SLIDESHOW: A festival of top dancing

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THREE hundred dancers are battling it out this week in a festival featuring top-class performers.

And organisers of the British Association of Teachers of Dancing (BATD) Festival in Hartlepool have urged the public to come along and watch some of the best competitors in the country.

Easter Monday saw the Town Hall Theatre host a dance festival featuring some of the region's best dancers.

Easter Monday saw the Town Hall Theatre host a dance festival featuring some of the region's best dancers.

There have been more than 1,000 entries registered for the festival, which is being held at the Town Hall Theatre in Raby Road each day until Saturday, April 6.

Organiser Geoff Lucas said: “There is a lot of talent in this area and people should support them.

“It only costs £5 for adults and £4 for senior citizens per day to watch and they can come in and out of the event as they want all day.

“Every person who comes along and supports the event helps us to cover the costs which would otherwise be passed on to the people who are participating.

“We try to keep it as low as we can.”

Five dance schools will contribute more than 60 dancers to the event. Competitions will be held from 9am to 9pm each day with a presentation of trophies on the final night.

Dance schools from Hartlepool and Middlesbrough will be represented, including the Debbie Barrass Academy of Performing Arts, the Watson Academy of Dance, the Elwick Academy of Dance/Northern Arts Academy, and Steps to Stage (all from Hartlepool), as well as the Maloney Stage School from Middlesbrough.

The contestants will compete in categories such as tap, ballet, modern dance, national, acrobatics, and song and dance.

Schools must be a member of the British Association of Teachers of Dancing to take part and more than 100 sections of competition will be contested.

They include solo, duet, trios and group competitions.

And for those who go along, there’s an extra event to look forward to.

Hartlepool has been chosen to host a heat of the Miss Dance of Great Britain competition and it will be held as part of the festival.

The winner goes through to the final of the competition to be held at the Blackpool Opera House in June where a £1,000 prize awaits the eventual champion.

The public can come along to each day’s performances of the BATD event.

Tickets can be bought on the door.