GALLERY: Schools from Lowestoft and Beccles shine on stage at popular dance festival

THERE was hip-hop, Haka and a spot of jiving too...

Slick and polished routines were on display in Lowestoft this week as hundreds of youngsters from across Waveney showcased their talents at one of the region's biggest youth dance festivals.

Performers ranging in age from five to 18 took to the stage for the seventh annual Lowestoft and Beccles Schools Sport Partnership dance festival, held from Monday to Wednesday at the Marina Theatre.

And, for delighted organisers, this year's event proved to be of the best yet, with more than 1,000 pupils from 39 schools taking part in the show, entitled The Last Dance.

Launched as a one-day festival in 2004, before growing into a two-day celebration of dance, this was the fourth year the event had spanned three days.

More than 300 dancers took part daily, performing in 57 different routines.

Much of the hard work, planning and rehearsing the routines had been done prior to the festival.

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Each morning, the young dancers arrived at the Marina to have one last run-through of their routine on the stage.

Then it was down to performing in front of a full house during each afternoon.

Among those watching were the pupils' teachers and their proud parents.

John Hughes, manager of the schools sport partnership, said: 'This event has become the major event of our annual sporting timetable. The quality of the dances performed by the pupils shows just how much time and effort they and their teachers have put into their routines on their own school sites.

'We'd like to thank the staff of the Marina Theatre for their invaluable help over the three days.'

The routines covered a variety of genres. They included hip-hop, Haka, street dance, modern dance, cheerleading, jazz, disco, line-dancing, ballet, pop music and rock 'n' roll; all earned rapturous rounds of applause from the audience.

Mr Hughes said the dedication of the dancers and their teachers shone through. 'I would like to thank the many staff and pupils who have given up countless hours and worked so hard to prepare the dances,' he added.

Thanks to the audiences attending on each of the three afternoons, the partnership raised �750, to be shared equally between East Anglia's Children's Hospices and the World Wildlife Fund.

For more about the festival and details of the partnership's work, see

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