Three dancers, past, present and future, from Scotland's national youth dance organisation share their experiences of Project Y
Run by YDance, Project Y is the only intensive dance training programme in the UK offering young dancers the chance to create and perform as part of a touring contemporary dance company. As this year's crop get set to tour Scotland, we speak to a returner, a newbie and an alumni of Project Y.
Rachel Laird – returning to Project Y for the fourth time
What was your experience of Project Y last time? Project Y has always been a very positive experience for me and taught me so much. The main thing it has taught me is that I want to be a professional contemporary dancer. I have made life-long friends and many connections with professional choreographers, that I wouldn't have otherwise.
What do you hope to achieve there this time around? I hope to experience new styles of moving and ways of working. Also pushing myself further technically and physically.
What are your hopes for the future? I hope to become a professional contemporary dancer in a touring company and Project Y has let me experience this. I am sure that after my experience, I know this is what I want. Without Project Y, contemporary dance in Scotland would be hard to find. This is such a unique opportunity and I couldn't be more thankful for what I have learned and experienced.
Cameron Burr – Newcomer
What attracted you to Project Y? Seeing the YDance Routes Connections weekend back in October 2014 in Edinburgh. Although I didn't work with the company during that weekend, I found it extremely professional and incredibly interesting. When the chance came up to be part of a project with different and amazing choreographers, I couldn't resist.
What do you hope to achieve from being part of Project Y? I'm hoping to expand my dance knowledge in how to move my body in ways I haven't thought of before, as well as balancing and understanding a life where dance happens daily – which is a goal in life and something I would love to do.
How are you finding the experience so far? I have worked like I have never worked before with dance in my life, and I am enjoying every minute of it! It's incredible to see how the choreographers think and feel – especially using some of the dancers' materials when doing creative tasks, which gives the dancers more motivation and thought for the work we'll perform. As a dancer, it makes me feel included and happy to be a part of it.
Kieran Shannon – former member of Project Y
What did you gain from your experience with Project Y? I gained a whole variety of skills which have helped me all the way from first starting dancing through to being a professional. When starting out I was taught proper studio etiquette and how to act as a dancer within a company. I also gained a huge amount of friends and contacts who have helped me on my journey.
What did working with different choreographers, and developing work with fellow dancers give you in terms of technique, artistry and confidence? Working with different choreographers helped give me an idea of what I wanted to focus on when I got out into the industry. This also opened my eyes to all of the different ways in which people create work, how they work with the dancers that they have and also how the dancers respond to these ways of working.
What are you doing now – and what are your hopes for the future? In April I finished an apprenticeship with < ahref="http://www.2faceddance.co.uk/">2Faced Dance Company with whom I toured all over the UK performing their mid-scale work Dreaming in Code and outdoor work KAPOW which I am still performing at the moment at different festivals.
Right now I am a freelance dance artist working all over the UK on several different projects with different companies including Adaire to Dance in Derby, Dance Ahead in Carlisle and KaSt Dance Company in Dundee. In the future I would like to continue doing what I am doing, working with as many people as possible as there is still so much to be discovered and to learn about. Also once I feel that I have found and developed my own style / ethos I would like to set up a company of my own and start creating and touring work of my own.
In what way do you feel being part of Project Y has helped you strive for your goals? Project Y has been one of the biggest factors in helping me strive for and reach some of my goals. From first providing me with a safe environment to learn and develop, meet new friends and valuable contacts to leading me to the opportunity to be a part of National Youth Dance Company of Scotland where I was a company member for five years touring all over Britain and even to Belgium for an exchange with Retina Youth Dance Company.
All of these experiences which have been presented to me through YDance and Project Y have helped me to get to where I am today and for that I cannot thank the company enough!
Tramway, Glasgow, Wednesday 3 August Beacon Arts Centre, Greenock, Thursday 4 August Lemon Tree, Aberdeen, Friday 5 August Macrobert Arts Centre, Stirling, Saturday 6 August