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Young hoofers look to the footlights

A project enabling young people to train with top choreographers and perform in major venues around Scotland is seeking the best young dance talent the nation has to offer.

Run by YDance (Scottish Youth Dance), Project Y will work with 16 to 21-year-olds for four weeks in the summer before touring its final performance at main venues and festivals across the country. The initiative aims to train talented youngsters in dance schools and youth theatres.

Applications have to be in by February 19 for auditions in March.

Funded by the Scottish Arts Council, the training is at the Scottish School of Contemporary Dance's state-of-the-art studios, The Space, in Dundee, from July 9 to August 12.

This is the second year of Project Y, which is led by the Fife-born artistic director of YDance, Andy Howitt. Participants will work with YDance tutors and guest choreographers.

"Project Y is aimed at young dancers who are willing to push themselves in a creative way," says Mr Howitt. "It's not a million miles away from a national youth choir or orchestra. Hopefully it will become permanent.

"This is a chance for young dancers to work with some of the best contemporary choreographers in Europe. We will be going to top-notch venues and treating this as a professional production."

Last year, Project Y worked with leading names such as the Belgian choreographer Filip Van Huffel, and Nottingham-based Retina Dance Company, as well as Allan Irvine, artistic director of the Edinburgh-based street-dancehip hop company Freshmess.

"It was amazing to watch the young dancers develop and grow in confidence,"

says Mr Howitt. "For them to perform at venues such as Edinburgh Festival Theatre and Edinburgh Castle was a huge achievement."

YDance is inviting applications from anyone aged 16-21 with a passion for dance.

Tuition fees are pound;240 for the four weeks, and financial help may be available through grants and bursaries.

* www.ydance.org

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