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Young Creatives: Supporting that unique thinking

Young Creatives. Photo by Dani Bower.
Young Creatives. Photo by Dani Bower.

One Dance UK, the national agency for dance in the UK, supports dance practices through providing advice, training and networking links across dance access, education, science, health, performance, production and management. Young Creatives is one such program designed to support and nurture young choreographers aged 16-20, providing opportunities to experience different ways of creating and developing movement, and culminating in a live performance of new work. The programme runs over two years – the first year including choreographic workshops in a range of styles and approaches. In the second-year, artists create a new work with the support of a professional mentor.

Young Creatives. Photo by Dani Bower.
Young Creatives. Photo by Dani Bower.

Young Creative, 18-year-old Amari Webb-Martin, heard about the Young Creatives programme during her time with the National Youth Dance Company. “At the time, I had just made a short dance film with a friend as a part of a community project and realised that I had a growing passion for choreography, and Young Creatives seemed like the perfect next step.”

Webb-Martin is creating a work on Afro-futurism, a speculative fiction and art movement that explores African ancestry in the diaspora through a science fiction lens. As “if four black pop stars/music icons in the ’80s/’90s were sent to explore space,” explains Webb-Martin. “A lot of my choreographic decisions have been made around lighting, and I really wanted to play with how the dancers can be isolated on a large stage to mimic the vastness of space as well as making reference to the sci-fi genre.”

Young Creatives programme. Photo courtesy of One Dance UK.
Young Creatives programme. Photo courtesy of One Dance UK.

She adds, “I hope to create more work that can explore and be commentary on topics that I feel particularly passionate about, as well as serving as an entertaining experience for audiences. I really value my community, so I hope that my work can both be a voice for and reflect the spaces I grew up in and people I grew up around.”

Young Creative, Tiegan Doyle, also 18 years old, became involved in the Young Creatives program during her second year of university at Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts after having the program recommended by her Head of Dance. Doyle has been exploring themes linked to the Swedish annual festival ‘Midsommar’. 

Young Creatives. Photo by Dani Bower.
Young Creatives. Photo by Dani Bower.

“The piece now follows a small community of females as they allow themselves to be taken by the natures of the festival, surrendering themselves to its underworldly natures and freedoms,” says Doyle. “I think the biggest challenge in the programme is staying confident in your own creative process and trusting in your choreographic vision. The program really supports creativity and unique thinking, and I think the hardest part is to then to not overthink what you’ve created but continue to be inspired by the abundance of talented artists in the room.”

Doyle continues, “I want to develop my own artistry as a dancer. I’m so inspired by unique movement languages, and I want to further implement this into my work.”

Applications to join the 2025 cohort of Young Creatives will open in late 2024. Follow One Dance UK socials @onedanceuk, and for more information, visit www.onedanceuk.org/programmes/young-creatives.

By Tamara Searle of Dance Informa.

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