Mum’s pride as her dancing daughter lifts title

Ballet dancer Zara Williams and her teacher Val Armstrong.
Picture by Jane Coltman
Ballet dancer Zara Williams and her teacher Val Armstrong. Picture by Jane Coltman

A mum was moved to tears as her talented daughter was announced as the winner of a dance competition.

What a day it was for Zara Williams who beat allcomers to lift a prestigious title in a contest in the Midlands.

They announced the results from sixth and going upwards. Sixth, fifth, fourth and then when they were getting to third and second, we were just looking at each other as if to say ‘oh my goodness’. Then they said who was second and we realised Zara had won. The whole place erupted

Janet Williams

Zara, 13, did her whole family - and her Hartlepool dance teacher Val Armstrong - proud when she was victorious in the Midland Open junior ballet championships which were held at Castle Bromwich.

And it was an extra special win as it was Zara’s first after a string of top placings.

Among those who got to experience her big day was her mum Janet, 50, dad Martin 39, and sister Emily, 15, and Janet described how a nerve-wracking day unfolded.

“There was one round and all the children danced. Then, the adjudicators picked the final six and Zara had reached the final six in ballet as well as tap and modern.

“Her ballet was the first time she had done it,” said Janet.

Then came the time for the results and Janet added: “They announced the results from sixth and going upwards.

“Sixth, fifth, fourth and then when they were getting to third and second, we were just looking at each other as if to say ‘oh my goodness’.

“Then they said who was second and we realised Zara had won. The whole place erupted.”

It was the cue for emotional celebrations.

“I was in tears and so was Zara’s sister. Zara had a few tears herself as well,” said Janet.

She described how success was well deserved for her daughter who trains up to five hours a day at the Val Armstrong Performing Arts Academy, in Whitby Street South in Hartlepool.

Janet said: “She is very dedicated. She has pretty much gone there since the day she was born. She has two older sisters, Emily, 15, and Stephanie, 23 and Val’s academy is like her second home.

“This was her first title win which is why we were so excited for her. She has had lots of seconds and thirds.”

Zara attends The Academy at Shotton Hall and is a former pupil of Wingate Juniors. Her family lives in Wingate and travels to Val’s school every day for practice.

The triumph wasn’t the only success for Zara at the Midland Open competition. She came second in the tap section as well as becoming a finalist in the modern category.

And not long before that event, she got a second placing in the modern category of the The Northern Counties Dance Teachers’ Association championships at South Shields.

Zara hopes to stay involved in dance when she is older.