National champs

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A DANCE troupe are celebrating after lifting a national title.

The troupe from the Val Armstrong School of Performing Arts, in Whitby Street South, Hartlepool, was up against the best in British talent at the Festival4Stars finals at Cayton Bay, near Scarborough.

Two girls and boys aged 15 and over were representing the North-East in the contest’s musical group category.

They won the title with a performance of a burlesque medley which had been choreographed by Hollie Sorrelle, the daughter of dance school owner Val.

Proud Val said: “There were representatives from all over the UK and we won it.

“This is a troupe which has been together for four to five months and they have been practising up to five times a week to prepare for this.

“The standard was exceptional and we were really pleased just to reach the finals, never mind to win the whole thing.

“It was such a brilliant day for the dance school.”

The troupe – which includes Mary Bolton, Kathryn Storey, Emily Ridden and Victoria Murray as well as the people pictured – has now been invited to perform at the NEC in Birmingham in December.

Festival4Stars is a UK-based talent competition for singing and dancing, open to people of all ages and with categories including solo dance, solo singing, musical solos, musical group, dance duos, trios groups and star group.

It started in 2002 and has grown to become a competition in which former winners have included singer Faryl Smith, dancer George Sampson, and actresses Alice Barlow and Kelsey Beth Crossley.