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Improving the activity levels for girls in Scotland through dance

Sarah Smith, YDance Active Project Director, YDance Active

Sport and physical activity
Dance is key to enhancing the activity levels and confidence of young women says YDance Active Project Director Sarah Smith

The YDance Active project is part of Active Girls, a Scottish Government funded programme. The YDance Active project is managed by sportscotland and delivered in partnership with YDance, Youth Scotland and The Youth Sport Trust.

The programme aims to increase teenage girls’ participation in dance and motivation through physical activity. We use dance to engage young women’s interests in order to build self-confidence and activity levels.

Every local authority in Scotland has been offered the opportunity to be part of the YDance Active programme with 27 choosing to participate in either one or both of the strands offered.

YDance consists of two strands - the Youth Training Programme for teenage girls and the Workforce Development Programme for Teachers, Volunteers and Active Schools Coordinators.

YDance Active has always had an aim that each participating secondary school will have at least one qualified Dance Leader to organise the dance activity available to girls in their school and wider community.

Dance Leaders can do this by setting up a supervised after-school/lunchtime club in their own school, another school within the locale or assisting a current provider of dance within the area by offering support with recruitment and delivery. Those teachers/volunteers and Active Schools Coordinators who attend Career-long Professional Learning (CPD) are given advice on how best to support their dance leaders to do this.

Both dance leaders and CPD-trained staff are then given access to our online digital resource to provide them with ongoing support after their training. This provides them with ideas for lesson plans, access to step-by-step ‘how to’ videos of different warm ups and dance styles and the history behind them.

As a celebration for our 1550 qualified Dance Leaders we have organised an event called LeaderFest 2015 taking place at Edinburgh College on Saturday 21 March 2015. This will be a full day event bringing Leaders from across Scotland together to take part in workshops, try out new dance styles and watch inspiring performances.

We have also arranged a Sports Leaders UK award ceremony to recognise those leaders who have shown outstanding commitment.