Friday, 22 October 2021

We’re world champions

FOUR young tap dancers from South Oxfordshire have been crowned world champions, writes James Burton.

FOUR young tap dancers from South Oxfordshire have been crowned world champions, writes James Burton.

Astrid Tozer, 11, and Lily Clifton, 14, both from Woodcote, Freya Leyland, 14, from Goring, and Kia Lawrence, 14, from Whitchurch, represented England at the International Dance Organisation’s world tap championships.

The girls were part of a 20-strong team that competed in the junior section of the event in Riesa, Germany.

They won gold in the formation section with a five-minute routine choreographed to Working Day And Night by Michael Jackson.

The team won a large trophy and each dancer was presented with a gold medal.

All 20 children took part dressed in business suits while their set was decorated with imitation red telephone boxes. Lily also danced a solo routine set to a scat jazz song and was placed 10th out of 45 children. She was also part of a duet in which she and her partner were placed seventh while Freya won bronze as part of a trio.

The youngsters have been studying with dance school Dance Connection, which is run by Lily’s mother Sam, since they were toddlers. They are also members of the national tap school Tap Attack, which submits candidates for the England squad.

Lily and Kia successfully auditioned for a place in Tap Attack two years ago and the other two were accepted last spring. The girls spent six months training for the five-day event, where they took part in a series of elimination rounds before the final.

Leah Davies, their teacher, said: “It was so emotional when they won. The winners were announced in reverse order and for gold, silver and bronze and they showed the winners’ shoes on a big screen for a few seconds to tease the audience.

“When the children realised they’d won, their reaction was insane. They were completely overwhelmed and just couldn’t believe it.

“For our girls to have achieved that at such a young age is incredible. They all understand the level they’re competing at and that just being able to dance for Tap Attack is wonderful in itself.

“However, it’s a lot of hard work and requires total commitment so to come home with a medal as well is fantastic. It will look great on their CV as there aren’t many children who can say they’re world champions.”

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