AN internationally-renowned dance company has embarked on an ambitious year-long project with seven South Cumbrian schools.

London-based Rambert Dance Company, Creative Futures Cumbria and Dowdales School, Dalton-in-Furness, will deliver the programme to 150 students.

It officially launched at the school this week after successful funding applications generated £49,750 from Arts Council England and £3,000 from the Sir John Fisher Foundation.

Creative Futures Cumbria Director Denise Alexander said: “We are absolutely delighted to receive such significant funding to deliver an ambitious, high quality and inspirational programme in Cumbria.

“The programme will provide a unique opportunity for young people to engage with Rambert, a world class company with an international profile.”

While some of the youngsters involved are studying the subject at A Level, many are experiencing dance for the first time.

It is hoped that, in addition to expert tuition from acclaimed dance artists, the project will boost students’ social development, including self confidence, teamwork and problem-solving skills.

Julie O’Connor, Dowdales School headteacher, said: “I am delighted that Dowdales School will be a lead partner in this programme.

“Rambert is the nation’s leading company in contemporary dance and this programme will give our students the opportunity to access the arts at the very highest level.”

Joce Giles, Rambert’s head of learning and participation, added: “Rambert is passionate about the role that dance can play in young people's lives and, as a national company, we are committed to developing long-term partnerships with organisations such as Creative Futures Cumbria, who do such a great job at building links between arts organisations and schools.”

The other six schools taking part are Queen Katherine School, Kendal, Ulverston Victoria High School, Queen Elizabeth School, Kirkby Lonsdale, Dallam School, Milnthorpe, John Ruskin School, Coniston and Furness Academy.

Students will explore themes drawn from existing Rambert repertoire, before creating their own work and they will also watch Rambert perform at The Lowry in Salford on October 12.