Dorset Youth Dance

Dorset Youth Dance Company

Since a rebrand in 2016, DYD is a county-wide youth dance company offering high quality dance experiences, for young people who have a real passion and enthusiasm for dance and want to take that extra leap in training.

Focusing on contemporary dance, dancers aged 12 - 18 have the opportunity to work as part of a professional youth dance company (Company 3), pre-company feeder class (Company 2) or the creative class for 7-11 year olds (Company 1). The young dancers are lucky to be lead by inspiring and renowned former Motionhouse dance artist and youth dance leader, Claire Benson. Claire graduated from The London Studio Centre with a BA (Hons) in Dance Theatre in 2001. After living and working as a freelance dancer and teacher, Claire then joined the internationally acclaimed dance company Motionhouse in 2008. She spent the next seven years touring the globe performing and teaching for the company. In 2012 she established Motionhouse Youth and, in the role of Lead Artist - Creative Projects and Participation, went on to develop the company's extensive outreach and community dance programme. Claire began her role with DYD in September 2016.

UPDATE: With enforced isolation in place due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the DYD Company summer 2020 term cannot take place in its usual format. Our paramount concern is the health & well-being of our team, artists, participants, audiences and local community. With this in mind, the DYD team has created a ‘Digital Dance’ programme as an alternative term, which will continue to up-skill and enrich our dancers’ experiences and hopefully continue the DYD sense of community. More information about the details of our online classes can be found here: The below details are correct for our usual format, which we hope to return to when we are advised it is safe to do so for our community of teachers and dancers.

DYD classes currently run out of Martinstown Village Hall, taking place on Sundays from 10am-11am - Company 1, 11am-12:30pm - Company 2 and 1pm-3pm - Company 3. Term fees are indicated below, DYD can offer a limite number of bursaries to support dancers to attend class.

What to expect

Company 1 members (aged 7-11) can expect to learn contemporary dance through creative exercises, preparing the young people for the more technical training of the Company 2 class. Term fees: £50.

Company 2 members (aged 12-18) can expect to be supported and nurtured through creative and technical contemporary training to become a more confident performer, ready for the next stage. Term fees: £75.

Company 3 members (aged 14-25) can expect to be challenged at an advanced level, demonstrating professionalism in performance in preparation for further stages of dance training. Term fees: £100.

Both the Company 2 and Company 3 dancers will experience performance opportunities at regional youth dance platforms, work with leading national dance artists and develop their portfolio suitable for today’s performing arts industry. Company 3 class is by invite only.

Audition Information & How to apply 

Auditions for new starters will be held throughout the year, at DYD's usual studio in Martinstown Village Hall. Details below - 

Company 1 (7-11 years)  - a relaxed 'open class' style audition, for any young dancers to give DYD a go and see if it's up their street before commiting to the term. Current DYD dancers will also be present.

Company 2 (12-25 years)  - Lead by Artistic Director Claire Benson in the style of a typical DYD class, any new dancers will join existing DYD dancers in front of a panel consisting of the DYD team and members of the steering group. The audition will comprise of technique and creative tasks, no preparation is required.

Company 3 (14-25) is by invite only. Most new dancers start in Company 2 and will be asked to join Company 3 when appropriate.

All dancers should wear appropriate clothing, that allows ease of movement. Dancers will perform class in bare feet (or socks) and should bring a bottle of water. Audition places are free and should be booked in advance by emailing project manager, Sammy, at

For further information please contact or tel: 01305 260 954