Children battle it out for honours at Northampton Dance Festival

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Hundreds of dancers from across the UK descended on Derngate recently for the second Northampton Dance Festival.

The festival was organised by former dance champion Andrzej Mialkowski, founder of Step by Step Dance School in Henry Street, Northampton.

More than 400 children from schools in Northamptonshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire took part in the Dancing Schools UK Grand Final events held at the festival, which was supported by the Chronicle & Echo and Image magazine.

The morning saw the top 15 years three and four teams compete to become the regional year three and four Junior Strictly Champions 2015. Caroline Chisholm School in Northampton stormed to victory, closely followed by Overstone Primary School and Weston Favell Primary School in Northampton.

The first ever years seven and eight Junior Strictly Northampton competition followed, which was won by Northampton School for Girls. The teachers said children had enjoyed learning their salsa and American Smooth foxtrot routines.

In the evening, the top year five and six Junior Strictly teams came head to head on the dance floor for the Regional Finals and Wootton Primary School in Northampton were very worthy winners.

Mr Mialkowski said the standard of dancing was extremely high and was very impressed with how quickly the youngsters had mastered the routines he had choreographed.

He said: “For some children this was their first experience in a theatre this large and the excitement that was shown on their faces makes these events all worthwhile.”

British champion dancers also took part in other competitions run throughout the day and evening, including the National League and Amateur contests. And a pro-am contest also took place.

The events were judged by top judges from the dancing world, including Bryan Allen, president of the British Dance Council.

Mr Mialkowski said: “It was fantastic and much busier than the first dance festival we staged last year. There was a very good quality of dancers and dancing.

“The teachers from all the schools worked really hard with their pupils to achieve a very high standard of dancing and we had all sorts of things going on throughout the festival, including British champion ballroom dancers.

“I am already planning next year’s festival and want it to be bigger and better!”