director of YDance, it was her job to say yes or no to young dancers from around the world, all keen to be part of this summer’s celebration. Taking place over three nights, the Festival had to be diverse, have a good geographic spread – and give a few unknowns a chance.

‘We were looking for choreographic excellence,’ says Kenrick. ‘But also different styles of dance from across the commonwealth countries, so it wasn’t a purely contemporary dance festival.’

To that end, Kenrick has invited dancers from 10 different nations, including a ‘phenomenal’ Bharatanatyam company from India, the national youth dance companies of England, Scotland and Wales, all-male jazz company Khronos from the BRIT school, and a company from Namibia, to name but a few.

Some youth groups linked to prestigious dance schools and centres, will have been surprised by Kenrick’s knock-back. But as she says, ‘we just felt that some other groups needed a chance to get their foot in the door.’

Whether they’re travelling from Australia or Aberdeen, the young dancers heading to the Festival have an exciting time ahead. For those watching, Kenrick promises something equally special.

‘You’re going to see excellence in youth dance,’ she says, ‘and the power and energy that young people bring. The aim with all the work we do, is that people see dance which just happens to be performed by young people – rather than young people who dance.’

Tramway, Glasgow, Thu 10–Sat 12 Jul.

Commonwealth Youth Dance Festival

This festival is a huge celebration of youth dance from across the world. Featuring performances from 36 groups and 400 individuals hailing from Australia, Canada, England, India, Malta, Namibia, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Singapore and Wales.

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