Presented by One Dance UK, the national body for dance, U.Dance is the country’s biggest youth dance celebration. With 48 workshops and six performances, the event offers young dancers from across the country the opportunity to be inspired and learn from each other through a love of dance, and perform to an audience of hundreds of people in one of the finest theatres for dance in the UK. 

The line-up includes three young dance groups from The North West; Preston Youth Dance Company, Lancaster-based Ludus Youth Dance Company and Penrith-based Eden Youth Dance Company.

Andrew Hurst, Chief Executive of One Dance UK, said: “With such wonderful spaces for performance, The Lowry is the perfect venue for this year’s festival. U.Dance will literally be taking over every corner of The Lowry with dance. There will be performances in the Lyric theatres, in the foyer spaces and even outside on The Lowry plaza and around the waterways. The festival celebrates the strength of youth dance in this country today and is an opportunity to see some of the UK’s most exciting emerging young talent. We hope people in the North West will support the event and join us at The Lowry to enjoy a performance.”

Each year, the U.Dance national festival showcases a selection of the very best youth dance companies from across the country. The 19 youth dance groups taking part in this year’s event represent a broad spectrum of dance styles. With South Asian dance from Kalanikethan (Newcastle), hip-hop inspired dance from Impact Youth (London) and contemporary dance from Phoenix Youth Academy (Leeds), there’s an interesting mix to be enjoyed in a packed weekend programme. Audiences can also watch the National Youth Dance Companies of England and Scotland, and performances from inclusive groups, following a record number of applicants this year.

Performance programme highlights that the public can enjoy include:

Friday 8 July, 7:30pm, Lyric Theatre

U.Dance 2016 Opening Night

The Lowry Centre for Advanced Training in Dance and The National Youth Dance Company of England share the bill for a very special evening presenting new full length works created in collaboration with leading UK choreographers.

Tickets: £12

Saturday 9 July, from 6pm


The Lowry’s Youth Dance Company explores the theme of ‘home’ through movement as they present a new work around The Lowry building. Taking inspiration from the famous music scene of Salford and Manchester, this work is an uplifting piece capturing the passion found at the heart of all the youth company’s work. FREE event.

Saturday 9 July, from 6pm

Dance on Water

20 dancers from Salford, Manchester and Birmingham present a brand new piece of dance developed from an 80 mile, week-long journey exploring the canals and waterways between Birmingham and Salford. Developed with professional dancers from Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures, this unique piece of dance will be showcased around The Lowry building. Presented by the Canal & River Trust in partnership with The Lowry, New Adventures & Re:Bourne and the Birmingham Hippodrome. FREE event.

Saturday 9 July, 7:30pm, Lyric Theatre

U.Dance 2016 Evening Performance

An exciting line-up featuring 12 youth dance groups from across the country. This collection of short and inspiring works features South Asian dance from the North East’s Kalanikethan youth dance company, street and hip-hop by Impact Youth, London, and the brilliant Wheelfever Projects, a youth dance company based in Plymouth for young people with disabilities. Ludus, Lancashire’s flagship youth dance company, also performs a specially created piece of work. Tickets: £12.

Sunday 10 July, from 3:45pm


In a year which has seen Astronaut Tim Peake undertake the first official British Spacewalk, and Manchester become this year’s European City of Science, six Greater Manchester groups present a new dance work performed around The Lowry building and inspired by the theme of SPACE. Presented by Dance Manchester in partnership with The Lowry, The Fascinate Hub of the University of Manchester. FREE event.


Sunday 10 July, 5pm, Lyric Theatre

U.Dance 2016 Evening Performance

With ballet from Nottingham’s Gedling School, street dance from Dance JAM, Sunderland, and contemporary from Phoenix Youth Dance in Leeds, this promises to be a stunning final performance to the festival weekend. In total, nine youth groups will perform in a collection of short and vibrant dance pieces. Tickets: £12.


Along with performances, the hundreds of young dancers at the festival will also take part in careers workshops and dance masterclasses with leading industry professionals including Alexander Whitley, Imani Jendai, and a team from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Dance and Music.


In conjunction with this year’s U.Dance, an exhibition celebrating the contribution of dance of the African Diaspora in the UK will be featured. Exploring themes from the early pioneers of musicals to the cross-cultural influences of Africa, America and the Caribbean, Moments… Black Dance in Britain 1930s to 1990s celebrates some of the achievements and contributions to British theatrical dance today. Exhibited in The Lowry Gallery, the exhibition is free to attend, showing 25 June to 04 September.


Julia Fawcett OBE, Chief Executive of The Lowry, said: “The Lowry is very proud to be hosting the UK’s national youth dance festival, an integral event in the UK’s dance calendar, which reaffirms our reputation as the home of dance in the North West. We are delighted to be partnering with One Dance UK, whose commitment to creating a brighter future for dance in the UK mirrors the aims of our extensive programme of work to nurture young dance talent in the North West.”



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