Young students from a Nottingham dance school have beaten thousands to win summer scholarships to New York to be trained by top US choreographers.
The six children, aged between 13 and ten, train at Simply Dance in Carlton but now need to raise £10,000 to fund their costs for the seven day event.
The cash will cover flights to New York and accommodation – they’ve already been awarded the scholarships, worth over $3,000, to take part in Liberate Artists’ Phoenix Fire 2019.
During the seven days they’ll be trained by choreographers from hit US show ‘So You Think You Can Dance’, from Broadway theatres and choreographers for US stars including Will-i-am and Lady Gaga.
The six students, Freya Barlow (13), Anastasia Rochiletti (13), Taylor Dickman (12), Charlotte Harrison (11), Evi Palmer (11) and Kobbi Dickman (10) have trained with Simply Dance founder Charlotte Davis since they were tots – some started when they were just two years old.
Charlotte put the six, known as Simply Dance Elite, forward for the scholarship after the organisers got in touch with her.
She submitted dance videos of the group and says their passion for dance, dedication and hard work is why they got picked.
The company are now asking local businesses, friends and family to dig deep and help them raise the money they need to fund the opportunity.
Simply Dance founder Charlotte Davis said: “I’m so proud of all my students and delighted that the hard-work and hours of training have been recognised.
“An opportunity like this is a once in a lifetime for any budding dancer. They’ll be trained by some of the leading US choreographers and will meet and talk to people who will give them a real insight into working as a professional dancer.
“These six students have danced with me since they were tiny – I’ve seen them fall in love with dance and move right through the company to form Simply Dance Elite.
“They’re a brilliant example of what young people can achieve if they invest the hours and energy in something they love.
“But to turn this dream into reality we’re asking local businesses, friends and family to help us out. £10,000 is a lot to raise, so we already have lots of things planned, including a wellbeing event and performances at local schools.
“We’re also hoping local businesses will sponsor us and get our fundraising off to an amazing start. We’re talking to a few already and are hopeful they’ll come on board and support the students.”
Charlotte set up Simply Dance in 2010 after qualifying from the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing.
She now teaches 230 children across the city from age two upwards. The school has its main studio in Carlton and a second base in Radcliffe.
In 2017 Charlotte qualified as a fitness instructor and teaches adult fitness and dance classes too.
She’s been awarded Young Ambassador of the Year by the Princes Trust twice and now gives inspirational talks to young people setting up their business.
Charlotte continued: “When I set up Simply Dance, I wanted to create a school where children could come and enjoy dancing without the pressure of exams. Instead my students take part in lots of carnivals, events and our own annual show every year where they can show their improvement with no stress.
“This ethos has worked. I’ve taught a lot of my girls and boys since they were two years old and they love dancing as much now as when they started.”
To donate to the Simply Dance Elite Company and help fund their New York scholarship, please visit https://www.gofundme.com/nyc-summer-dance-opportunity-for-local-school/.