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Young Dagenham dancers shine at Disneyland competition

PUBLISHED: 10:00 02 March 2019

Parent Tonni Jales made this costume for the dancers to wear for one of their performance. Picture: Emma Knight.

Parent Tonni Jales made this costume for the dancers to wear for one of their performance. Picture: Emma Knight.

Emma Knight

Eight young dancers from Dagenham have succeeded at a competition at Disneyland Paris.

The Dare 2 Dance troop in the costume they wore for their winning performance. Picture: Emma Knight.The Dare 2 Dance troop in the costume they wore for their winning performance. Picture: Emma Knight.

Dance schools from all over the country, 16 in total, competed at the event. The girls, from Dare 2 Dance in Dagenham, were among the youngest competitors.

Ranging from four to nine, the majority of them were under five. Some of them had never danced by themselves before.

They won their team dance We are a Princess, a lyrical dance using ballet steps that Emma Knight, their teacher, describes as “soft and gentle”.

Madison Maun, six, won first place for her solo routine to Somewhere Over the Rainbow in the one-day contest.

Madison has been dancing since she was four and had been practicing the dance for six months before the competition.

Asked what she thought clinched the win for Madison, Emma said: “Her smile and her sparkle. She showed confidence going out there and she has beautiful technique.”

Madison also won her duet with Ivy Reece, five, where they performed choreography from the Tinkerbelle film.

Jessica-Rose O’Brien and Gracie Goddard came second in their duet, a modern dance to Mickey’s Party.

The troop also came as runners-up in multiple team and smaller classes

Emma Knight is a teacher at Dare 2 Dance on Saturdays, where students can be as young as 18 months old. She is a school teacher on the weekdays.

She has taught dance at the school for six years and began learning herself when she was three.

“They got to meet all the princesses,” she said,

“Their faces when they met their idols were amazing. It was a fantastic experience.

“The best thing was seeing the children gaining confidence to go up there and perform.

“Being of such a young age you never quite know what you’re going to get from them, but each child went up there and really tried their best and had a magical moment on stage.”

The four judges were professional dancers and were looking for personality, costume, technique, and audience enjoyments.

Dare 2 Dance’s next competition is in Clapton, but this time the school is taking 20 dancers. All eight who performed in Paris will show their skills there in July.

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