All Boys Dance Group to Represent NI at Top National Festival

9th June, 2023

An all-boys dance group, based at the Crescent Arts Centre in Belfast, has been invited to represent Northern Ireland at the highly prestigious U. Dance National Festival in July.

Five boys dressed in dark jeans and checked shirts are shown dancing outside. One boy leaps high in the air.
DU Dance NI's Belfast Boys, pictured at a recent performance in Crawfordsburn

Six boys, aged 11-16, from DU Dance NI’s Belfast Boys will travel over to the three-day event to perform TRIBE – short for, Together. Real. Individuals. Brotherhood. Equals. The piece, devised by the group and Belfast Boys Director Sean O’Neill, explores what it means to be a tribe and how community and friends are key to helping every young adult strive for greatness and reach their potential.

Funded by the Arts Council, thanks to funding from the National Lottery, DU Dance offer a range of free and low-cost dance tuition annually, across a range of venues and locations, including Belfast Boys. The company is founded on a policy of participation, without preconception of ability, and offers a range of classes for all ages and communities.

The U.Dance National Festival, which will takes place in Newscastle, England, is the largest event of its kind and is dedicated to celebrating youth dance. Groups, selected from across the UK, will perform on professional stages, have the opportunity to take part in workshops with leading dance professionals, and will be offered careers information and advice on progressing their personal practice.

Mags Byrne, Artistic Director at DU Dance, commented: “Belfast Boys is a cross-community group which discriminates positively for males, challenging the old perceptions of dance and opening up access. The group involves young people from across greater Belfast. Going to Newcastle to be involved in U.Dance is a fantastic opportunity for them. I’m sure the experience and connections they make will stay with them moving forward.”

Alison McCrudden, joint Head of Dance, Drama and Literature at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented: “Thanks to National Lottery players and money raised for good causes, the Arts Council is please to support DU Dance and all the work that it does to make dance accessible to everyone.

“It is absolutely fantastic to see the Belfast Boys chosen to take part in the U.Dance National Festival. Led by choreographer and director, Sean O’Neill, the energy and passion these boys have for dance is infectious. Some of the boys have been dancing all their lives, while others within the group have joined more recently, proving that dance really is open and available for anyone to try. We wish them all the very best for the Festival and hope that their upcoming performances will be an inspiration for others.”

Belfast Boys will be performing at the U.Dance National Festival, which runs from 21-23 July.

They will also be performing at the Belfast Buoys, Titanic Quarter, Belfast at 1:30pm this Saturday, 10th July or you can catch them when they perform again outside the Crescent Arts Centre, as part of Belfast Book Festival, 1pm - 2pm on Saturday 17 June.

For more information on Belfast Boys, as well as details of all classes and summer dance programmes taking place in Belfast and Dungannon, go to


Notes to Editors

About the Arts Council of Northern Ireland

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is the lead funding and development agency for the Arts providing support to arts projects throughout the region, through its Treasury and The National Lottery funds. Our funding enables artists and arts organisations to increase access to the arts across society and deliver great art that is within everyone’s reach.

Every week National Lottery players raise more than £30M for good causes.

More than £47 billion has now been raised by National Lottery players to support good causes since 1994.

More than 670,000 projects have been supported with National Lottery funding, the equivalent of around 240 lottery grants in every UK postcode district.

DU Dance's Belfast Boys will be travelling to Newcastle, England, to take part in the U.Dance National Festival.

  • Belfast Boys perform on  stage, dramatically lit in pink
  • Belfast Boys are shown on stage, lit in deep blues and purples. They wear all black trousers and t-shirt, with open white shirts
  • Belfast Boys are pictured dancing outside the Ulster Museum. One boy is held aloft by the others, arms outstretched