Academy celebrates success at dance and gymnastics competitions

The Dance Squad from I-star Academy at the Starpower International Talent Competition
The Dance Squad from I-star Academy at the Starpower International Talent Competition

Young people from I-star Academy, which has classes in Shoreham, Steyning and Brighton, have qualified for the World Dance Championship.

A total of 32 dancers aged eight to 20 qualified for the championship with four routines at Starpower International Talent Competition in London last weekend.

Young people from I-star Academy, which has classes in Shoreham, Steyning and Brighton, have qualified for the World Dance Championship.

A total of 32 dancers aged eight to 20 qualified with four routines at Starpower International Talent Competition in London last weekend.

Maria Foster, head coach, manager and founder, said: “We are all extremely excited and proud. We now begin the process of planning, fundraising, practising and finding sponsors to make this exciting opportunity happen.”

To add to the success, five of the academy’s rhythmic gymnastics groups have qualified for the prestigious British Gymnastics Championship at the Echo Arena in Liverpool in July.

The academy offers rhythmic gymnastics classes at Shoreham Academy, baby ballet at Steyning Methodist Church, plus dance, ballet and tap classes at Steyning Primary School.

Maria said: “We offer classes in dance and rhythmic gymnastics from recreational level for ages four-plus, just for fun and fitness, through to elite high performance level.

“We have had a great number of successes over the years, including rhythmic gymnasts competing at top level competitions such as world championships, European championships and the Commonwealth Games.

“I-star Academy is growing in size and success. We are normally quite quiet about our outstanding achievements but I think the amazing work the girls do, and have done, deserves a big ‘shout out’ and praise.”

The Dance Squad is a system the academy runs for ages five and over. They entered Starpower International Talent Competition last year with various solos, duos and group dances.

One contemporary dance piece, Cagebirds, featuring nine dancers aged ten to 19, qualified for the World Dance Championship in New York in August last year.

Maria said: “Competing against hundreds of entries to get to this stage, the girls went on to qualify for the grand final and came second overall.

“It was a fabulous experience and an opportunity the girls will never forget.”

Rhythmic gymnastics is an Olympic discipline with routines using hand apparatus like a ribbon, hoop or ball, performed to music.

“As a club, we focus on the group aspect of the sport, where five gymnasts perform together on the floor area,” Maria explained.

“The group routines are always a crowd-pleaser as the gymnasts are required to throw and catch each other’s apparatus, move and perform in sync with each other and to express the style and tempo of the music.”

Last year, the academy saw four groups qualify for the prestigious British Gymnastics Championship at the Echo Arena in Liverpool. One of the junior teams won the overall title of Junior British Rhythmic Group Champions 2015.

This year, it was even more successful in the qualifying round, with five groups going through to the British championship in July.

Maria said: “I understand that as a club, we have the biggest number of entries across the UK in group this year for the British championship.”

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