London Youth Dance Weekend gets young Londoners moving

On March 10th, 40 young people put on their dance shoes and took part in the London Youth Dance Weekend!

As we approach the two year mark of our involvement in London’s Cultural Education Challenge, the London Youth Dance Weekend provided a platform to show that young people are keen to experience and engage in a broad range of opportunities.

Hosted at Woodrow High House, 60 young people, youth workers and dance tutors came together for a weekend focused on five key themes:

#dance, #fitness, #fun, #movement, and #wellbeing.

A New Direction, the Cultural Education Challenge lead body set us a challenge two years ago.  In short, how could we play our part in bringing about a step change in cultural education?  The diversity of youth organisations, young people and partners for the Dance Weekend was a great example of how we are making positive steps towards this.

Young people at dance residential

Importantly, the Dance Weekend also reflected a number of issues that are increasingly important to young Londoners:

  • Making sure that an active lifestyle becomes a long term habit
  • Exploring and understanding the meaning of culture
  • Understanding the tools are required to fulfill their potential, deal with life’s challenges, achieve their goals and be able to give something back.
  • Developing healthy relationships, a sense of belonging and gaining confidence in their individual identities

From arriving on Friday evening to departing on Sunday afternoon, the weekend was awash with energy, laughter, creativity, colour and learning.  All done within a safe space, surrounded by trusted and capable adults.  By Sunday afternoon, each young person had undertaken a range of practical workshops and informal discussions, from creating commitment boards and happiness cards, to Wakey Wakey Rise and Shine sessions.  Other activities over the weekend included four dance workshops, four fitness workshops, swimming, clubbercise, motivational speeches, and sessions on wellbeing and why it matters. Zarah Matin of Pineapple Community noted the increase in confidence over he weekend, ‘An inspirational and motivational weekend, where everyone took the step and pushed even the slightest beyond their limits.  A weekend where our young people of today left knowing they are in control of their wellbeing, fitness and how they can shape their positive future.’

The young people who took part clearly gained a lot in such a short space of time. One participant, Ilani (age 15) commented, “I’m leaving this residential with an incredibly motivated mind-set.  This weekend, people have pushed me to do things that as myself I probably wouldn’t do.  I appreciated all of the shared experiences, the learning and am thankful for all of the love and support. You’re all role models to me!”

Each youth organisation was also empowered to design and pitch for funding to deliver a project back in their local communities.  The panel was delighted to award all six youth organisations the funding for the following ideas:

Reflecting on the past two years, John Jones, Sports Development Officer said,

‘It’s been a real pleasure to contribute to London’s Cultural Education Challenge. Our Getting Ready Dance Programme has enabled 10 community youth organisations to develop as creative hubs offering young people a diverse range of opportunities. Looking ahead, we now have the foundations to create an arts and cultural offer that is inclusive of all young people in London and we look forward to bringing this to life.’

For further information on this and London Youth’s Sport, Dance and Physical Activity Programmes, please contact:

john.jones@londonyouth.org
07736 619 595
@JustJohnJones #LYsports

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