The annual festival couldn’t take place over the lockdowns but returned in style for its 35th year.
The non-competitive festival’s aim is to celebrate the dance achievements of Sunderland’s young people, which they can share with friends and family to help boost their confidence.
More than 400 performers from 22 schools took part in this year’s event, with many more coming along to show their support, with parents and guardians also making up the audience.
Sunderland institution The Old Vestry still going strong as it serves up new menu
New exhibition raises a glass to the colourful history of Pyrex in Sunderland, one hundred years on
Meet the new Top Model of Sunderland as she lifts the crown at annual contest
'Decadent' new Sunderland burger named after Edwardian architect part of new food offering at The Peacock
Dive into new Surf Social event at Seaburn beach in latest event at Sunderland seafront
For 2022, the theme was ‘The Natural World’ which inspired a wide range of dances based on such things as the behaviour of animals in the wild, different or changing seasons, the weather, climate change and the impact on our world.
Easington Lane Primary School created a buzzing adventure named A Celebration of Pollination to show the work and importance of bees. Meanwhile, Biddick Academy’s All Must Pay Their Debt to Nature was inspired by the Blue Planet and the impact of pollution and global warming.
BBC Look North Presenter, Jeff Brown, also returned as Master of Ceremonies.
The one-day event is organised by performing arts staff in the Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries at the University of Sunderland.
The festival was originally initiated as part of a Masters Degree, investigating effective strategies in the promotion of dance in secondary education and began in a very small way with just three schools taking part.
It gradually grew over the years to become an established, annual event in Sunderland Empire’s community calendar .
Lesley Younger, festival director said: "I find it very moving and inspirational to watch the sheer joy, enthusiasm and talent of the children performing and of course I am very appreciative of the commitment and immense amount of hard work put in by the teachers.”
Jeff Brown, BBC Look North presenter and festival host, said: “It was so good to see the Dance Festival back, and an absolute pleasure to be hosting it once
He added: “The arts are so important in lifting everyone’s spirits, and you can only imagine the confidence boost it gives the youngsters when they pluck up the courage to go out and perform in front of an audience.