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Burnham steps up youth dance support by £5.5m

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Culture secretary Andy Burnham has announced a £5.5 million government boost for youth dance, in a bid to raise the profile of the sector and make the art form accessible to all children.

Funded through the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the initiative will include the development of a national youth dance strategy across both school and youth dance sectors, undertaken by Youth Dance England.

Six new Centres of Advanced Training will be established between now and 2011, which will train and support around 1,500 more young people wanting to progress in the dance world.

Meanwhile, the DCMS and the Department of Children, Schools and Families will jointly lead a Dance Review Programme Board. The first body of its kind, it will comprise of stakeholders, agencies, funders and young dancers.

The announcement follows the release of a report on youth dance, undertaken by Royal Opera House chief executive Tony Hall. The document recommends that dance be given more prominence in the National Curriculum, the aim to get a dance teacher in every secondary school and the need for a national strategy for dance. It also calls for regional dance networks to be set up and for more diversity and inclusion in the sector, as well as schemes to nurture talented children.

For more on this story, see this week’s edition of The Stage.

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