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Students dance their way to global success

The girls became world champions.
The girls became world champions.

Two girls from Featherstone have been crowned world champions in freestyle dancing.

Charley Hall and Poppy Whittaker, both 16, danced away with the trophy for under 18 Champion Pairs, making them the best freestyle disco dance pair of their age in the world.

Freestyle is based on the John Travolta film Saturday Night Fever, and features big hair, crazy costumes, and lots of splits and flips.

There were around 1,000 dancers in the competition, from South Africa, Norway, and the UK, dancing in several different categories.

Poppy also received the runner-up prize for her flow solo, while Charley took fifth place for both fast and flow solo categories.

The competition was held over three days at the Blackpool Winter Gardens, and was hosted by Anna Jones, who is considered the 'godmother' of freestyle dance.

The girls, who both attend St Wilfrid’s Catholic High School in Featherstone , have both been training at the Dance Factory in Rotherham for six years, and this was their first time at the world championships.

Headteacher at St Wilfrid's Helen Gilroy, said: "Both girls have worked extremely hard and competed against countries from all over the world. It's an outstanding achievement."

Michelle Wainwright, head of dance at St Wilfrids, said: "I'm really pleased for them, they've trained hard from a young age and now they're world champions, it's fantastic."

Poppy, who hopes to have a career on stage following her A-levels in dance and psychology, said: "It was amazing, I feel really proud. It was really unexpected."

Charley would also like to expand her success to a career in dance, but she is pragmatic. She said: "I'm doing A Levels in biology, chemistry, and English literature.

"I want to go to medical school and be a doctor. I would like to be a dancer full time, but with dance anything can happen, you can get injured, you just don't know, so that's why I'm sticking to my A-levels for now."