Young dancers take strides for top spot in Junior Strictly Oxford competition

Young dancers take strides for top spot in Junior Strictly Oxford competition

Windmill Primary School pupils Jessamyn Eddie, eight, and Tom Cox, nine, prepare their routine for Junior Strictly Oxford Picture: OX65017 Antony Moore

Andrzej Mialkowski, founder of Step by Step dance school

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Blackbird Leys and Greater Leys. Call me on 01865 425403

CHILDREN from across Oxfordshire will be putting their best feet forward in tomorrow’s Junior Strictly Oxford competition.

Twenty teams of dancers from 16 schools will compete for the top spot in the dance-off.

Hosted by Step by Step dance school in Headington, professional dancers show the schools’ teachers how to perform routines and they then teach the children.

Lynn Knapp, headteacher at Windmill Primary School, in Headington, said: “It’s been brilliant for kids who are not necessarily engaged in any team sports like football. Maybe some of them will take it up as a hobby after and it can become a life skill.

“It’s not always the children you would expect who enjoyed it the most. Teachers have been able to learn a new skill too.”

Lisa Brown, a PE teacher at Ducklington Primary School, near Witney, has been coaching the dance team there and at Witney’s Aston and Cote CofE Primary School.

Miss Brown, 27, said: “We’re trying to make dance fun, especially for boys. When you tell boys they have to dance in PE, they always groan, but we’ve managed to get eight boys from my two schools up to a good level.

“Now they are really enjoying it, which is fabulous.”

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One boy taking part, Wilfred Steane, 10, a pupil at Windmill Primary School, said: “I like it because it’s competitive and I’m quite a competitive person, so it’s more fun that way. I’ve really enjoyed it – it’s been fun.”

His friend Edward Bowles said: “I really enjoy dancing, I go to dance classes on Saturdays and it was fun to do it in school as well.”

There are more girls than boys from Windmill Primary School taking part. Leah Hudson and Queenisha Yearde make up one of the all-girl teams in the final.

Queenisha, 10, said: “Because we don’t have enough boys I have to dance with Leah, but sometimes it’s good because you get to dance with your friend.”

Leah, 11, said: “We’re wearing a green skirt, a black top and black tights – it’s pretty cool.

“I already dance quite a lot at the weekends, so I’m quite good.”

Founder of Step By Step and international dance champion Andrzej Mialkowski said: “This is a fantastic experience and an ideal opportunity for the children to learn a skill which they can take through their lives.”

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