YOUNG dancers from a Guiseley academy are to compete in a world challenge in Portugal.

The budding performers are all students at the Guiseley dance school Starlight Academy and they will be part of Team England in the Dance World Challenge in April.

Nine young dancers from the academy, all aged between nine and 14, have been selected to take part in the prestigious event.

Dance school principal Melanie Hadfield-Walker said: “I am absolutely thrilled and delighted with the achievements of all of our students but this is a great opportunity for our young dancers.

We are all incredibly excited and are looking forward to the challenge. We are so proud of our students and the hard work that has been put into qualifying to represent Team England at the Dance World Challenge Finals in Portugal, April 2020.”

Starlight Academy was founded in 2008 by dance teachers Melanie Hadfield-Walker and Christine Braid. Over the past 12 years they have seen students thrive in various shows, competitions and exams. Most recently they took 54 students to dance at the Opera House in Blackpool in November last year, and entered students from age six to 20 into tap modern and ballet exams with ISTD in December where all students gained a distinction.

Starlight Academy also offer Acro exams with Acrobatic Arts, for whom Mrs Hadfield-Walker is an examiner.

In a statement the academy said: “With an already successful competition team, regularly competing across the region, this marks the first time the school has entered the Dance World Challenge and students and teachers are thrilled to have qualified for the competition in Portugal.

“This is a huge achievement as The Dance World Challenge will see Starlight Academy dancers performing solos, duets, trios and a troupe in Portugal against young dancers from all over the world including USA, Bermuda, Romania and Brazil.”

Fundraising has begun by young dancers who are arranging Bag Packing, a Dancathon and a Go Fund Me page to help raise money to be used for entry fees and costumes in Portugal.

To sponsor the dancers, contact Mel on 07973 845 208 or see their Facebook page Starlight Academy - World Dance Challenge 2020 - Team England.

The World Championships will take place in the Algarve, Portugal from April 3 to April 8. Countries taking part include England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Portugal, South Africa and Wales.

As well as competitions the event will include workshops, master classes, choreography classes and motivational speeches.