Winning ways from Jill’s top students

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YOUNG dancers from a Hartlepool academy are celebrating after a fantastic performance at a festival.

Students from the Jill Cooper Academy of Dance took 24 first places and plenty of runner-up as well as third-placed finishes at the Easter Dance Festival which was held at the Northfield Academy, in Billingham.

They were up against six other dance schools from across the Tees Valley, and school spokesman Gemma Fox said: “The atmosphere was great. We came away with some amazing results.”

The Jill Cooper success stories included Kinden Uppal who was the overall supreme champion of the festival.

He won the title after dancing a modern solo to an acoustic version of Teenage Dreams.

The supreme finalists in the infants section were Hollie Hughes and Neve O’ Donovan – Hollie for her song and dance rendition of My Brother, and Neve’s emotional modern dance to Electricity.

Two-year-old Lily Hughes wowed everyone with her modern and tap routines, scooping the prize for most entertaining performance of the week.

Other trophies to be presented were: Mollie Mae Hickling (hardest working competitor); Izzy Boagey (best personality); Maddy Edmenson (overall highest scores for tap and modern/song in the baby section), and Hollie Hughes (aggregate high score for tap modern song aged under 10)

Dance school owner Jill Cooper said: “I am always proud of my pupils. But last week they really shone, not only on stage, but the hard work and determination they have put in during the weeks leading up to the competitions.

“I am also incredibly proud of how the kids support each other. It is real teamwork at its best.”

Next in line for the York Road-based studio is a festival at the Town Hall Theatre, in Hartlepool, over the Whit weekend.