AN Oxfordshire dance school waltzed its way to success at a national championship.

Wantage’s American Dance School (ADS) – which opened just two years ago and only started competing in dance events a year ago – took a pair of prizes at the Ultimate Dance Showcase UK (UDS) in Chesham.

The school was crowned ‘National Competitive’ winners, with one of the three performers also grabbing the ‘Mr UDS UK’ title last weekend.

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As well as winning both prizes, Leo Thrower, 17, has also scooped a Northern Ballet scholarship.

The talented teen, who wants to become a ‘successful dancer, singer and actor’, explained: “It was an incredible experience.

“ADS has been so supportive in helping me to build contacts and improve as a performer – being scouted by Mark Hindle to later earn a place at the Northern Ballet school in Manchester being one of the many things they have helped me with.”

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ADS, which has more than 100 students, offers all styles of dance and trains dancers for careers in the performing arts.

Within its first season, it has competed in 19 contests ranging from solos to large productions all across the country and been invited to dance in America and at the Dance World Pageant, picking up various awards along the way including winning this years Didcot’s Got Talent.

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Explaining the journey of the school’s competitive dance team, director and owner Jillian Clipsham said: “The team competed in regional heats in Liverpool and Birmingham, in which four routines received the highest scores making them regional winners.

“From regionals, we were invited to the finals, a national competition in Chesham against some of the top schools from London and all over the United Kingdom.”

She continued: “We became the highest scoring national, competitive winners with our dance The Book of Mormon (by) a boy trio which wowed the judges and audience with their talent, charm and performance.”

The dance was performed by Leo, Dominic Baker, 16, and Sam Bridle, 11 and choreographed by Mrs Clipsham.

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Heaping praise on her star performer, she continued: “Leo had to go through a series of interviews and workshops, as well as being judged on his solo against other talented males from all over the country.

“We are so excited for his journey ahead.”

Sam added: “It went so well, and I was lucky to dance with Dominic and Leo in Book of Mormon which won the final – it was great.”

The King Alfred’s Academy-based school will hold its second recital at the Beacon in Wantage on Sunday, December 15.

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Ahead of the local performance, a team from ADS is also set to compete in its first competition of the new season in October – a regional contest in London called Earth, Wind and Fire.

Students will then travel to an international competition near Barcelona, in Spain, to compete in April 2020.

ADS is set to reopen after a break for the summer holidays in early September and is still accepting new students for Baby Ballet, Ballet, Pointe, Jazz, Musical Theatre, Hip Hop, Commercial, Contemporary and Acrobatics classes.