Last month our students from Berrymede Junior School won a competition called Shake It Out, which was open to all London Primary Schools. Their prize was to open the opening ceremony of the London Youth Games at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre with their dance piece.

Each September, at the start of the academic year, we invite students from years 3-6 at Berrymede Junior School to audition for the school dance crew, Eximius. We select up to 25 students who show street dance potential, and train them 1 lunchtime per week for the whole academic year. We work on technique, freestyle, they have opportunities to create, and they learn a choreographed set. Throughout the year they perform this piece at various platforms and competitions including recognised National events specifically for Primary schools.

When we told our young dancers the news that they had won the competition, they couldn’t believe it! They all know how big London Youth Games is through participating with their school in sporting events and so they were very excited and understood that this was where the hard work started. Over the next few weeks, we drilled and cleaned our piece and held extra rehearsals to make it as slick as possible.

The day of LYG came, it was an early start, meeting at 6am! The students were all so excited they were singing and laughing the whole journey in the minibus. As we arrived we see the stage set up and were called backstage for our technical run through. The space for the audience was huge, their faces lit up! Our first performance was at 10am, with 2 further performances, one for VIP guests. All performances went well and had an amazing reaction and feedback from the crowd. The students conducted themselves professionally and even reflected on each performance, thinking of how they could improve each time. Each child also received a free t-shirt and sports water bottle which they were over the moon about, they love a freebie! (Who doesn’t?)

We spent the day at Crystal Palace, watching the other performers and chilling as a group. It was great watching them interact and practice together as this was their last show of the year and we could really feel the team vibe, both on and off stage… To be a part of, and witness their progress from when they auditioned last September to now is amazing, they have all come a long way and we definitely ended this year with a bang!

We are excited to return to Berrymede Junior School this September to audition for Eximius 2017/18. If you would like to see a dance crew set up at your child’s school, or you are a school teacher who likes the sound of having a school dance crew to represent the school and the borough locally and nationally, get in touch!