DANCERS in Blackbird Leys brought home almost 150 trophies from an international contest despite not having a permanent home to practise in.

The Messy Jam Dance School sent 55 dancers to the XM British Open street dance competition in Lincolnshire last weekend.

Competing against dancers from across the UK and Norway, the talented group – ranging from five-year-olds to adults – won 147 trophies and a medal.

And their triumph tastes even sweeter as the group had to leave its base at Jubilee 77 community centre in Sorrell Road in September, and has been on the hunt for a new home ever since.

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Organiser Sharon Peart said: “We don’t want to be split up. It’s not just dancing, there are real community and social needs at this school.

“I’m so proud of everyone to come so far and be so determined and doing so well. It’s been a real struggle and this is the biggest success we’ve ever had.”

Set up to encourage diversity and confidence in young people, the school teaches dance styles including street, commercial hip pop, breaking and basement, all of which were demonstrated at the contest.

Oxford Mail:

Blackbird Leys dance crew Messy Jam.

Miss Peart said: “It’s absolutely amazing, we were competing against the best.”

“Parents and children danced together, there were solo dancers, groups of four, pairs and eight dance teams in different age groups.”

Dancer and parent Waala Gaynor Taylor said: “My highlight was most definitely my crew coming first. It made all the aches, pains and us keeping Ibuprofen in business worth it.

“The friendly banter and appreciation from the judges and organisers made it such an enjoyable experience.”

Messy Jam’s success comes after being forced to leave their home for a third time.

Miss Peart’s daughter Ellisha originally set up the school in Barton but it moved to the Oxford Stadium on the Blackbird Leys estate in 2008 when they ran out of room.

After the greyhound racing stadium closed in 2013, the school settled in the Jubilee 77 community centre.

But in September the dance group was left homeless when academic support group IntoUniversity moved into the hall.

Miss Peart said: “Suddenly we had nowhere to train 150 children. We were literally dancing on the streets and considered closing down.”

Now the school divides its lessons between The Barn in Nightingale Avenue and evening sessions at the Jubilee centre. But they still need a permanent home for pupils to learn together.