A ten-year-old boy who attends a Driffield dance school has beaten opposition from across the globe to become a world dance champion.
Ben Van Beelen, who attends the Footworks Dance Club at Driffield School, beat more than a dozen other finalists to become the under-12 world freestyle slowdance champion in Blackpool.
And the prize means he could now go on to win a scholarship to a top dance school in London - just like the story of Billy Elliot in the flim.
But Ben, from Hornsea, is not the only success story from Footworks. Fellow pupil Connie Hayton also made it to the quarter finals in the under-10 girls’ slowdance category at the freestyle world championships last weekend.
Teacher Claire Hayton, who is also Connie’s mum, said the achievements were a brilliant way to mark the club’s 25th year.
She said: “We only entered the world championships for the first time last year so we didn’t expect to get a winner so soon. It was amazing!”
The slowdance is a style of dancing which mixes contemporary dance styles with gymnastics.
Claire set up the school when she was seventeen because she always wanted to be a dance teacher, and finds running it a challenge at times, especially while raising a family.
But she said: “It’s lovely to see the kids grow and achieve. They work very well as a team. And we have very supportive parents too, which I’m very grateful for.”
The club has around 200 members, including 35 in the competition squad. It meets four times a week mainly at the performing arts centre at Driffield School, but also at Beverley and Hornsea.
Meanwhile. Sisters Holly and Lucy Grant, from Bransburton, also gave amazing performances at the world championships, as did Libby Thomson, also from Bransburton, and Den’s sister Megan.
The championships featured a total of 145 different dance schools, including from across the country and as far afield as Ireland, Norway and South Africa.
Claire, who runs the school with her sister Charlotte Thomson, added: “Ben has got this on his Cv now and it will help him when he’s older to go for scholarships.”
The only downside is that he is not allowed to eat too many sweets and has to juggle dancing with his other passion which is football.