World Cup glory for Lowestoft dancer

Mark BoggisWHILE the likes of Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard failed to light up the world's greatest footballing tournament, one teenager from Oulton Broad was shining on the international stage.Mark Boggis

WHILE the likes of Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard failed to light up the world's greatest footballing tournament, one teenager from Oulton Broad was shining on the international stage.

Dancing sensation Gabrielle Cocca represented England at The Dance World Cup held in Sardinia, Italy at the end of June and she finished a superb fourth place.

Taking on top talents from across the world, she was part of a six-person squad, who became the first English team to compete at this event.

Batting it out against some of the most renowned dance schools in the world, Gabby and her tea-mates took on more than 20 countries.

Undaunted, the 16-year-old - who practises dance two to three hours a night and four hours on Saturdays and Sundays - put all her hard work to good effect as she performed two solo dances of her choice.

'Gabby was so shocked and overwhelmed to have even been selected as part of the first English team to compete at this event,' her proud parents Cheryl and Dominic told The Journal.

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Picked by celebrated dance teacher Anne Tyrer, Gabby was travelled to Italy after winning national events over the past year.

'The English team had to have won national events in England to be considered,' Mrs Cocca said.

'And once Gabby was there she chose a tap solo and stage modern solo, and was over the moon when she gained fourth place.'

Gabby's world success has come after 'a very busy year'.

Having been a regular member of the June Glennie School of Dance since she was three years old, last August Gabby was the youngest tap dancer taking part in All England dance competition - the Young Tap Dancer of the Year - in London's West End.

'This competition runs over two years, where you have to enter a festival in the south of England and if you gain a high enough mark then this qualifies you for the regional finals,' Gabby said.

'From there you have to gain a honours mark which takes you to nationals and I was so pleased to qualify my ballet, tap, modern, song and dance solos and ballet and tap duets,'

Reflecting on her call-up and spending six days in Italy as part of the inaugural national team at the annual World Cup, Gabby admitted: 'It was really good. Each dance lasted two minutes and we had to dance in two different theatres - one for the day, and one at night, which was like an open air Roman coliseum.

'I didn't know what to expect but I was delighted with the fourth place,' she said.

Backed all the way by her proud parents, her family and her teachers from the June Glennie School of Dance, Beth and Sharon, Gabby added; 'I cannot thank them enough for all their time and support they have given me, especially in the last few weeks preparing for the competition and flying out to Italy to watch me perform,'

Hailing from a dancing background, Gabby's elder sister Danielle currently dances with the Atlas Theatre Group at Potters Leisure Resort and Yasmin attends the Bird College of Performing Arts in Sidcup. Her Aunt Soraya has a ballet school in Japan, which she founded after a career as a professional ballet dancer.

And having just finished her GCSEs at Benjamin Britten High School, the talented teenager will be off to study at the East Norfolk sixth form college in Gorleston before aiming to fulfil her dream of becoming a professional dancer and performing in the West End.

She is hoping to continue to shine on stage to be selected for next year's World Cup as she aims for top spot at the championships at Disneyland in Paris.