Safe to Be Me launches as digital festival

Scottish Ballet’s Safe to Be Me project launched in 2019 and, it has since, engaged with over 1000 young people to help empower and support them in feeling safe and confident in who they are. Photograph: Andy Ross.

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A digital festival of dance to celebrate diversity has been made possible thanks to Scottish Ballet with the support of Aberdeen Standard Investments.

Following the success of its schools programme, Safe to Be Me moves online, launching as a digital festival on Monday, May 10.

Running throughout the month, it will see the company engage with young people aged 10-23 to deliver a series of digital dance sessions, inspirational talks and multi-artform workshops that explore identity, acceptance and respect.

Working directly with schools and community groups across Scotland, with opportunity for international engagement, the festival will present opportunities for young people to engage with the programme’s focused areas of ableism, bigotry, family diversity, homophobia, racism, and transphobia.

Christopher Hampson, CEO/artistic director of Scottish Ballet, said: ‘At Scottish Ballet, we want to bring the benefits of dance to everyone and are excited that more people will have the opportunity to connect with the core values of Safe to Be Me by presenting it
as a digital festival this year.

‘As a company, we are committed to engaging with people from all backgrounds; using dance and movement as a tool to promote, understand and celebrate equality, diversity and inclusion across communities.’

In line with key Scottish Government targets to address bullying, discrimination, and prejudice in these areas, Safe to Be Me has been successfully delivered to more than 1,000 young people since 2019.

Khaleda Noon, founder and director of Intercultural Youth Scotland, added: ‘The festival gives young people a great opportunity to create and express themselves, providing them with a platform to create awareness and to showcase their talent in
music, dance and film.

‘IYS are glad to be partnered with Scottish Ballet in delivering projects safely through Covid-19 and encouraging young people to continue creating and keeping their minds
engaged through the lockdowns and recovery period.’

A total of 54 dance workshops have been delivered to 37 schools across Scotland, with one young person noting that they, ‘learnt that you can be whoever you want to be, and it is okay to be who you are’.

This year’s festival has been programmed in consultation with Conyach, Edinburgh International Festival, Intercultural Youth Scotland (IYS), LGBT Youth Scotland and
Sparkle – The National Transgender Charity.

For more information about the Safe to Be Me™ festival programme, and how to get involved visit: https://www.scottishballet.co.uk/