Hundreds of dancers at a Hartlepool festival - and here’s how you can see all the action

Performers on stage at the end of the Modern Open Class C during the Hartlepool Stage Dance Festival, held in the Town Hall. Photograph by FRANK REID

Performers on stage at the end of the Modern Open Class C during the Hartlepool Stage Dance Festival, held in the Town Hall. Photograph by FRANK REID

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Five days of competitive dancing have begun at a festival which has become an annual attraction.

And for those wanting to take it all in, there’s still plenty of time to catch the Hartlepool Stage Festival which continues at the Town Hall Theatre until Saturday.

Emma Thompson Brooke on stage during the Modern Open Class C during the Hartlepool Stage Dance Festival, held in the Town Hall. Photograph by FRANK REID

Emma Thompson Brooke on stage during the Modern Open Class C during the Hartlepool Stage Dance Festival, held in the Town Hall. Photograph by FRANK REID

The Raby Road venue is hosting 200 performances a day with the competition running from around 9am to 9pm each day.

Geoff Lucas, who puts together the preparations for the event, encouraged people to come along and said: “You will get your money’s worth.”

Five dance schools are taking part in the competition and they are the Michelle Brown Academy of Dance & Theatre Arts (MBA), and the Elwick Academy/Northern Arts, from Hartlepool, as well as Thornton Academy from Middlesbrough, Lumsdale Theatre Arts in South Shields, and Marron Theatre Arts in Newcastle.

Professional performer Lizzie Pearce, from the Coventry area, has been invited to be a judge at the festival and Geoff said: “It is nice to have someone who has not seen the children from this area and who can put a different opinion on the week.”

There is plenty to see for people who come along. There will be pretty full days of dancing with 200 performances each day

Geoff Lucas, Hartlepool Stage Festival organiser

Students will compete in categories including tap, modern, song and dance, ballet, national, character and acrobatics.

There will be sections for solo dancers as well as duets, trios and groups.

The five-day event got off to an action-packed start yesterday when, as well as the festival’s own dancing, the heat of the Miss Dance of Great Britain took place.

It is organised by the International Dance Teachers Association and was one of the last heats to be held before this year’s finals at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool in arouhnd a fortnight.

Isabelle McGough on stage during the Modern Open Class C during the Hartlepool Stage Dance Festival, held in the Town Hall. Photograph by FRANK REID

Isabelle McGough on stage during the Modern Open Class C during the Hartlepool Stage Dance Festival, held in the Town Hall. Photograph by FRANK REID

The rest of the Hartlepoool festival will feature around 800 entries in numerous sections of dance. Geoff added: “There is plenty to see for people who come along. There will be pretty full days of dancing with 200 performances each day.”

Admission is £5.50 for adults and £4 for people who are on concessions.

Once paid, the admission fee covers the whole day of dance.

Those wanting to come along to the festival can pay at the door of the Town Hall Theatre which is in Raby Road.

Robyn Vine on stage during the Modern Open Class C during the Hartlepool Stage Dance Festival, held in the Town Hall. Photograph by FRANK REID

Robyn Vine on stage during the Modern Open Class C during the Hartlepool Stage Dance Festival, held in the Town Hall. Photograph by FRANK REID

Jamie Leigh Palmer on stage during the Modern Open Class C during the Hartlepool Stage Dance Festival, held in the Town Hall. Photograph by FRANK REID

Jamie Leigh Palmer on stage during the Modern Open Class C during the Hartlepool Stage Dance Festival, held in the Town Hall. Photograph by FRANK REID

Sophie Alys Franklin on stage during the Tab Open Class B during the Hartlepool Stage Dance Festival, held in the Town Hall. Photograph by FRANK REID

Sophie Alys Franklin on stage during the Tab Open Class B during the Hartlepool Stage Dance Festival, held in the Town Hall. Photograph by FRANK REID

Maizie Hunter on stage during the Modern Open Class C during the Hartlepool Stage Dance Festival, held in the Town Hall. Photograph by FRANK REID

Maizie Hunter on stage during the Modern Open Class C during the Hartlepool Stage Dance Festival, held in the Town Hall. Photograph by FRANK REID

Winners (left to right) Kate Green, Taylor Robson and Socha Stevenson at the end of the Song and Dance Open Class D during the Hartlepool Stage Dance Festival, held in the Town Hall. Photograph by FRANK REID

Winners (left to right) Kate Green, Taylor Robson and Socha Stevenson at the end of the Song and Dance Open Class D during the Hartlepool Stage Dance Festival, held in the Town Hall. Photograph by FRANK REID