Formed in 2014, Gradient Dance Company is an advanced provision for young adults’ aged 19+, many of whom are DUY’s alumni and/or have completed dance/performing arts degrees. Some attend sessions as a passion rather than a professional development opportunity and we attach value to supporting lifelong participation by young adults from diverse backgrounds. However, for most the company represents a unique local opportunity as they seek the next stage in their creative careers.
Gradient is integral to DUY’s aspiration to retain new and diverse dance talent in Yorkshire, be this young professionals who originally trained with us (many are the first in their family to have entered higher education) or undergraduates/graduates who have experienced DUY’s methodology through our HE and FE teaching. Gradient provides key training, performance and professional development opportunities for young dancers at a critical juncture in their professional lives i.e. a time when those from more disadvantaged backgrounds in particular, are more likely to drop out of the creative sector.
“I was the first in my family to go to University and I am probably the first in my whole area to be a professional dancer. The first year after uni has been really daunting: the daily structure is gone and I have to motivate myself to keep training, look for auditions, explore how I am going to launch myself as a dance professional back here in Yorkshire. Gradient keeps me grounded: I am surrounded by other people in the same boat and have the chance to discuss opportunities and challenges with experienced professionals.
It’s also a way to pay back some of what I got out of dance. There is no doubt in my mind that things would have panned out very differently for me if it hadn’t been for dance. Most people who knew me would have predicted a custodial rather than a degree. Through Gradient I have had the opportunity to lead some sessions with the other performance companies, to work with young dancers in rehearsal for performance events and just show what can be achieved through hard work and dedication. I do know what it’s like for them- I know exactly. But I can also show how worthwhile it is to stay focussed”.
Gradient Performance Company Member (2017)