Carol Hammond School of Dance ready to rock Blackpool

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A DANCE school’s students will be heading en masse to the national finals of a prestigious competition.

More than 30 students from the Carol Hammond School of Dance, in Dalton Street in Hartlepool, will appear at the International Dance Teachers Association sequence dance finals at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool.

Each excelled at the IDTA regional heats in Newton Aycliffe. Carol said: “We had a lot of students there and they have all done extremely well. We came away with 15 firsts and lots of other top placings.”

The successes mean Carol’s performers will appear over two days of competition in October. They can each expect to come up against 60 to 80 rivals, in categories stretching from five-year-olds upwards.

But Carol added: “They have practised really hard. They have classes each week as well as private lessons and practises three times a week. There could be 60 to 80 people in their sections but I think they can do really well.”

Each competitor must learn eight dances - four more than in the heats.

And the contest promises to be a test of stamina as well. Carol said: “The doors open at 8am each day and we are not likely to leave the Winter Gardens until about 9pm.”

A coachload of dancers and their supporters will travel from Hartlepool to Blackpool.

Carol said: “Everyone is looking forward to this.”

The students who won top spots in the regional heats were as follows:

Classical sequence winners.

Under-8, Jay Nicholson and Leah Shirreff. Under-12, Libby Jackson. Under-16, Olivia Snaith-Cairns and Claudia Smith. Under-21, Whitney Wilson. Over-50, Geoff Hart. Over-60, Lynda Brooker.

Modern sequence winners.

Under-10, Luke Steele. Under-12, Caitlin Shirreff. Under-16,- Olivia Snaith-Cairns and Claudia Smith. Under-21, Laura Morgan. Over-50, Geoff Hart. Over-60, Lynda Brooker.