Preston dance troupe grab second place in world championships

Penwortham-based group DLN Dance have represented England in online world championships during the pandemic and have been awarded second place against teams from Japan, Spain and China.

Tuesday, 1st September 2020, 12:30 pm
The DLN Dance group came second in the Under 14s world Championships

It was just last November that 19-year old Demi-Leigh Naylor became the proud owner of DLN Dance, one of Preston's more successful up-and-coming dance schools.

Now, amid the Covid-19 Pandemic, her team has gone from strength to strength, being awarded second place in the UDO World Championships.

Members of her troupe have also scored third, fourth, fifth and seventh place in the world, battling against their relevant age groups in multiple challenging rounds.

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The former Fulwood Academy High School student said: "In such a short space of time we have achieved so much, we have done amazingly and didn't expect it. I set up on my own just last November and have been training all throughout lockdown with daily classes to take on this world championship.

"We found out that it would take place online this year, so continued training in our social bubble every day. We really didn't know what to expect from it at first, so I still can't really believe it. Our youngest member is Rose, she's five years old and came seventh in the world in the under six category after battling through rounds and the semi finals."

Since the Covid-19 pandemic hit, Demi-Leigh adapted her lessons by taking them to video chat service Zoom and said she felt 'overwhelmed' by the group's continued efforts.

Raised by her grandmother, Pamela Naylor, Demi had a 'rough time' at school and felt as though she was on 'a path to nowhere'.

Her determination and passion for dance soon changed that, leading her to form her own dance group and rehearsing at Vernon's Sports club in Penwortham.

And now, assisted by teachers Grace Horn and Ellie Hilton, Demi has a number of dance teams and talented individuals who have previously qualified for for various European and world championship street dance competitions.

"They all beat dancers from all over the world. The level of talent in these competitions is unreal so we are still all overwhelmed, we didn't expect any of it," she said.

"Of course, our aim was to become world champions but in such a short space of time, we've still done amazingly. I am constantly giving the children praise because they just don't stop training. I haven't had time to breathe and process it all yet."

The UDO Championships were streamed online between August 27 and August 30, and included dancing based on video entries that were submitted and judged by a panel.

Starting her own dance school at the ripe age of 18 was a significant jump for Demi - but it has brought her more success and opportunity.

She said: "The school we used to train at didn't give the children the competitions or the experience they needed. Since last year, owning my own group has opened a lot more doors and experiences, such as the world championships.

"At the start of lockdown, I hadn't been running DLN dance for long so I was concerned, but my dancers and their mums were loyal to me and continued with lessons and continued pushing. They are my family."