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Dance scheme is certainly hip

Girls-only sessions promote well-being and explore social issues, too. Julia Horton reports

Girls-only sessions promote well-being and explore social issues, too. Julia Horton reports

A lasting fascination with Bollywood is helping teenage girls at Scottish schools to become healthier and more confident. Ardrossan Academy is among the latest to join a dance scheme promoting health and well- being.

Dance Fit is attracting pupils who don't usually enjoy PE by giving them a chance to try out popular dance in a girls-only environment that is "welcoming and fun".

Tutors from the Scottish youth dance agency YDance deliver the sessions, building up a relationship with the group, encouraging the girls to give opinions on the styles of dance they are learning and create their own dance sequences.

But the programme also explores social issues through dance, including bullying and alcohol and drug dependency, as well as the risks of smoking.

Lindsay Anderson, Ardrossan's acting principal teacher of PE, says the programme has boosted S2 pupils' self-esteem and teamwork, as well as their fitness.

"They have had a really positive experience and learned a lot, especially about substance abuse. A lot of the girls said they would not do that again or would not try it."

Funded by the Scottish government, YDance has been running in Scottish schools since 2008.

Some 20 girls at Ardrossan take part in the project, which was launched at the school last August. Now, staff are considering encouraging them to go on to achieve an Award in Dance Leadership qualification.

Meanwhile, YDance also offers them the opportunity to perform at a number of events, including an annual Free To Dance showcase at the Magnum Theatre, in Irvine, earlier this month.

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