MORE than 600 children and young people from schools, colleges and community groups in York and surrounding areas will be taking to the stage.

The annual Yorkshire Schools Dance Festival is set to make a return this month with a total of 1,200 dancers from 55 schools, colleges and community groups across Yorkshire will be taking part. The Festival will be staged over two weekends - November 13 and 14 and November 20 and 21 at Central Hall at the University of York.

The event was first staged as the ‘York Schools Dance Festival' in 1999 and was originally managed by City of York Council. Colin Jackson, Festival Producer, took it over in 2012 and its grown significantly to extend across the region - 114 schools and over 7000 children and young people have taken part in the past 9 years.

Colin said: “We always wanted to put York on the map for youth dance.

“We’re delighted to see the spread of schools from across the region increase across each year but we’re always pleased that local schools continue their relationship with the event. It’s become a firm fixture on their calendars."

This will be St Wilfrid’s RC School’s sixth appearance at the event.

Abigail Savage, Key Stage 2 Coordinator and senior leader, said: “The children are so excited to take part - the enthusiasm and creativity is infectious. We absolutely love the Dance Festival as it provides such unique opportunities that the children don't get anywhere else. It builds confidence, allows children to work together and gives them an experience they will never forget.”

A York school that’s new to the Festival this year is Carr Junior School.

Tom Maskell, Year 5 teacher said: “We have heard wonderful things about previous years and just couldn't miss out any longer. The pupils are thoroughly enjoying creating the dance piece to showcase at the event.”

The schools will be creating dance performances in response to the Rugby League World Cup theme, ‘The Power of Together’. For the first time the men’s, women’s and wheelchair games will come together. The partnership has been made possible by Make it York and City of York Council.

Colin said: “We’re delighted to be supporting the Rugby League World Cup.

“We’re also delighted that Rob Burrow has recorded a special video to introduce the Festival. Funds will be raised for The Rob Burrow Centre for Motor Neurone Disease Appeal. There’ll also be the opportunity to win tickets for matches that are being played at the York Community Stadium in October and November 2022."

For more information on festival performances go to - tickets are £7 for adults and £6 for children (16 and under).

There will be two performances on each day (12pm and 5.30pm).