Hartlepool dancer Zara beats the lot to top crown

Zara Williams celebrates her double triumph.
Zara Williams celebrates her double triumph.

A teenager - who has been involved in dance since she was four days old - has become the champion of champions in a top national competition.

Zara Williams, 13, from the Hartlepool-based Val Armstrong School of Performing Arts, triumphed in a contest at Fleetwood.

They announced Zara as the winner and the whole place erupted. Zara did not know what to do. She was spellbound until the other dancers pushed her forward! Everyone was screaming for her

Jan Williams

Her proud mum Jan Williams, 50, explained how the competition worked. “All across the country from January to November, they do championships,” she said.

“You have to win one of them to get into the bigger competition. That’s what Zara managed to do for the tap and ballet categories.”

A delegation from the Hartlepool academy headed to Fleetwood for the event and there were 23 competitors in Zara’s ballet section and 22 in the tap category.

Jan, whose daughters Emily, 15, and Stephanie, 24, have also been part of the dance scene all their lives, added: “We were not expecting Zara to win.

“We thought it was an achievement just to get to the finals of a big competition where they were coming from all over the country as well as Wales and Scotland.

“At the end of the competition, all the competitors were on the stage together and they were announcing first, second and third in reverse order.”

Zara missed out on a placing in the ballet section and Jan, who is married to IT manager Martin Williams, 39, said: “We were ready to go home.”

Then came the tap category and Jan said: “They announced Zara as the winner and the whole place erupted.

“Zara did not know what to do. She was spellbound until the other dancers pushed her forward! Everyone was screaming for her.”

Jan, from Wingate, said she was “proud as punch” but there was even better news to come for her daughter who is a student at The Academy at Shotton Hall.

Zara had been crowned as the junior winner of the Champion of Champions tap category.

Next, Zara and the winners of the junior modern, ballet and song categories all danced one more time.

The victor would get to win a summer school scholarship at Phil Winston’s summer school in Blackpool. And Zara won that as well. She will attend the school in August.

Jan said Zara had been a part of Val’s school “since she was four days old” with having two older sisters who danced. She has been trained both by Val and Hollie Sorelle.

And the teenager will be back om the competition scene in two weeks time when she takes part in a championships at Chester-le-Street.