An Island school is fundraising after its team qualified for the Dance Live! World Championships – dancing’s equivalent of The Olympics.
Fifteen pupils from Ryde Academy will travel to Telford in August as part of hundreds who will represent Team England.
A total of 120,000 dancers enter the qualifying round but only 6,000 dancers compete from 54 countries across the world in what is described as ‘the greatest all genre dance competition for dancers aged 4-25’.
But they almost didn’t even enter the competition.
Hilary Seaton, Year 9 tutor and lead teacher for Dance Live! and the Ryde Elite Team, explained: “It was all a bit of a rush. Originally, I enquired about next year’s competition but, at the last minute, I was told we could still enter this year.
“We only had a few hours to put a video together to send off to the organisers. So I gathered my elite team and we frantically put something together with a few rehearsals.
“Luckily, we had been working on a routine during lockdown to give the students something to keep them occupied. It was commissioned through choreographer, Josh Wharmby, who is amazing and has worked on all sorts of stuff, including the X Factor.
“Basically, we were still working from scratch and some of them didn’t even know the moves to begin with. It was a real leap of faith for me in them. We couldn’t believe it when we were accepted and we will be competing in the ‘Large Junior Commercial Division’.
“The competition is the dancing equivalent of the Olympics. It’s open to all genres of dance. It’s one of the most inclusive competitions of dance, but one of the most exclusive to qualify for.
“Our students, aged between 12-16, will all have a Team England uniform and will walk as part of the team in a huge parade beforehand under an England banner. It’s so exciting.
“We’re raising money for the uniforms, travelling and everything else we will need for the competition. We’ve got a JustGiving page and we will be doing other fundraisers like bag-packing and a virtual dog show.
“The competition was originally scheduled for Spain but it’s been moved to Telford because of this country’s vaccination success. Countries who are unable to get here will compete virtually. The competition is being held between August 9-20, but it includes last year’s as well as this year. Our competition starts on August 13.”
The school is looking to raise £4,000 to cover the costs of accommodation, travel, costumes and a workshop.
The school will have its own flag to take to the competition and local business who would like its logo on the flag can do so in return for a donation. To find out more about the opportunity please email contactus@rydeacademy.
You can find the fundraising page at justgiving.com/crowdfunding/helen-pennicott.