‘YES- Youth European Start’ is a project of Balkan Youth Festival, funded by the ERASMUS+ Program that took part between 5 and 12th of September 2016. Young people from 8 countries took part in non-formal activities, in order to experience learning trough a common action, dance. During the week, the participants (professional or amateur dancers) learned how to use dance as a support for non-formal methods. Along those days, we’ve also participated in Balkan Youth Festival, beside the YES Project.
We’ve started our experience in Sandanski, Bulgaria with ‘getting to know each other’ games and short presentations of our dance styles, countries and cities. After 2 days of accommodation, every country had to prepare a representation for the stage, which had to be a traditional, latino , hip hop or contemporary performance. Thereby, Romanian and Macedonian groups performed traditional dances, Greece and Spain hip hop dances, Italy and Turkey latino dances and Bulgaria contemporary dances. Moreover, we had the chance to learn a different style and therefore we were supposed to join one of the four workshops (PR and Hip Hop, Contemporary, Traditional dance). At the end of the Festival, each workshop had a representation on the big stage.
Furthermore, beside the rehearsals and energizers, in our free time, we were taken to visit Melnik, the smallest town in Bulgaria, which is known for its houses, wines and traditional products. We also had the opportunity to taste traditional food and drinks from each participating country, one of the evenings being just Bulgarian.
After seven days in Sandanski, Bulgaria, the participants have learned how to combine dance with non-formal education, to improve their language and dance skills, to make new foreign friends, to interact, socialize better and to take part in the organization of a huge Festival. Before leaving each of us received a ‘Youth Pass’ which would show the abilities that we have gained after the project.