A team of local dancers will be off to Las Vegas to represent Ireland after winning a major Hip-Hop dance event in Dublin.
The six talented and dedicated children from FADDstudios, who range in age from nine to 12, sacrificed school trips, rugby tournaments, birthday parties and put their social lives on hold while they travelled down to Dublin twice a week to train for the qualifiers.
It was all worth it last weekend when their routine blew away the judges and they were crowned winners of the Irish Hip-Hop heat.
The team, from four different FADDstudios classes, were Lile Lavery (9) from Craigavon, Thea Liggett (9) from Portadown, Rachel Forsythe (9) from Portadown, Clodagh Bawn (11) from Craigavon, Andrew Fisher (12) from Donaghcloney and Laura McKee (12) from Glenavy, but who attends school in Lurgan.
Their dance teacher Fiona Bawn-Thompson said: “There have been many injuries, many tears, sickness, and exhaustion, but these children have danced through it all.
“The tricks these kids have been able to pull off are amazing for their age. The crowd were blown away by them in Dublin, with an standing ovation on both nights.”
She added: “The work the parents have put into this is also reflected in the amount of travelling and re-arranging they have all had to make. The training alone has cost a lot of time and money, and everyone has had to sacrifice other things to be able to make this possible.
“I am completely overwhelmed by this opportunity that we have worked so hard for and I am absolutely bursting with pride. I have spent so much time with these kids that I know them inside out and feel like they’re my own. My own daughter is one of the dancers in the crew and that makes me even more proud.”
The competition, which took place at the O’Reilly Theatre in Dublin ran over two days. On the first day the crews competed for the chance to get into the finals on Sunday.
When the top seven crews got through to Sunday, they then competed for the chance to represent their country in The Worlds in Vegas.
“The Theatre was packed,” said Kiera Lavery, a parent of one of the dancers.
“The children were so nervous under the big stage lights, but really gave every ounce of energy to the performance and wowed the crowds with an epic routine that had all of the parents in tears.”
Sarah Forsythe, a parent of one of the dancers, commented: “I’m still in shock from the weekend, it has been an emotional rollercoaster and I couldn’t be prouder.
“We are working hard on fundraising ideas and need all the help we can get. These kids are representing our local community in the ‘olympics of dance’.
“It couldn’t get any bigger than this, but we need all the help and support we can get to make it a possibility. They have worked so hard with their routine, and are now planning on selling loom bracelets and raffling old toys to help us get there. If only it was that easy.
“The kids have fought hard, earned their spot, and now the only barrier is funds to get us there. But we hope to round up as much support as possible from the community, councillors and local businesses who we hope to represent in August.”
For more information on how to help, or with any enquiries, please contact Fiona on 0795 573 6929 email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.fadd.org.uk or www.facebook.com/FADDstudios