Preparing for a DAZL-ing career

You’ve probably heard about DAZL – Dance Action Zone Leeds, based in Middleton.

You probably know that they run dance groups for children of all ages, getting them active, giving them something to do, improving their health and wellbeing. Every day they are making an impact, using dance as a tool to deliver health outcomes, working with 6,500 children across the city.

But did you know they are also fostering careers and helping young people become professional dancers?

DAZL’s Director Ian Rodley explained their DAZL Excel Training and Performance Programme:

“It’s not just about young people coming and having a lovely time doing a 5, 6, 7, 8 routine, it’s really looking at a pathway into professional dance training, getting a career in the arts.”

The programme is open to dancers aged 5-19, but to get onto the programme you have to pass and audition and submit a written application. Once accepted you can expect to work six hours a week over three nights covering commercial dance, street dance, ballet technique, acro technique as well as the core subject of contemporary dance.

The programme is successful with every member of the 15-19 group gaining places at colleges, universities and dance schools this year. These include nationally prestigious schools such as LIPA (Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts or the Paul McCartney School of Speech & Drama as its often referred to) and the Northern School of Contemporary Dance.

Meg Burns from Middleton has graduated from Urdang in London

From there dancers go on to work professionally tours. Young people who started with DAZL are currently working with Drag Race, on pantomime tours, working with pop stars on world tours. Many also go into teaching dance. As Ian says:

“They are all making a living and enjoying a career out of something they love.

“When I say we’re not here just to do dance just for fun, when you come to DAZL and you take part in our Excel programme – these are people who are going to go and get a job in the arts.”

Dancers on the programme are not just by doing competitions, but getting ready for auditions, learning how to prepare a CV, how to analyse their work, their strengths and weakness, and constantly reflecting on their practice. They work with external artists, take a dance leader’s qualification, create digital and live showcases.

“We give them the experience so that when they go out into the industry they already know what’s expected of them.”

If you would like to join the DAZL Excel programme, auditions are coming up on Monday (18 September 2023). Register your interest by emailing


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