A CHANCE TO DANCEDanceLife speaks with the Co-Director of Urban Dance Centre Julie Williamson on their community outreach program…
How did you come up with the concept for ‘Chance to Dance’?
“I was very keen to start a program whereby we could give something back to our local community. UDC offers classes to such a variety of demographics from young children to professional dancers that we wanted to offer a class to youth who might want to experience dance but due to circumstances wouldn’t have the opportunity. I initially tried a few avenues but struggled to take the program any further, however I then had a call from Heather Coull at South Sydney Youth Services who was looking at giving her young people something different. We got together for a few meetings and came up with ‘Chance to Dance’.”
Why do you think it’s important for professionals in the industry to give back to the local community?
“We all spend our time worrying about the right line, the right dynamics, the right technique, the right sense of performance and don’t get me wrong these factors are vital to the professional dancer, but sometimes we need to step back and look at what we do and why we do it. The bottom line is that we love all things about dance here at UDC and if we get to share this love with more people it makes UDC an even more exciting place; this is a very rewarding experience. I think it’s also really important for our regular dancers here to see a wider vision of our local community.”
How can individuals or companies become involved in the ‘Chance to Dance’ program or show their support?
“Currently UDC fully funds the class once a week with Michael ‘Sisqo’ Francisco, however we would love to expand the program. I have met with Glebe Youth Services and the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence and both are keen to have their young people involved. The program started with just 3 girls and now we have about 15; our dream being to one day take some of them through our full-time Certificate IV in Performing Arts Course and on to a career in dance. Already they have performed at a UDC event, the Family Culture Day in Redfern and on the Barefoot Rugby League Show. We would love for these young people to have their own t-shirts and tracksuits as it would give them a sense of identity. We would also love to run a holiday program for them and introduce more styles of dance. Any company or individual who would like to become involved will receive such satisfaction for their contribution.”