Lewisham dance programme Love2Dance wins London Youth Award

Love2Dance, a free street dance programme for young people in Lewisham, was a winner at the London Youth Awards on Wednesday 21 March. Held at Channel 4’s headquarters, the inspiring ceremony celebrated the best of youth engagement across the capital, from dance, sports, and employability, to volunteers and young leaders.

These are the kind of outcomes that change the lives of people and communities for the better.

Taking home the trophy for the Arts and Culture Award, Love2Dance stood out against hundreds of nominees for going above and beyond to improve young Londoners’ access to a cultural activity and innovatively encouraging their creative expression.

Through a flagship partnership between the Albany, a performing arts centre in Deptford, and Lewisham Homes, a local social housing provider, the Love2Dance programme enables five to 18 year olds living in the borough to get involved in weekly workshops, holiday masterclasses, and live performances.

The 150 young participants are also given opportunities to take part in professional shows touring to the Albany and some of them recently competed at the UK Street Dance Championships in December, winning eight awards including four first places.

With one young dancer saying it’s their favourite part of the week, and 100 per cent of the participants’ parents agreeing their child’s confidence has increased thanks to Love2Dance, it’s clear the programme has a positive and long-lasting impact on local young people.

Zaylie Wilson, youth and community programmes manager at the Albany, said: “We’re thrilled Love2Dance has been awarded the Arts and Culture award by London Youth. It’s fantastic to see the impact programmes like this have on young people, from the incredible development of their dance skills to their growth in confidence, concentration and aspiration, both within and beyond the programme. These are the kind of outcomes that change the lives of people and communities for the better.”

Ainsley Forbes, Lewisham Homes Board Chair, said: “Having supported and funded Love2Dance for many years, Lewisham Homes is extremely proud to see this recognition from the London Youth Awards. I want to say a special thank you to choreographer Aaron Augustus, who is a brilliant and inspirational leader to the young dancers.”