Borders dance teams celebrate national success in Blackpool

Young Borders dancers are on top of the world this month, having been named overall champions at this year’s Dance Challenge UK championships in Blackpool.

Wednesday, 27th November 2019, 9:46 am
Members of South Side School of Dance.

The Southside School of Dance, which holds classes in Lauder, St Boswells, Newtown and Galashiels, travelled south this month to take part in the annual competition in the Winter Gardens in the Lancashire seaside town.

The 30-strong team from the Borders and Midlothian branches of Southside joined 1,500 other dancers, including some from BBC One’s Strictly Come Dancing, filming nearby, for the weekend.

And after performing a mixture of styles including lyrical, commercial, jazz and tap, the Borders dancers picked up three heat wins and the overall contest win.

Members of South Side School of Dance.

Dance school principal Louise Squires, from Midlothian, said: “We were lucky first place in the open groups for our Red Riding Hood routine, second place for the junior group’s In the Air Tonight dance; and another second place for the senior group’s Bird Box routine.

“These accolades alone would have been cause for celebration, but to be named overall winner, as the highest-scoring school is just unbelievable!

“I am so unbelievably proud of the dancers and their teacher, Sarah Anne Ballingall, they are so talented, and it was just joyous to see their hard work and commitment rewarded this weekend.”

As the highest-scoring school they were crowned the overall UK winner and received a cash prize of £1,000.

Jennifer Shearlaw, whose 12-year-old daughter Vikki, from Earlston High School, was among the victorious party, said: “Vikki only joined Southside starlets, the competition team this year.

“The dancers and parents have been great and really made Vikki feel so welcome.

“Blackpool was a great experience, all the girls were amazing to watch and clearly had a blast.

“Both Miss Sarah and Miss Louise are completely dedicated to the dancers.”

To find out more about Southside School of Dance, visit its website, www., or search for them on