Reflections on the Youth Steering Group Trip to Bushmills by Liberty Rose

I am an older member of DU Dance NI’s Youth Steering Group. I am 24-year-old contemporary dance student at the Irish World Academy in Limerick. I love to dance with people of all ages and abilities. For me, dance has always been an avenue for me to express myself and communicate with the world around me. I believe everyone can dance and has their own unique and beautiful way of moving. I am also passionate about the environment, preserving natural habitats and the species native to these places, especially Irish woodlands. This is what drew me specifically to this environmental dance project.

I recently joined DU Dance’s Cultural Bridge Project on a trip to Leipzig to create a series of short dance films. This is how I became introduced to DU Dance NI and the creative work that they do! (On the Cultural Bridge Project some members of Sutemos, alongside members of Beyond Skin, and a young environmentalist group Die Villa (from Leipzig), spent 10 days in Leipzig, Germany, learning about each other’s cultures, and creating a series of short dance films on the theme of climate change.)

The Youth Steering Group is a place for members from different dance groups of DU Dance NI to meet, connect and share. Members are both female and male, and range in age between 13 to 24 years old. Being a part of the Youth Steering Group involves regular meetings, where we get to discuss the happenings of DU Dance and voice our own ideas and feedback. It allows young people from within the organization to have a say in the way their dance groups are run.

Being a part of the Youth Steering Group has given me an opportunity to connect and dance with some other younger members of DU Dance. I got to hear about their dance experiences and to hear their ideas for future projects.

With this current environmental project, our hope is to share our views about the environment via social media. We want to focus on our personal passion for the environment, and creative ways to spread awareness about the Climate Crisis.

Last month, Mags and a group of eight dancers, including myself, travelled together to Bushmills Youth Hostel to work on this environmental project. We got to meet with the DU Dance’s Marketing Co-ordinator who gave us some helpful information about setting up social media pages, and the most effective way to reach different audiences who the project might appeal to. Personally, I found this discussion very insightful and helped to clarify many unknowns for me when creating dance specifically for social media.

We also spent some time discussing our own ideas, brainstorming and making story boards. We decided to focus on our favourite places in nature, that we have grown up with and love. These are environments that are local to us, that we don’t want to lose because of climate change.

As well as fine-tuning our ideas, we had the chance to explore the beautiful environment around Bushmills. On the first day we went to the beach and found ways to interact with the nature through movement and dance. Some of the younger boys began to run and roll down the sand dunes. After a few minutes, the whole group was jumping and rolling with them. I don’t think I would have thought to do this if I was on my own! To me, this demonstrates the benefit of working with a mixed age group. The younger dancers were more inclined to be playful, and encouraged the older ones to do the same. We had a lot of fun and got some great ideas for our final project.

In the evening we worked some more on our social media pages. We also played some boardgames. There was a lot of laughter and silliness, and we all got to know each other a bit better.

The next day we warmed up together, sharing movements and exercises we liked with the group. We worked in teams to create movement phrases around the theme of the four elements: fire, water, air and earth. We went out to Giant’s Causeway to take some footage of the landscape and of us dancing in different locations.

During the two days, I felt that I got to know the rest of the group very well. I felt very inspired by their enthusiasm, creativity, and playfulness. I am excited for the next stage in our project development, and getting to meet with this lively group again! Thank you again Mags and DU Dance for making this opportunity possible.

Last weekend, the Youth Steering Group came together for a residential on the north coast.

The backdrop proved inspiring for the group who have started to film their environment crisis project.  They also spent time brainstorming how best to share what this group is all about with different audiences and what tools and resources they might need.  We are looking forward to hearing more.


On January 3rd, our Youth Steering Group met for their first quarterly meeting of 2023. In the session, they reviewed what worked well in 2022 and what they will take forward into the new year.  Plans are in place for a future residential trip in February half-term, filming the creative work we’ve been preparing on the Environment Crisis and how to make this webpage work harder.  Have a read of the minutes and watch this space!

Steering Group Meeting Minutes January 2023

The Youth Steering Group came together in person at The MAC on 19th September and welcomed new members representing Belfast Boys – Archie, Oisin, Leo, Noah & Rory.

The group shared information about what they had all been focusing on in their sessions, and had a lively and interesting discussion on current issues.

Alternative Energies spoke about “exciting plans to start a new intergenerational group in Ballycastle”.

Belfast Boys said they were keen to “select their own music playlists for sessions and that they had a new member”.

Sutemos reported that “the move to leisure centre was good, they were looking forward to it and it allowed the older group to meet at the later time.”

With regard to future company projects the group members are to be involved in the Young Carers end of project Jamboree and peer-to-peer evaluation.

During discussions on the new Environment Project the group were clear that they want to be involved in more direct awareness raising, campaigning and practical action.  They are keen to use nature, the beaches and music to convey how they feel and to call out those adults in positions of power who don’t act.

Hiya, welcome back to the DU dance (NI) steering group blog! We thought we could share what we’ve been getting up to during this lockdown from hobbies, learning new skills, spending time with family and keeping in touch with other friends and loved ones and of course, dancing have all been so important for us during this lockdown.

I think everyone has been finding this lockdown a little more difficult than the previous for various reasons, however sharing what has been bringing us joy may help inspire and motivate anyone who is struggling to get that motivation and may give you a few ideas of new things you could try to bring you joy and keep you occupied during this lockdown.

As you can see from the photos below, we’ve enjoyed learning new and working on old hobbies such as baking, embroidery, sewing, painting and reading.

We’ve also been trying to look after our physical health by going on walks, getting fresh air and dancing on zoom classes and learning dances from TikTok and Youtube, I have even made a DIY barbell using concrete and a steel bar as the gyms are shut! Looking after our physical health and getting up and moving has also helped our mental health. Looking after our mental health has been just as important which is why some of us have been meditating, doing yoga, working on mindfulness and gratitude as well as incorporating more self-care into our lives such as warm baths and skincare routines, one of our steering group members has also gotten into tarot card reading which has helped her with guidance and advice for situations, bringing her peace of mind.

Staying in touch with loved ones over facetime, text, calls as well as spending time with those in our house (including our furry friends) has also been so important for our mental health.

These are just a few examples of how the steering group have been keeping busy and spending our time over lockdown.

Big congratulations to our newest Young Ambassadors Anastazja Mikczarek and Alisha Platt! Anastazja and Alisha will be joining Rebecca in the role.

Congratulations as well to Amy McCrellis and Keila Platt who join the Youth Steering Group!

Welcome to your new roles, everyone!

Some of our Steering Group members got creative on Tik Tok after our January meeting. Check it out here:

And keep an eye on DU Dance (NI) social media for some online challenges…

Day of Dance 2019

Thanks and Congratulations!

Well done to all members of the Steering Group for their active role in planning the Day of Dance and for all their leadership and hard work.

The day itself was a big hit!

What’s next?

With the Day of Dance marking the end of another term – and another year – it’s never too early to start thinking about how we can make 2020 even bigger and better! Our next meeting will be in the new year when we can discuss some residentials we have planned for you.

Hiya, welcome back to the DU Dance (NI) steering group blog! I’m a part of the company’s youth engagement project Alternative Energies and have been for six years. Within these six years I have been given so many amazing opportunities that helped me grow as a dancer as well as a person.

Every year we get multiple chances a year to perform, from the yearly Unanimous platform that gives dancers from all over the country the chance to showcase their work to other events and DU Dance projects like Fallen, BelFest and culture night where we get to show what we’ve been working on as well as meet people from different cultures and backgrounds that we normally wouldn’t have met.

Over a year ago I was given the opportunity to volunteer at the Alternatives which is the younger group. Helping with the little ones has taught me independence and responsibility and its been a lot of fun and very rewarding to work with them.

I was also given the opportunity to join the steering group four years ago. In the steering group we give feedback and suggest ideas for the company and events that we think would be beneficial for the groups. Being in the steering group has improved my confidence in meeting new people, voicing my opinions and public speaking which are now such important skills in other aspects of my life. From the steering group I was then given the opportunity to be youth ambassador for DU Dance (NI) earlier in the year where I am excited to be more involved in the company.

I have been given other opportunities such as Alternative Energies ‘Not Alone’ film where I got experience with filming, but we also got to discuss topical subjects in our lives, in this case it was bullying and inclusivity.

Over these six years I have really grown into the person I am today, thanks to all of these opportunities; I’ve had a lot of fun along the way and I hope to be involved with the company for a long time.

– Rebecca, DU Dance (NI) Young Ambassador

Public consultation now open
Deadline to have your say: 4pm, Friday 22 March 2019
Draft Strategic Framework for the Development of the Arts, 2019-2024 – Read the Young People’s Version here

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland (ACNI) has released its five-year plan for developing the arts over the next five years and there is a chance to have your say. Click here to read the Young People’s Version and let the ACNI know what you think by:

– Emailing
Taking part in the Facebook discussion
– Tweeting @ArtsCouncilNI

You have until Friday 22 March to get your voice heard.