YOU dance

About the Programme

The National Ballet of Canada’s YOU dance introduces students in grades four to six to the world of dance through free workshops and performances. Since 2007, the highly successful programme has reached more than 300,000 students.

YOU dance stands for Youth, Outreach and Understanding Dance. This season, virtual workshops are led by a Teaching Artist and offer a learning experience for both students and teachers. Virtual rehearsal visits are also offered. Typically, performances by Apprentices from The National Ballet of Canada, take place in the intimate setting of the Betty Oliphant Theatre. The diverse repertoire introduces students to a variety of dance styles, with engaging narration by the National Ballet’s Education Manager. There are numerous opportunities for students to interact with the artists and ask questions.

Since 2010, YOU dance has partnered with social services and support agencies to present to children and adults with autism, developmental challenges as well as those undergoing treatment for illness at pediatric hospitals.

YOU dance has live streamed performances to classrooms across Canada since 2013. Over 90,000 students have watched livestreams from coast to coast to coast.

YOU dance had its third residency in Regent Park in May 2018. The week-long residencies included workshops at Lord Dufferin Junior and Senior Public school, Spucecourt Public School, Kensington Community School, Ryerson Community School, Orde Street Public School and Our Lady of Lourdes Schools and the Toronto Kiwanis Girls and Boys Club as well as five performances at Daniels Spectrum. Over 3,000 students and community members have participated.

In addition to bringing the world of dance to young people, YOU dance gives the Apprentices of The National Ballet of Canada valuable performance training. The National Ballet currently employs 26 dancers who began their careers as RBC Apprentices performing with YOU dance, now representing 40% of the company.

10th Anniversary Gallery View Gallery

Selected Statistics

  • 298 YOU dance Performances for 70,889 attendees
  • 1,396 YOU dance Workshops for 41,467 students
  • 12 Residences for 30,773 students
  • Live stream viewers: 66,171
  • Total number of participants: 209,310
  • Total number of National Ballet RBC Apprentices who performed with YOU dance: 83
  • Total number of current National Ballet dancers who performed with YOU dance as RBC Apprentices: 26 (40% of the company)


    “On behalf of the students and teachers of Sheridan Park P. S. in Mississauga, I would like to offer you our sincerest thanks for allowing us this amazing opportunity (again!) to attend the YOU dance demonstration and live performance today.

    The students were so excited to listen to all the dancers speak, it was such a treat to see the strong and talented dancers perform with such energy and passion.

    We truly enjoyed your in-school workshops in the winter and the show today.”
    — Sheridan Park Public School

    “Every one of my kids came away from the YOU dance workshop feeling confident, proud of what they had done, and excited about dancing. I am a huge believer in the arts as a medium for all kids to learn. Programming like yours has such a huge impact on them, and I wanted you to know how grateful we were for the opportunity to participate, how skillful and engaging your work with them in the workshop was, and how excited they are about the performance to come.”
    — Balmoral Senior Public School

    "These opportunities to expose our students to a broader environment than which they live in are invaluable to their development. The variety of dance and music that they experienced helps to develop their own musicality and sense of movement. Having the National Ballet include us in their programming helps develop the student sense of belonging in the larger community. This is so important to foster their connection to their city.

    They can't wait to participate in the dance workshops with you.”
    — St Jane Frances Elementary School

    “Thank you to all involved with YOU dance! We were able to expose our niece and great nephew to their first ballet performance! What a delight to know the first experience would be with The National Ballet of Canada. You can't get better than that!

    Thank you to ALL that made this event possible. You are all a wonderful team. We were so honoured to be part of the event.”
    — YOU dance special needs performance attendee

    “It was a very positive experience for my students, and I would not hesitate to participate in a live streamed event again, if given the opportunity. Thank you so much for doing this for schools. We all very much enjoyed the ballet (and contemporary and hip hop).”
    — Nashwaaksis Memorial School - Fredericton, New Brunswick - Livestream participant

    “We really enjoyed watching the live performance! All of our students were engaged and most had not experienced the ballet at all before that. I also allowed my students to do some ballet of their own to the last ballet scene, they really enjoyed making up independent movements, copying the dancers on screen, and partner dancing all while having lots of fun! They especially loved the hip hop performance at the end, some of them just “couldn’t help but move their body” to the music!

    Thanks for inviting us!!!”
    — Cappy Smart School - Calgary, Alberta - Livestream participant

    “We loved the performance! We want to thank you for giving us this opportunity to watch YOU Dance. - We were so excited seeing ourselves on the "big screen." We hope you contact us about future dance events. The dancers were so talented and an inspiring to us all in our own endeavours.”
    — Jennie Emery Elementary School - Coaldale, Alberta - Livestream participant

YOU dance Lead Sponsor: Scotiabank

Contact Us

For more information about YOU dance workshops and performances email