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Hundreds take part in Sunderland Schools Dance Festival

South Shields Customs House Executive Director Ray Spencer MBE with school children taking part in The 29th Sunderland Schools Dance Festival.

South Shields Customs House Executive Director Ray Spencer MBE with school children taking part in The 29th Sunderland Schools Dance Festival.

HUNDREDS of budding Billy Elliots put on their dancing shoes to showcase their talents at an annual event.

The 29th Sunderland Schools Dance Festival, with more than 400 children from 22 Wearside schools, took place at the Sunderland Empire.

Developed by the University of Sunderland’s Faculty of Arts, the students based their work on the Commonwealth Games, ahead of the event beginning in Glasgow later this month.

South Shields’ Customs House executive director, Ray Spencer, was on hand to compere the event, which attracted a 1,600 sell-out crowd.

Ray said: “Today’s experiences and the whole process will help students become great team members, it raises their confidence hugely, and it will put them in a great place for whatever they want to do in life.”

The concept was the brainchild of Lesley Younger, head of performing arts and dance at the University of Sunderland.

It originated as part of a Masters Degree dissertation into the innovation and development of dance in education. Lesley said: “The aim of this event is to celebrate dance, it’s not a competition, it is about sharing and celebrating the achievements of students in Sunderland.

“Experiences like this can give the students confidence, aspirations to possibly move into a career in performing arts, but mostly, they can feel special and share the feeling with friends and parents.”

 

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