Nubrico Youth Dance at the 2006 Australian Youth Dance Festival

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Rubicon Dance is the community dance development organisation for the city of Cardiff and Newport, and we are based in Adamsdown in Cardiff. Our building-based program consists of young dancer programs for people aged between 13 and 18 years, a wide and varied adult dance program, and disability, elderly, children's sessions and boys dance groups. We also run a preliminary dance training course for those wishing to spend a year dancing at Rubicon. Alongside Swindon Dance, Cheshire Dance and Ludus Dance, we are one of the oldest community dance organisations in the UK, having been established in 1976. In 2006—our thirtieth year—our attendance figures for 2005 – 2006 were 84,000!

Nubrico performing at the 2006 AYDF.Nubrico Youth Dance Company performing at the 2006 Australian Youth Dance Festival in Horsham, Victoria. Photo: Buffy Harrison.

Our dance development program takes place across Cardiff and also in our neighbouring smaller city Newport, and includes an extensive workshop program for all age groups and abilities. Nubrico is our flagship youth dance group for young people aged between 16 and18 years. There is also a Young Nubrico for young people aged 12 to 15 years,  and a Junior Nubrico for children aged 7 to 11 years, as well as a flagship dance group for boys aged 12 to 16 years. Nubrico sets the standard for the other youth dance groups at Rubcion (and there are many!), and dancers are invited to join because they are good attenders, are reliable, have excellent energy, have strong dance skills, are adaptable and are able to work well with others. 

I was always very keen for Nubrico to attend the Australian Youth Dance Festival just to see how youth dance operates in a country 12,000 miles away. The girls were also desperate to learn Aboriginal dance. There are twelve young people in Nubrico but as a group we decided to take just four dancers because of the high costs. With four young people and two dance leaders the total we had to raise was £7,200, so it would have been impossible financially to take the whole group. The other Nubrico members were more than happy for the chosen four to attend on their behalf and they were also keen to help them raise the necessary funds, which took us two years. We raised money by bag packing in supermarkets, we held a dance marathon for 52 Rubicon young dancers, we sold Rubicon T-shirts, we held a raffle—you name it, we did it! Ruth Till, our Director, successfully raised £1,039 from the Arts Council of Wales and £845 from Wales Arts International. In October 2005 we booked our flights!

We were given the very best welcome in Horsham. Cress (Bradley) was there to meet us at the station (we had been travelling for thirty six hours). She and Kath (Papas) were fantastic right from day one until we left. Nubrico were bowled over by the energy, openness and friendliness of the Australian youngsters, who were just wonderful throughout the whole week. Nubrico dancers have made some very special friends and I hope they will keep in touch with them.

Nubrico particularly loved the Indigenous and Senegalese dance sessions, something they hadn't tried before. Tamsin loved her choreographic sessions, and Nubrico thought the hip hop teacher was just the best. The girls threw themselves into the festival and got so much from it, enjoying watching the other groups perform. They loved STEPS youth dance company and they loved the Darwin group.

Nubrico dancers were very nervous about their own performance on the Monday evening. They performed a duet, a solo and a quartet which they had choreographed especially for the festival. They were amazed and quite overwhelmed at how supportive and enthusiastic the audience were. The Australian kids were brilliant and kept giving Nubrico such positive feedback throughout the whole week.

In all the trip was amazing ... the flight was an experience for Nubrico, as were the cultural differences, the dance styles, the Australian kids, their photo in the Wimmera Times.  We even had 24 hours in Melbourne before flying home. Nubrico has lots of memories that will stay with them forever. Thank you Ausdance!

Nubrico Youth Dance Company at the 2006 Australian Youth Dance FestivalNubrico performers at the 2006 AYDF in Horsham. From L to R: Hannah Darby, Tamsin Griffiths, Stacey Guy, Sophie Squires. Photo: Rachael Jennings.

‘Thank you sooooo much! It was the best time of my life. I am never going to forget this so thank you’ – Tamsin

‘I absolutely loved it.  Everyone was so friendly’ – Stacey

‘I want to move to Australia!’ – Hannah

‘The festival was great in exploring, sharing and learning different dance styles as well as sharing our passion for dance. Having the chance to go to Australia has been a fantastic experience for me and one that I will never forget!’ – Sophie

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Diedre Atkinson’s 2006 Australian Youth Dance Festival experience

Diedre Atkinson, a teacher at John Curtain College of the Arts, accompanied her students to several Australian Youth Dance Festivals. She described the AYDF as "an irreplaceable experience in the students’ development and discovery of dance. Total immersion in dance through participation in workshops, choreographic process, observation, performances, reflection and evaluation results in an intensive learning experience, and opens eyes wide to so many more possibilities".