FROM ballet to Bollywood, contemporary to classical – all genres of dance took centre stage at the Lowry Theatre in the nation’s youth dance festival.

Over 400 dancers, from companies spanning the country, travelled to Salford to perform in the U.Dance Festival 2016.

Taking place across the weekend, the festival was jam-packed with workshops and performances, challenging participants to really step out of their comfort zone to learn new and exciting styles.

Not only showcasing the best of youth dance in the UK, the performers also got the time to network with fellow dancers and industry professionals.

Well-established youth company Flexus performed a short section of ‘Whilst We’re Here, Let’s Dance’ during the Sunday showcase.

The West Midlands group flexed their muscles in an outstanding performance, choreographed by founder and director of the company, Katy Dawson.

By collaborating dance and theatre, the group really created a dramatic and intensive performance.

One of the performers remarked: “The whole weekend has been amazing!

“I have learnt so many new styles of dance that I hadn’t ever thought I would learn.

“I have also made friends for life here, getting contacts from other companies is a great way to explore your opportunities.”

Momentum returned to the festival for its eighth appearance in an emotional piece called ‘Under My Skin’.

This tear-jerker explored the highs and lows of relationships, truly getting under the skin of those watching this fluid and beautiful work.

A sense of amazement tingled the air, with the audience feeling touched by the emotional connection made with the dancers.

Exploring different works and sharing individual styles, the constant feeling throughout the entire festival was the sheer level of talent and commitment displayed by each and every performing, making the showcase a joy to watch.

There is no doubt that many of these young dancers will return to The Lowry, and other theatres around the country, as professionals in years to come.

By Jessica Fox

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