A dance school owner has looked back on a record year of achievement.
Val Armstrong saw her students reach more than 200 championship finals, win 16 tap dance champion awards, and became the British school with the most students performing in the West End stage production of Billy Elliot.
Val runs the Val Armstrong Academy of Performing Arts which is based in Whitby Street South in Hartlepool, and has been teaching in the industry for 34 years.
She described her involvement in dance as “a true blessing within the industry I love” and detailed achievements of the last year.
“Up to date we have had seven students take part in the West End show Billy Elliot this year we have had two more children successfully gain a part in the show which means Val Armstrong School of Performing Arts has had nine children in the cast.
“This is the most children from any one school successfully taking part in the West End show. As well as this we have also had a child successfully gaining a part in Matilda the Musical.
“As well as a dance school we also have had a recorded number of children representing the Val Armstrong School of Performing Arts in many modelling and acting commercial throughout Europe under the direction of myself and Catwalk Model Management with one of our youngest children gaining selection as the face of George clothing and Range stores.
“This year has also seen two of our senior students successfully gaining full scholarships in to dance colleges.
Another highlight of the year was being contacted by the BBC for some of our children to audition for their TV show Next Steps with five of our students getting down to the final 30 and one getting down the final 12 out of thousands of applicants.”
Other highlights of the year included the academy putting on a sellout production of Footstorm with the help of Val’s children Hollie Sorelle (the co-principal of Val Armstrong School of Performing Arts) and Zac Healey (the founder of Urban Rocz Academy).
The year also saw Val winning the teacher’s trophy for the second year in a row at the British Championship in Blackpool and receiving the Northern Counties Teachers Award.
Her school also won The Best British Troupe Championship title and eight of her students successfully auditioned for a place in the Tap Attack academy
Val added: “Along with our memorable achievements as a school we believe in filling our children with passion and belief not only in dance, but also in supporting local charities and charities close to the heart of the Val Armstrong School of Performing Arts, the students and families of the school.”