ON THE BLOG: 7 questions about Let's Dance

YDance is one of four partner organisations involved in Let’s Dance: a community dance project funded by Creative Europe's Cooperation Projects. The other partners are the AAIICC (Andalusian Cultural Agency), Spain; DeLoopers Dance (Germany); and Keunstwerk (Netherlands).

Hear from Carolyn Lappin, YDance Executive Director about what it's really like to be involved in a Cooperation Project. 

Tell us a bit about Let’s Dance

"Let’s Dance is based on themes of migration, and aims to encourage the mobility of young dancers, with and without disabilities, internationally as well as building capacity in community dance in each participating country."

“The experience for the young dancers is greatly enhanced by the opportunity to connect and work with their peers in other European countries.”

"The programme includes:

  • Artistic creation labs: Inclusive creative workshops in each country for participants with and without a disability. Each group worked on the same theme of migration, and performed their own dance pieces in their home nations.
  • Public seminars: Presentations and networking with speakers and experts in every participant institution. 
  • Online masterclasses: One from each of the participants’ institutions.
  • Exchange programme:  Dancers from the creative workshop group in each country came together to create a European performance company. The final performance piece was performed in Granada, Spain.
  • Audience education and participation development programme
  • Website: YDance was responsible for the creation of the project website 
  • As the Scottish creative lab group, YDance established a new inclusive youth dance company – Horizons – for young people with and without disabilities. Horizons meets monthly and is based at Tramway in Glasgow." 

How did you find the process of finding and working with partners?

"As we were approached by one of the other partners directly and asked to join an existing grouping, we did not really go through any process of finding partners.

"The process of working together was helped enormously by the steering group meetings, which were built into the project plan, giving the different partners a chance to meet in person to plan the programme and address directly any issues which arose."

What do you think made your application successful?

“We had a mix of partners who had previously worked together and two organisations new to the project, which brought a strong foundation to our plans and fresh ideas. The application also addressed a range of outcomes through the artistic programme, including developing transferable skills for young people with and without disabilities, opening up new horizons for young people to work together across national borders, an audience development strand in each country and a lasting legacy in the form of online masterclasses, a documentary film and an e-book.”

What impact has Creative Europe support made on your project?

“Without the support from Creative Europe the Let’s Dance project would not have been possible at all.”

“Without the support from Creative Europe the Let’s Dance project would not have been possible at all. There are very few funding sources for international work with young people, and while YDance can run an inclusive youth dance group in Scotland, the experience for the young dancers is greatly enhanced by the opportunity to connect and work with their peers in other European countries. “

Any surprises?

"We have been delighted (although not really surprised) by the way in which the young dancers from four different countries and traditions came together and bonded so easily and quickly. Despite speaking a variety of languages (including Frisian for some of the Dutch participants) dance as a common passion brought the group together very quickly and the final performance in Granada was a joy to watch."

How did you find the process of working with Creative Europe Desk UK? 

"Always positive and supportive. As we were not the lead partner we did not work with Creative Europe Desk UK on the application, but after the project was awarded funding we contacted Kate Deans in Edinburgh

"Creative Europe Desk UK has been very supportive with advice on implementing our programme and in connecting us with other beneficiaries and people who are intending to apply. 

"There is a lot of help available from the Creative Europe Desk so just ask."

"Creative Europe Desk UK has been particularly helpful in raising the profile of our Let’s Dance project, featuring it on their own website and publicising it more widely, reaching people we would not reach ourselves." 

What advice would you give to potential applicants of Creative Europe?

"Despite the fact that the application process looks pretty daunting – just go for it! Once the legal elements are completed the application is quite clear, and there is a lot of help available from the Creative Europe Desk so just ask.

"I would also recommend that if at all possible you meet with your potential partners in advance of making an application. Although email conversations are good, mutual misunderstandings are much easier to address face to face – by Skype if not in person. That way all the partners have the opportunity to contribute to the development of the programme and bring their own expertise to the application."

Images from the Let's Dance Exhibition Launch. Credit: The Camera Quines