The Boathouse Ballet School awards ceremony, performed by principal Emily Francis

Young West Sussex dancers show determination to win medals and trophies during lockdown

Dancers from a ballet school near Arundel have celebrated their well-deserved success at an awards ceremony, held outside Bury Village Hall in glorious sunshine on Saturday. The Boathouse Ballet School has been taking advantage of the array of opportunities online during the past year of lockdowns and eight students accrued a staggering 83 medals and ten trophies between them, taking part in digital dance competitions from Cornwall to Colchester and London to Leicestershire.

By Elaine Hammond
Monday, 26th April 2021, 4:46 pm
Updated Monday, 26th April 2021, 5:23 pm

Emily Francis, principal, said: “When theatres closed and live festivals became an impossibility, many competitions went online, the adjudicators watching pre-recorded videos from home and providing valuable feedback to the children. Aged between five and 12, the Boathouse Ballet School students originally filmed their dances between the lockdowns but subsequently re-filmed them, taking into account the feedback they had received. As a result, some of the later videos were submitted from their living rooms, gardens and kitchens.”

Emily presented the dancers with their certificates, medals and trophies, including awards for highest mark for a ballet solo, highest mark for a duet and highest mark for a quartet. Five-year-old Tilly Levett, a pupil at Fittleworth Village School, also received her trophy for winning the Southern Dance Class Awards, which took place live on Zoom.

The whole school has fingers crossed for ten-year-old Littlehampton girl Elisa Stanciu, who has been a pupil of The Boathouse Ballet School since it opened in 2016. She is on the waiting list for a highly-contended place at the Royal Ballet School’s Summer Intensive programme.

Emily praised all her students for their excellent attendance and engagement on Zoom, enabling 11 students to reach exam standard, all passing with either distinction or merit.

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