A DANCE crew has got off to a great start in its bid for world glory.
Ruff Diamond, from Hartlepool, have reached the semi-finals of the World Dance Hip Hop Championships at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, USA.
It means they have already finished in the top half of the field out of more than 60 hopefuls to originally enter the competition.
It is just the latest result in a hugely successful year for the crew which also wowed the audience in the Sky 1 programme Got To Dance, and won a UK title.
Their opposition in the world semi-finals comes from crews representing countries including New Zealand, the Philippines, Argentina, Australia, Holland, Canada and Japan. More than 2,500 dancers from 40 countries are taking part.
Mark Watson, who acts as a liaison person between the Ruff Diamond crew and their manager, said: “It is brilliant for them to get through.
“There are some really good crews out there and there were 63 in the adult section of the championships, so it is hard.
“The three times world champions are competing and so are crews from Canada and Mexico who did really well in previous years. There are some top people in this event.”
All the contestants were due back on the dance floor today to perform in the semi-finals. The ten best will make it through to the grand finals on Sunday.
Mark added: “It has already been quite a year for Ruff Diamond and there is still plenty for them to do when they get back.”
Pride of Hartlepool winners Ruff Diamond just missed out on winning the Sky 1 contest Got To Dance earlier this year. Soon afterwards, the Hartlepool Mail revealed they had signed up with Beautiful Movements, the company led by former Pussycat Doll and Sky One’s Got to Dance judge, Kimberly Wyatt.
The six-man line-up were also crowned UK hip hop champions this year in Watford.
Once they return from the Las Vegas world finals, they have been booked to open a charity black tie event in Battersea for Children in Need.
Mark added: “It is a big celebrity event with Sir Terry Wogan and Phil Tufnell as the hosts.
“It is an evening of entertainment for Children in Need and they will be opening the show.”