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Dance training moves centre stage

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Six new training centres are at the heart of a new initiative aimed at encouraging youngsters to take up dancing.

Reacting to news that the government has pledged £5.5million for the dance 'initiative' following publication of his review into youth dance, Tony Hall, chair of Creative & Cultural Skills and chief executive of the Royal Opera House said: "Dance answers lots of the issues young people face - from expressing their creativity to working in teams; tackling obesity or just having fun. I am delighted the government is acting on our ideas."

Designed to help boost dance opportunities for young people across England the initiative includes:

* Six new centres of advanced training between now and 2011 to help train and support approximately 1,500 more young people inspired to take dance to the next level

* A joint Dance Review Programme Board to provide leadership - bringing together stakeholders, agencies, funding bodies from the sectors of education and dance and young dancers themselves.

* The development of a national youth dance strategy across both school and youth dance sectors through a new organisation, Youth Dance England

* A pilot of dance co-ordinators in schools supporting the provision of dance, both as an art form and within school sport

Culture minister Margaret Hodge commented:"Dance is one of our oldest art forms and one that people can take part in, or simply watch, at just about any age or degree of skill and experience. Dance is also triumphantly eclectic, drawing in styles and forms from all over the world and from every tradition. I am thrilled that young people will now have access to a higher standard of provision, and that the dance sector itself has now received the further recognition it so richly deserves."

According to a 2006/07 sport survey, dance comes second only to football as the most popular type of formal exercise in schools.

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