Member of Derbyshire Youth Dance Company - Melanie Oldale

During the academic year 2014/15, I had the privilege of working as a National Young Dance Ambassador (NYDA) for Youth Dance England (YDE). Now that my time as a NYDA has come to a close, I would like to share the experience I’ve had with you.

I’ve been a dancer for most of my life and have always loved to create work and perform it to others, but I’d not really had a lot of experience in organising events or performances where other young dancers can do the same, so when I heard about the opportunity to become a NYDA I absolutely jumped at the chance. I thought long and hard about what to write in my application and sent it off with my fingers crossed. When I received word from YDE that they wanted me to join their team I danced around all over the place (as per usual) with excitement. I went on to meet some of the staff of YDE and my other fellow NYDA’s and felt great pride that I was there representing youth dance in the East Midlands.

We were told that we were going to be given the responsibility of helping to organise the biggest youth dance event of the year, UDance run by YDE. This of course was massively daunting, but what better idea is there than for young dancers to organise an event for other young dancers?! So we were split into groups, each with a task to organise and complete as part of the main UDance festival. We had several meetings throughout the year, but the majority of the work was done from home and by keeping in contact with our groups. Each group did an excellent job and luckily everything came together.

We were also present in our red-shirted glory at the different platform performances held throughout the year and across the country in the most beautiful venues. We helped organise the youth dance groups who were performing, announce the pieces at performances, spread the word on social media etc. I was lucky enough to be asked to open, announce and help out at many shows in my area over the year such as two Secondary School Dance Platforms, a Primary School Dance Festival, Interface15 and I was even nominated and highly commended for an Individual Young Leader of the Year Award! What an honour!

Although all of these things are utterly wonderful, without a doubt the best part was getting through to the National performance in Plymouth, where the whole festival culminated, with my youth dance company Derbyshire Youth Dance Company (DYDC), part of Deda, Derby.

DYDC_ND_Selection_3.jpg                                                                                                                 Photo by Brian Slater

We had performed at many of the different venues across the country and were asked to perform at the Nationals in the summer with our piece “Here We Are, Now” created by our leader Jennifer Manderson. This piece really seemed to strike a chord with a lot of people as it is based on the idea of what makes us who we are. It was even described as “life affirming” which was a lovely thing to hear. We spent the week long residential taking classes in all styles of dance including the West End choreography of the musical “Dirty Dancing”, African Dance, Swing Dance plus so many more, performing a piece in Plymouth Aquarium for the public, watching the other youth groups perform and ending on a high performing on the last night of the festival at the Theatre Royal Plymouth with our friends. It was an unforgettable experience which allowed me to do things I had never done before in my life and gave me great pride to be able to say "I helped to organise this".


Last of all, I had been working on my Silver Arts Award over the year which included the challenge of me designing and making my own dance leggings, which luckily I managed. It took a lot of work and assistance from my friends, family and teachers, but I am very proud to say that I passed and have the certificate to prove it!

So all that's left for me to say is a huge thank you to Youth Dance England, Chesterfield School Sport Partnership, Dance4 and Deda who have supported everything I have done over the year and still continue to do so.

I have loved the opportunities that have come out of being a NYDA and I hope they continue to come, because I may not have the official title anymore, but I will still always be a massive advocate for youth dance, it's one of the most important things I know. To all you young dancers out there, grab every opportunity that comes your way, you never know where it might take you.

Melanie Oldale.

Derbyshire Youth Dance Company are auditioning on Sunday 8 May - find out more here.




Hydra  Knot  vintage  commercial  Déda Refurb  RnB  dancer  Print  Arts Council  Poetry Performance  refurbishment  Illuminos  Residences   Kathak  education  Routine  comedy  research  Stopgap  actor  anxiety,   Productions  Dancing  disabled  accessibility  Hercules  CUBE  Back pain  Lost Dog  mythology  Sky Academy  Audience  Vale  City centre  Developer  hula hoop  Dance Career  Workshops  Yoga  variety  Discusssion  cabaret  disability   siteline  Danish+  choreography  Foxtrot  Bounceback  dance, placement  professional  U.Dance  inclusive  Performers  network  Summer  depression,   Udancebythesea  Community  Relaxation  Book Club  Ashtanga  Participation  Acrobatics   salsa,   New Dimensions  Casson and Friends  corporate  All Dance  Career  ArtCore  Nikki and JD  Writing  Plus One  New Website  party  Simon Armitage  storytelling  Meditation  Ballet  digital  Derby Arts  InCompany  contemporary  Derby Dancing | Déda | Derby Dance | Dance | Heritage Lottery Fund | HLF | HeritageLotteryFund | Rendezvous de Dance | Victor Sylvester | Stork Club | Italian Club | Polish Club | Locarno | Locarno's | New Penny | Blue Orchid | Bell Hotel | The Clouds |   Brochure  Alice Vale  Higher Education  office  Coordinator  mood,  history  Victoria Brown   Inspiring  Derby Theatre  BA Hons Journalism,   Dance  study  Icarus  Path  Poet  Outdoor Events  management  Youth  Circ Bizerk  Website Development  Nightclub  social media  Contemporary Dance  Cultural Vision  disco  Course  Theatre  Derbyshire   Performances  volunteer, Deda, dance, arts, Derby, Derbyshire, marketing, 20 years  BBC  Derby,  learning  carnival  Shakespeare  Hires  Michaela Butter  Arts Award  photo  Clare Limb  reading  Déda  DJ  projection  Emma  Poetry  placement  Dance Development  Children and young people  Aakash  Hen Party  New Art Club  Just Imagine Working Here  Stompers  artist  New Year  Derby Book Festival  dance,   Zumba  START  Degree  Tour  Planning  performance  retro  Creativity  dyslexia  T42 Residency  Dancing,   funding  Tutor  Graphic Designer  Wendy  Adaire To Dance  ACE Dance and Music   Classes  Dance4  regular  café  Déda Bloggers  Celebrate  Blog  Strictly  Fresher  Web Developer  Soul  Studio  ballet,   Website Design  DYDC  Tender  feedback  Greek  Wellbeing  Creative Living,   Baby Shower  NCCA  isolation,   Regional  Children and the Arts  Festivals  Rock 'n' Roll  birds  celebration  Deda  ACE Midlands  Juliet and Romeo  Circus  Derby  Northern Soul  health,   East Midlands  Derby Festé  Studying  offer  work experience  celebrating age  Déda Theatre  NCCA  Competition  artcore,   National Youth Circus Event  Autumn  student, work experience   Fifties  training  Music  Choice  group  social dancing,   books  development  Sleep  Website  dance, dancers, Joss Arnott, Derby, Déda, Triple Bill   event  story  Déda Board  acting  partner  QUAD  food  Night at the Theatre,  Ben Spiller  marketing  business  fun  Déda,   wedding  Artists  Building work  Circa Tsuica  meeting  Stephen Munn  September  Social  Southbank  jive    student  University  University of Derby  Graphic Design  club  Udance  Stress  diversity  interview  50s  young people  Candoco  Derby University  Plymouth  family  socialise  National Centre for Circus Arts  Performace  expansion  Jasmin Vardimon  Shows  Journalism  words  India Festival  facilities  Leah   BA Dance  Midlands  ballroom  veganism, acro, nikki&jd, dance, Déda, Derby  review  AGM  hubbub  apprentice