Created in 2014, Carpe Diem Emmie is a Midlands based Lifestyle, Theatre and Travel blog. Ran by Emmie, a 28 year old woman based in rural Leicestershire.

In the day Emmie works in a primary school where she is passionate about inclusion and mental health. In the evening she escapes to the cultural world.

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Salford UDance 2016.

Pier 8, The Quays, Salford M50 3AZ, United Kingdom

Without a shadow of a doubt UDance is one of my favourite weekends of the year.

In a time where there is lack of support for dance from our government and in parts of our society, UDance is a time when we unite and celebrate all what dance is. The young people that participate in UDance come from 20 different counties across the UK showing why it’s important to be available in every corner of our country and a show a stance of unity towards it. 

As part of my National Ambassador role for One Dance UK these last 12 months I successfully applied to support the event again in Salford, Manchester between the 8-10 July.

The event gives the participants opportunity to do workshops, watch performances from some of the UK’s top youth dance companies, collaborate as well as network with companies from across the country and most importantly to dance.  

It was great to work alongside some of my other Dance Ambassadors during the weekend, having the opportunity to also network with likeminded individuals and inspire one another to pursue what matters to us. We came from all parts of the UK with different perspectives but a shared love of Dance. It was also awesome to reconnect with Brona from Northern Ireland with who I hung out with at last year's UDance and she brought along her friend Zoe which had us all in stitches over the duration of the weekend. 

This year my role was very different to the one I had when I volunteered for the same event in Plymouth last July. I was offered the opportunity to work backstage at The Lowry which was the host for all of the evening performances for the duration of the weekend which I obviously grabbed with both hands.

The atmosphere definitely felt a lot different for me with UDance this year, there was a lack of buzz and excitement for me that UDance in Plymouth had bags of. I don’t know whether this was because of having a different role this year or because it was in a different location, however I didn’t allow it to dampen the fact I got to see some incredible young people dance on the stage with so much passion and energy you wanted to join in with them.

We kicked off the festival with an outdoor performance outside of the Imperial War Museum North from Folkdance Remixed whose combination of traditional Folk Dance movement and Hip Hop style completely blew me away and had everybody clapping and tapping their feet along with the dancers. The Friday evening performances we were introduced to The Lowry CAT Scheme dancers. The CAT Schemes are an awesome part time, pre-vocational course that provides young people to high quality training and nurturing in dance who wish to progress toward full time training. It's something I totally wish I had access to when I was growing up and would definitely tell young people to do if they have a passion for dance. Then there was a performance from the National Youth Dance Company (NYDC) who since opening in 2012 have seen 120 people young their company from 48 different towns and cities in England. These two performances saw us see some incredible technique and energy from some of the UK's most inspiring young performers. 

I was offered the opportunity to welcome the performances for both days at The Lowry. This experience was well and truly terrifying for me, but I took to it and hopefully did a good job. It was kinda cool to introduce the Saturday performances alongside Richard Alston, a pretty big name in the world of Dance. I also introduced the evening alongside Ed from Wheelfever Projects, whose company has completed re-enhanced the statement that anybody can dance. On Sunday I introduced the performances with a young guy from Preston Youth Dance who had bags of energy and completely put me at ease when being asked to welcome the performances only 10 minutes before the show started.

We often forget the team behind the scenes who work ridiculously hard to ensure that the performance runs as smoothly and safe as possible! I was delighted to be working alongside a group of people who were hardworking and helpful in working with the 23 Dance Companies that passed through our stage wings over the two evenings. 

I was as expected very exhausted and full of inspiration for my own career after the end of another UDance. It definitely reminded me of the passion I had for the Dance sector and how I could focus on contributing to it more. It's got me wanting to apply for positions near me again and for doubt to stop kicking in.

Sadly next year I won’t be joining UDance as an Dance Ambassador as I’m too old for the programme now (which absolutely sucks by the way!) but it’s completely inspired me to talk about this programme other young people and encourage them to hopefully apply to be a Dance Ambassador.

One Dance UK have been so supportive towards me over the past couple of years, allowing me to take one bad experience of working with an organisation and turning it into a positive one which a working relationship that I hope continues past the point of no longer being a Dance Ambassador. 

I'm so happy that UDance 2017 will be happening in Birmingham! It's really quite close to me and I know that from experience of knowing the team, Dance XChange will do an incredible job. I really hope that I can contribute to next year's UDance 2017 one way or another because as firstly mentioned it's my favourite event of the year and it's important that people like myself continue to help talk about why it's important and hopefully help in attracting new audiences to see the incredible stuff that's happening out in the UK for young people in Dance.

Thanks again One Dance UK, The Lowry and North West Dance for a great UDance 2016!


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