Children from Northamptonshire put on a fantastic dance show in the first “Strictly Northampton Kids” at the Deco Theatre and raised money for a children’s charity that fights childhood cancer.
Twenty-one youngsters between the ages of seven and 14 and their junior competitor dance partners performed at the Deco Theatre in Northampton on Saturday.
The event was raising money for children’s charity Niamh’s Next Steps, a charity that fights childhood cancer.
Dance director Andrzej Mialkowski said: “ Following on from the success of Strictly Northampton we launched “Strictly Northampton Kids” for the first time this year. It’s been a fantastic event - 21 children raising money for a children’s charity. The children have enjoyed dancing, having fun and raising money as well.”
Walking away with the glitterball trophy were winners Rhys (Phillips) and Annie (Klass). “It feels amazing,” said Rhys. Runners-up were a very smiley Aidan (Ashwell) and his partner Clarice (Hartwell). Third place went to Ellis (Rawlings) and Hope (Denton).
The 42 children had spent the last eight weeks in training, organised by Step By Step Dance School .
They performed an American Smooth Waltz and a Jive in front of a 300-strong audience.
With glitter in their hair and on their faces, the girls had been given the Strictly experience and looked fantastic in their colourful dance dresses as they danced on the arms of their equally dapper dance partners.
Scored by a panel of judges and by text votes, six couples were selected to go through to a grand final where they had to perform one of their routines again before the judges voted for the winners.
Andrzej said to the children: “In my eyes, you are all winners as you have all raised a lot of money for a children’s charity.”
In total, the children managed to raise £7,526 for NNS. They had been tasked with raising £100 each and many had smashed their target.
Proud parent Damien Rawlings said his son had loved training and that he had been equally successful in raising money.
“He managed to raise £430 and that isn’t including the money raised by text voting,” he said.
Mother of one of the contestants, Nicola Burrows said: “George absolutely loved training. He was so nervous about being on stage, he forgot to smile. He wants to carry on dancing though. He also managed to inspire his school to take part in Strictly Schools and he has been teaching other children to do the jive.”
All proceeds of the show will go to childhood cancer charity, Niamh's Next Step, a charity that was set up by a father who had lost his daughter Niamh to cancer.
Niamh's Dad and co-founder of NNS, Chris Curry, says he was incredibly proud to have been chosen as the charity this year.
He says: “ I have seen for myself in the studio and via social media just how hard the kids and staff at Step by Step have worked in the build-up to Saturday’s show. They are an amazing bunch.
"Every penny raised from the event will go directly towards funding vital research into childhood cancer and helping support other children fighting Neuroblastoma which is the cancer we lost Niamh to in May 2012. We would like to thank everyone involved in helping raise money and awareness for Niamh’s Next Step.”