Unanimous Returned To The Stage

Ten youth dance groups from across the island of Ireland came together and returned to the stage at The MAC, Belfast, on Sunday 24th April for our 10th annual youth dance platform, Unanimous. We welcomed Belfast Boys, Ohr Dance Company (Laois), Rachael Kealey Dance Academy (Derry/L’derry) and Youth Action’s Rainbow Factory (Belfast) for the first time and regular participants Connect Youth Dance (Enniskillen), Dublin Youth Dance Company, FYI Dance (Wicklow), Laois Youth Dance Ensemble, Limerick Youth Dance Company and Sutemos (Dungannon) who were returning to the event after the break.

The excitement at returning to live performance (Unanimous was postponed twice due to the COVID-19 pandemic) was very apparent with an electric atmosphere throughout the day. The young people took rigorous technical rehearsals in their stride, stopped for regular re-fuels in the green room, caught up with old friends and even managed a bit of sightseeing in the city centre!

As with previous Unanimous showcase events, the evening performance was a powerful and energetic showcase of work and the audience showed their appreciation throughout and in the feedback received. One audience member remarked, “I enjoyed Unanimous tonight because there were some great dance performances but even more because it showcased the value and joy of young people coming together to express themselves through art and movement. Bravo to all!”

Over the years, the Unanimous platform has continued to expand and help young people from the ages of 12-24 years from all over the island to get together in a professional theatre, develop skills, share their experiences and form new connections. Rachel Sheil, Artistic Director at Limerick Youth Dance Company said of this opportunity to get together, “Thank you so much for having us again and here’s to many more festivals together.”

The diversity of the line-up reaffirms DU Dance (NI)’s commitment to fostering dance talent and providing a supportive professional environment for dancers of all backgrounds. Caoileann Curry-Thompson, Acting Head of Drama and Dance, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented, “There was a great range of groups and styles and levels of dance. And the atmosphere was so positive and energising. I was thinking how remarkable it would have been when I was their age to perform in an event like that in a venue like the MAC. That kind of experience must have such a lasting impact on the young people.”

See below for a taster of the wonderful performances. Many more photos to come!

With thanks & credit to Jim Corr for the event photography.