MOST performers can only dream of taking to the stage at the O2 in London.
But talented dancers at St Bede’s Academy have followed in the footsteps of some of the world’s best-known entertainers.
As reported in The Bolton News the 20 youngsters were given the once-in-a-lifetime experience after reaching the national final of the British Red Cross Dance: Make Your Move — an achievement made more remarkable given they were the only non-dance school in the juniors and that they entered as a bit of fundraisng fun.
But Bede’s Brigade — made up of Year Five and Six pupils, the majority of whom had not danced before — performed a seven-minute powerful, poignant and entertaining routine on the theme of World War Two and impressed judges in the local and regional heats, seeing them dance all the way to the O2’s Indigo’s stage.
They walked away with the award for enthusiasm and entertainment.
Lorraine Bentham, the school’s dance teacher and choreographer, said: “I have been teaching dance for 11 years and I have never been prouder of a class.
“They worked so hard, coming in at Easter and after school.
“We decided on the World War Two theme because the children had been studying it in class.
“The majority of the children have had no dance training prior to this, and we entered the competition as a bit of fun.
“The parents came down on a minibus and made a banner of support, which they held up. Angela Rippon was there and she said that they certainly had ‘a lot of enthusiasm’.”
The children also met Ashley Banjo from award-winning dance act Diversity.
Miss Bentham said: “As soon as they entered the arena, the children went quiet, the first time they had been silent all day because of the size.
“My legs went to jelly when I heard they were to perform there, but the children took it in their stride.”
Harry Cohen, aged 11, who told former TV newsreader Angela Rippon she was his favourite old person, said: “It was exciting performing in the O2, I enjoyed it very much.”
Iona Roservere, aged 10, added: “It was nerve-racking, and I wouldn’t look at the parents.”
Marshall Figgins, aged 10, said: “We are so proud to have been able to perform at the arena. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
Bailey Parish, aged 10, added: “It was awesome. We all did really well and remembered the dance.”
Leyton Lomax, aged 10, said: “I was gobsmacked when I found out we were going to be performing at the O2, it was nerve-racking but we were very focused. I never thought we would perform there.”