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Scottish Ballet Youth Exchange collaborates with Move|NYC|

This summer the Scottish Ballet Youth Exchange consisting of 8 Youth Exchange Dancers, spent an exciting week in New York collaborating with our Exchange partners, MOVE|NYC|. Founded in 2015, MOVE|NYC| is a multi-pillared New York City based arts and social justice organization whose mission is to cultivate greater diversity and equity within the dance profession and beyond. Cat, MOVE|NYC| Young Professional tells us about her experience of the collaboration and how it impacted her.

After finding out about the MOVE|NYC| and Scottish Ballet Youth Exchange (SBYE) collaboration in November 2021, anticipation built in the months that followed. I excitedly tried to imagine what this unique opportunity might look like and looked forward to travelling overseas to the UK.

In June 2022, members of both MOVE|NYC| and SBYE stood in the heat outside of Gibney 280 Broadway, awaiting the building to open and the Exchange’s beginning. Naturally, we weren’t all best friends immediately. However, there was an instant connection on a more unconventional level: our shared work ethic and love of dance made dancing together natural as we built a new repertory. I realised how our dedication to dance created a truly unspoken bond.

Our shared work ethic and love of dance made dancing together natural as we built a new repertory.

The UK travel portion of the Exchange was vibrant and eye-opening! Rehearsing with the Scottish members in their country and studios, suddenly immersed us in their lives and culture. This deepened our understanding of each other’s roots. We performed together in the Scottish Ballet studio sharing, and then at UDance, a festival for young dancers located in Birmingham, UK. There was a sense of mutual fulfilment amongst us when the work we’d been developing first in New York, and then in Scotland, exploded onstage! We also had the privilege of participating in a Scottish Ballet company class, where I found myself in awe of the technical prowess of the dancers. We developed relationships with the Scottish Ballet Youth Exchange staff, and even got to meet and converse with company members, teachers, and Artistic Director. It was great to know that we’ve cultivated a forever connection with Scottish Ballet, and have somewhere we could revisit upon finding ourselves dancing in the UK again.

Rehearsing with the Scottish members in their country and studios, suddenly immersed us in their lives and culture.

An extremely memorable moment was on the second day of UDANCE Festival ’22 (organised by One Dance UK) during the last performance of “The Bow Dance”, a celebratory group dance we do at MOVE|NYC|, which we first taught the Scottish members in New York. It was beautiful to see the social aspect of the dance become increasingly genuine as we grew closer to them. The final performance was its incomparable peak – the energy was contagious and exhilarating. I felt the dance and its development were symbolic of the Exchange as a whole – dancing together with supportive energy as a company and more importantly, as friends.

Applying for the Youth Exchange is more than ideal if you’re considering a career in dance. It provides an advantage of becoming familiar with aspects of professional life. It felt like a window into touring with a company – traveling to new places for short periods of time with your company, challenging yourself daily to adjust to living with such a diverse mix of personalities. The trip was preparation for the independence, responsibility, and collaboration that professional environments ask of you. My major takeaway from the Exchange is that a common passion for an art form truly ties people together, regardless of their background.

The trip was preparation for the independence, responsibility, and collaboration that professional environments ask of you.

Dancers standing with arms held up

About Scottish Ballet Youth Exchange

SB’s Youth Exchange is an ambitious dance programme for young dancers aged 14-24.

This programme aims to prepare young dancers for a career in the dance industry and offers the chance to meet dancers from all over the world whilst travelling and working together as a company.

Youth Exchange