Junior dancers’ talent sparkles like the dresses

The Oxford Times: Judges Jade Main, David Roberts, centre, and Bill Heine cast their votes.  Pictures: OX64817 Ed Nix Buy this photo Judges Jade Main, David Roberts, centre, and Bill Heine cast their votes. Pictures: OX64817 Ed Nix

IT WASN’T just their outfits that sparkled on stage but their dancing talents too.

The Oxford Times:

Members of the Glory Farm Primary School, Bicester team

As more than 300 dancers from 16 schools across the county graced the stage at Oxford’s New Theatre it was clear the months of preparation had paid off.

The Oxford Times:

Bloxham School pupils are awarded their prize

The teams were competing on Tuesday night in Junior Strictly Oxford, organised by Step by Step dance school in Headington.

Anne Leslie, teacher at Headington’s Windmill Primary School, said: “I think for a lot of the children it has been a real journey so they can be really proud of themselves.

The Oxford Times:

Teacher Anne Leslie with pupils from Windmill Primary School

“It has been great for them.”

Windmill Primary School pupils Freya Garton, eight, and Sara Khadki, nine, said they enjoyed performing.

Year three pupil Freya said: “At first it was really scary but then when I did it, it felt quite good.

“It was really fun in front of all those people.”

Year five pupil Sara said: “I liked the cha-cha-cha because it was fun.”

Eynsham Primary School teacher Angela Leggett said: “It is a really great experience for the children. It is something out of the normal school situation.

The Oxford Times:

Two dancers from Dashwood Primary School in Banburytake a bow

“They have been really excited and looking forward to coming out on stage and performing to everyone.”

Susanna Sutton, teacher at Mabel Pritchard School in Blackbird Leys, said: “The children have loved it.

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The Oxford Times:

Children from St Nicholas Primary School

“They loved practising and they learnt a new skill.”

Maureen Thompson, headteacher at Langford Village School in Bicester, said: “They won the competition last year.

The Oxford Times:

Pupils from the Langford Village School

“They were automatically put through to this final today.

“I am so proud. They are nervous but excited, it is so lovely.”

Out of the 20 teams, eight qualified for finals on July 12 in Northampton.

The winners were judged by professional dancers Jade Main and Krzysztof Grzelak, UK Latin Champion David Roberts, BBC Oxford radio presenter Bill Heine and Richard Neal, youth sport manager from the Oxfordshire Sports Partnership.

The Oxford Times:

Winners from Langford Village School

Founder of Step By Step and international dance champion Andrzej Mialkowski said: “It is a tough competition because everybody is of a high standard.

“There is a brilliant atmosphere.”

AND THE WINNERS ARE ...

THE winners of Junior Strictly Oxford 2014 are:
First place: Langford Village Primary School
Second place: Bloxham Primary School
Third place: Cropredy CE Primary School

They will be joined by five other schools at the next stage, to be held in Northampton on July 12:
Dashwood Primary School
Christopher Rawlins Primary School
Bure Park Primary School
Glory Farm Primary School
St Nicholas Primary School (team two)

Comments (16)

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9:37am Thu 6 Feb 14

mazzarapter says...

The night itself was brilliant and all 300 children looked fabulous. The teachers trained hard and put so much effort into what should have been a perfect evening but! ! It was not a fair competition. I am surprised that someone like Bill Heine allowed himself to be part it. I have always believed that competition should be fair. This was blatantly not. I am one very disillusioned reader.
The night itself was brilliant and all 300 children looked fabulous. The teachers trained hard and put so much effort into what should have been a perfect evening but! ! It was not a fair competition. I am surprised that someone like Bill Heine allowed himself to be part it. I have always believed that competition should be fair. This was blatantly not. I am one very disillusioned reader. mazzarapter
  • Score: 6

1:52pm Thu 6 Feb 14

antelle27 says...

I agree with Mazzarapter! As a parent of one of the school children involved I was so proud of my child and all of the other children that had worked so hard. The teachers had obviously invested a vast amount of time and effort in their groups. However, it was screamingly obvious that one of the schools had a very unfair advantage. The whole set up (in both aspects of the word) needs examining if this event is to happen again. In my opinion the whole thing was a blatant marketing ploy for Step by Step and a showcase for 1 certain school. That cost us as a family a lot of money to witness.

I didn't for one minute expect my childs' school to win, but no other schools stood a chance on such an uneven playing field.

Hats off to all of the teachers and children that worked their butts off and put on a lovely show and lets hope the children don't get put of competition forever as they did a great job.
I agree with Mazzarapter! As a parent of one of the school children involved I was so proud of my child and all of the other children that had worked so hard. The teachers had obviously invested a vast amount of time and effort in their groups. However, it was screamingly obvious that one of the schools had a very unfair advantage. The whole set up (in both aspects of the word) needs examining if this event is to happen again. In my opinion the whole thing was a blatant marketing ploy for Step by Step and a showcase for 1 certain school. That cost us as a family a lot of money to witness. I didn't for one minute expect my childs' school to win, but no other schools stood a chance on such an uneven playing field. Hats off to all of the teachers and children that worked their butts off and put on a lovely show and lets hope the children don't get put of competition forever as they did a great job. antelle27
  • Score: 4

5:16pm Thu 6 Feb 14

Talullahchick says...

What an amazing competition and a fabulous showcase to encourage children to dance! It was so lovely to see all of the schools and children taking part and so special for the children to be able to do this on a big stage. Every parent in the room would have been beaming with pride!

As a parent of a child from the school that won I would however like to reply to the previous comments. The Teaching assistant who also happens to be a fabulous latin dancer dedicates an enormous amount of her personal time to the school and local community. Without this kind of dedication and enthusiasm events like this wouldn't happen. The children won not because they have a 'special' teacher (although we think she is very fabulous) but because they practised so hard in their own time after school and at weekends. I am not saying that the other children did not put in the same amount of work but your comments belittle the effort that these children and teachers put into this performance. It is very disappointing that the effort the children put into this competition is reduced to petty remarks from parents.
What an amazing competition and a fabulous showcase to encourage children to dance! It was so lovely to see all of the schools and children taking part and so special for the children to be able to do this on a big stage. Every parent in the room would have been beaming with pride! As a parent of a child from the school that won I would however like to reply to the previous comments. The Teaching assistant who also happens to be a fabulous latin dancer dedicates an enormous amount of her personal time to the school and local community. Without this kind of dedication and enthusiasm events like this wouldn't happen. The children won not because they have a 'special' teacher (although we think she is very fabulous) but because they practised so hard in their own time after school and at weekends. I am not saying that the other children did not put in the same amount of work but your comments belittle the effort that these children and teachers put into this performance. It is very disappointing that the effort the children put into this competition is reduced to petty remarks from parents. Talullahchick
  • Score: 6

6:30pm Thu 6 Feb 14

mazzarapter says...

I am not reducing anyone's hard work to Petty remarks. And I have no doubt whatsoever that your child and your child's school did a fabulous job they are very talented and hard working children.
My point is that the competition itself was not on an even playing field. I am not an anonymous bitter parent. I am a very proud grandparent, my granddaughter and her school also worked very hard and the event itself was a joy to attend but I am sure that if you were one of the parents from another school you would have had a very different opinion of the competition outcome. I just hope that the powers that be look at the rules of the competition in future and ensure that everyone is on a level playing field.
I am not reducing anyone's hard work to Petty remarks. And I have no doubt whatsoever that your child and your child's school did a fabulous job they are very talented and hard working children. My point is that the competition itself was not on an even playing field. I am not an anonymous bitter parent. I am a very proud grandparent, my granddaughter and her school also worked very hard and the event itself was a joy to attend but I am sure that if you were one of the parents from another school you would have had a very different opinion of the competition outcome. I just hope that the powers that be look at the rules of the competition in future and ensure that everyone is on a level playing field. mazzarapter
  • Score: 1

6:57pm Thu 6 Feb 14

Lady Langford says...

A level playing field is a concept about fairness, not that each player has an equal chance to succeed, but that they all play by the same set of rules.

I find it very sad that parents have to use this kind of feedback and therefore reduce the hard work and effort put in by these individuals. As a parent from the school but not from the Strictly Team but from the Thriller Showcase, I can assure you that every child in the winning team had no extra advantage over any child from any other team, no previous experience, and no external interference which could have affected the ability of the dancers to compete fairly. LVS participants abided by the same rules as everyone else and I am very saddened to read these comments.
A level playing field is a concept about fairness, not that each player has an equal chance to succeed, but that they all play by the same set of rules. I find it very sad that parents have to use this kind of feedback and therefore reduce the hard work and effort put in by these individuals. As a parent from the school but not from the Strictly Team but from the Thriller Showcase, I can assure you that every child in the winning team had no extra advantage over any child from any other team, no previous experience, and no external interference which could have affected the ability of the dancers to compete fairly. LVS participants abided by the same rules as everyone else and I am very saddened to read these comments. Lady Langford
  • Score: 8

7:01pm Thu 6 Feb 14

antelle27 says...

I am sorry you feel my remarks are petty? I made comments here quite openly and have only praised the efforts of all of the children and teachers! I hope my comments are taken on board by the event organisers for future reference.

Having a British champion dancer as their teacher who just happened to be involved heavily with the event where the rest of the children where taught by their teachers who have also just learnt (and learnt very well may I add) really does not make for a fair competition. Do you not think every single child that took part had put their heart and soul into taking part?

Every child did brilliantly as I said in my first comment and the teachers did amazingly well too.

My comments were not put here to cause a cat fight but merely to voice my opinion which I know was shared with a lot of other parents on the evening.
I am sorry you feel my remarks are petty? I made comments here quite openly and have only praised the efforts of all of the children and teachers! I hope my comments are taken on board by the event organisers for future reference. Having a British champion dancer as their teacher who just happened to be involved heavily with the event where the rest of the children where taught by their teachers who have also just learnt (and learnt very well may I add) really does not make for a fair competition. Do you not think every single child that took part had put their heart and soul into taking part? Every child did brilliantly as I said in my first comment and the teachers did amazingly well too. My comments were not put here to cause a cat fight but merely to voice my opinion which I know was shared with a lot of other parents on the evening. antelle27
  • Score: 3

7:19pm Thu 6 Feb 14

Lady Langford says...

To clarify - A level playing field is a concept about fairness, that each performer has an equal chance to succeed and that they all abide by the same set of rules.

I find it very sad that parents have to use this kind of forum to feedback as the this really does reduce the hard work and effort put in by the performers themselves. Lets remember that its the children that competed not the teachers!
I do agree that Step by Step were heavily featured but lets be realistic, if it wasn't for them there would be no event as they train all the teachers from all the participating schools to then go on and train the children! By encouraging the children to dance - is that really such a bad thing?

As a parent from the group that performed the Thriller Showcase and not the Strictly team, I can assure you that every child in the winning team had no extra advantage over any child from any other team, no previous experience, and no external interference which could have affected the ability of any of the dancers to compete unfairly and therefore every rule was adhered too.

I am very much hoping that my daughter will be in the schools Strictly team next year and I can assure you she has no experience apart from Zumba which she loves, all she knows about ballroom dancing is from watching others perform - LVS participants abided by the same rules as everyone else and I am very saddened to read such unfair comments.
To clarify - A level playing field is a concept about fairness, that each performer has an equal chance to succeed and that they all abide by the same set of rules. I find it very sad that parents have to use this kind of forum to feedback as the this really does reduce the hard work and effort put in by the performers themselves. Lets remember that its the children that competed not the teachers! I do agree that Step by Step were heavily featured but lets be realistic, if it wasn't for them there would be no event as they train all the teachers from all the participating schools to then go on and train the children! By encouraging the children to dance - is that really such a bad thing? As a parent from the group that performed the Thriller Showcase and not the Strictly team, I can assure you that every child in the winning team had no extra advantage over any child from any other team, no previous experience, and no external interference which could have affected the ability of any of the dancers to compete unfairly and therefore every rule was adhered too. I am very much hoping that my daughter will be in the schools Strictly team next year and I can assure you she has no experience apart from Zumba which she loves, all she knows about ballroom dancing is from watching others perform - LVS participants abided by the same rules as everyone else and I am very saddened to read such unfair comments. Lady Langford
  • Score: 10

7:22pm Thu 6 Feb 14

Lady Langford says...

Lets remember that its the children that competed not the teachers!
Lets remember that its the children that competed not the teachers! Lady Langford
  • Score: 8

7:37pm Thu 6 Feb 14

mazzarapter says...

I, am saddened by the fact that as parents you feel it necessary to justify how hard your own children have worked. All the children worked hard and all the teachers gave of their own time and energy. If a person is unable to see the obvious flaws in the system then the argument is futile. I have contacted the organisers and I am making my views known in the correct way. Winning a competition doesn't make you a better person. Langford School had an unfair advantage. That is a fact. Had I realised from the outset that my Grandaughters school would be put in an impossible position I would have made sure that my granddaughter knew that from the start and was not left confused and tearful. I congratulate Langford School on their continued success, but I stand by my right to question the system.
I, am saddened by the fact that as parents you feel it necessary to justify how hard your own children have worked. All the children worked hard and all the teachers gave of their own time and energy. If a person is unable to see the obvious flaws in the system then the argument is futile. I have contacted the organisers and I am making my views known in the correct way. Winning a competition doesn't make you a better person. Langford School had an unfair advantage. That is a fact. Had I realised from the outset that my Grandaughters school would be put in an impossible position I would have made sure that my granddaughter knew that from the start and was not left confused and tearful. I congratulate Langford School on their continued success, but I stand by my right to question the system. mazzarapter
  • Score: 2

11:38am Fri 7 Feb 14

william12 says...

The winnng team were by far the better presented appearance wise, had no doubt practicesd more , were very good with the dances.Given a mid show dance slot.Yes i believe they had an unfair advantage the teachers knew exactly what was reqiured to win this hence the 12 scores by all judges. As for the teacher being involved with the school and show , people have there own opinion..It is a pity that a show for children has been overshadowed by this would i say conflict of interest.
The winnng team were by far the better presented appearance wise, had no doubt practicesd more , were very good with the dances.Given a mid show dance slot.Yes i believe they had an unfair advantage the teachers knew exactly what was reqiured to win this hence the 12 scores by all judges. As for the teacher being involved with the school and show , people have there own opinion..It is a pity that a show for children has been overshadowed by this would i say conflict of interest. william12
  • Score: 7

9:41pm Fri 7 Feb 14

presley77 says...

I am the proudest parent and would have been proud even if my daughter's team had not won! I feel so angry that that such bitter and twisted comments have been expressed on here. At the end of the day, this competition is all about the children and their love of dancing, hard work and dedication to it. Life is competition and we **** foot around nowadays trying to say that everyone is a winner. The fact of the matter is that we have been blessed to have a wonderful person working at our school, who has been kind enough to teach our children out of her own time. We have not paid her and I feel really angry that you feel it is acceptable to to make these comments without getting the facts straight first. We as parents from Langford commented on the night that there was tough competition from the other schools and it was never "set in stone" that they were going to win! I was bursting with pride and still would have felt like that even if they came last!!! Each school had brilliant dancers and you could see that each and every child had the enthusiasm and willing to work. Jealousy has tainted a wonderful night.
I am the proudest parent and would have been proud even if my daughter's team had not won! I feel so angry that that such bitter and twisted comments have been expressed on here. At the end of the day, this competition is all about the children and their love of dancing, hard work and dedication to it. Life is competition and we **** foot around nowadays trying to say that everyone is a winner. The fact of the matter is that we have been blessed to have a wonderful person working at our school, who has been kind enough to teach our children out of her own time. We have not paid her and I feel really angry that you feel it is acceptable to to make these comments without getting the facts straight first. We as parents from Langford commented on the night that there was tough competition from the other schools and it was never "set in stone" that they were going to win! I was bursting with pride and still would have felt like that even if they came last!!! Each school had brilliant dancers and you could see that each and every child had the enthusiasm and willing to work. Jealousy has tainted a wonderful night. presley77
  • Score: 9

9:51pm Fri 7 Feb 14

mazzarapter says...

I am not bitter. I am certainly not twisted. I am an intelligent and well informed adult. I would never belittle any child's effort and I do not believe in the "everyone should win" theory.
But I do believe in honesty and fairness. I will not be making any further comments as it only goes to fuel bad feeling. I am well aware of how this whole episode looks and I hope all the children and the teachers continue to enjoy their chosen activity.
I am not bitter. I am certainly not twisted. I am an intelligent and well informed adult. I would never belittle any child's effort and I do not believe in the "everyone should win" theory. But I do believe in honesty and fairness. I will not be making any further comments as it only goes to fuel bad feeling. I am well aware of how this whole episode looks and I hope all the children and the teachers continue to enjoy their chosen activity. mazzarapter
  • Score: 0

10:49pm Fri 7 Feb 14

Deaf2705 says...

I to attended the Strictly at the New Theater. I am neither a parent or grandparent of any child completing, I'M just a member of 'Joe public', whom saw the dancing advertised & thought I would go along & watch with my daughter (not at any of the schools either).
I purchased a drink, program & then found our seats. Once seated, I read through the program & my first thoughts were, this is looking like it might be a "showcase" for a dance school or Langford school.
Indeed from what I witnessed, all schools were well turned out, looking lovely in their dresses, bow-ties etc. The children all seemed happy & enjoying their dancing once upon the stage. However Langford school stood out like they had received professional dance lessons for a few years (yes they were superb), they were so good, it would be like pitting your village Sunday football team up against Man Utd.
Level playing field... NO
Competition is healthy but Langford were so far ahead (& I expect they had had lessons for years) the others stood NO chance of winning.
Langford should have shown their talents of course they should but only as did the professional dancers (whom were good).
After the show I caught the Park & Ride bus back, there were parents from at least 4 different schools stood at that stop (easy to tell, as different costumes on the kids). EVERY single parent was saying how well those kids did up there but the loudest noise was their complaining about the "total unfairness" of Langford whom were almost professional dancers..
The whole event (apart from that singer) was fantastic but as for a level field ... NO... it was just plain unfair on the other schools
I to attended the Strictly at the New Theater. I am neither a parent or grandparent of any child completing, I'M just a member of 'Joe public', whom saw the dancing advertised & thought I would go along & watch with my daughter (not at any of the schools either). I purchased a drink, program & then found our seats. Once seated, I read through the program & my first thoughts were, this is looking like it might be a "showcase" for a dance school or Langford school. Indeed from what I witnessed, all schools were well turned out, looking lovely in their dresses, bow-ties etc. The children all seemed happy & enjoying their dancing once upon the stage. However Langford school stood out like they had received professional dance lessons for a few years (yes they were superb), they were so good, it would be like pitting your village Sunday football team up against Man Utd. Level playing field... NO Competition is healthy but Langford were so far ahead (& I expect they had had lessons for years) the others stood NO chance of winning. Langford should have shown their talents of course they should but only as did the professional dancers (whom were good). After the show I caught the Park & Ride bus back, there were parents from at least 4 different schools stood at that stop (easy to tell, as different costumes on the kids). EVERY single parent was saying how well those kids did up there but the loudest noise was their complaining about the "total unfairness" of Langford whom were almost professional dancers.. The whole event (apart from that singer) was fantastic but as for a level field ... NO... it was just plain unfair on the other schools Deaf2705
  • Score: -1

11:00pm Fri 7 Feb 14

Talullahchick says...

Deaf2705 who conveniently is impartial??? The children have had two months of practice just like all of the other children in the competition. I am so disgusted with the views put on here that 9 and 10 year olds who worked so hard and are certainly not professionals nor have practiced for years and being talked about in this way. You truly should be ashamed of yourselves.
Deaf2705 who conveniently is impartial??? The children have had two months of practice just like all of the other children in the competition. I am so disgusted with the views put on here that 9 and 10 year olds who worked so hard and are certainly not professionals nor have practiced for years and being talked about in this way. You truly should be ashamed of yourselves. Talullahchick
  • Score: 12

9:04am Sat 8 Feb 14

Junotops123 says...

Oh dear, oh dear!! Before slating and criticising people need to get their facts straight. To start with Langford Village School are not the only school who have staff that also attend Step by Step Dance School and have taught their pupils to dance. There was a lot of high quality dancers there and I personally never thought it was a foregone conclusion as to which school would win. I had my favourites and was jolly surprised that some of them weren't in the "dance off" including The Christopher Rawlins and Appleton Schools who I thought were both excellent. I'm no expert but thought the CR school danced almost the same routine as LV. As far as I'm concerned the biggest shame was that Step by Step made it into a competition. I have a daughter who has danced for many years and enjoys an annual show at Oxford enjoying the experience of being on the big stage. If you have gripes then this should be with the organisers rather than against the CHILDREN that danced and thoroughly enjoyed themselves ... ALL of them regardless of the school they attend, the outcome of their team or their ability to dance!!!
Oh dear, oh dear!! Before slating and criticising people need to get their facts straight. To start with Langford Village School are not the only school who have staff that also attend Step by Step Dance School and have taught their pupils to dance. There was a lot of high quality dancers there and I personally never thought it was a foregone conclusion as to which school would win. I had my favourites and was jolly surprised that some of them weren't in the "dance off" including The Christopher Rawlins and Appleton Schools who I thought were both excellent. I'm no expert but thought the CR school danced almost the same routine as LV. As far as I'm concerned the biggest shame was that Step by Step made it into a competition. I have a daughter who has danced for many years and enjoys an annual show at Oxford enjoying the experience of being on the big stage. If you have gripes then this should be with the organisers rather than against the CHILDREN that danced and thoroughly enjoyed themselves ... ALL of them regardless of the school they attend, the outcome of their team or their ability to dance!!! Junotops123
  • Score: 12

7:32pm Sat 8 Feb 14

tiggertom says...

I am a parent and my daughter loves dancing, she was not in the show and goes to none of the schools. I thought they all danced beautifully and were all very talented.
To all the parents complaining of un-level playing field, would you be complaining if it was your school that had a professional dance teacher? I don't think so.
You as parents are suppose to be teaching your child that it is the taking part that is important, how are they suppose to learn that if they hear you complaining just because one school has a more qualified teacher than others.
I am sure that each school has a selection of teachers that are all talented in different areas, had the competition been for something different and another school had won, would you still be complaining? All people, including yourselves are talented in one particular area, we are not all experts in everything.
The children worked hard, this was evident in their dancing, if they chose to practice hard in their spare time then that is up to them and their teacher. Regardless of whether the teacher is a professional dancer, it was the children that won the competition, they would not have won if they didn't listen, practise and pay attention her instructions.
Leave the poor children and the very talented teacher alone with your petty comments. Surely the teacher should be praised for an outstanding ability to not only dance but to teach as well.
I am a parent and my daughter loves dancing, she was not in the show and goes to none of the schools. I thought they all danced beautifully and were all very talented. To all the parents complaining of un-level playing field, would you be complaining if it was your school that had a professional dance teacher? I don't think so. You as parents are suppose to be teaching your child that it is the taking part that is important, how are they suppose to learn that if they hear you complaining just because one school has a more qualified teacher than others. I am sure that each school has a selection of teachers that are all talented in different areas, had the competition been for something different and another school had won, would you still be complaining? All people, including yourselves are talented in one particular area, we are not all experts in everything. The children worked hard, this was evident in their dancing, if they chose to practice hard in their spare time then that is up to them and their teacher. Regardless of whether the teacher is a professional dancer, it was the children that won the competition, they would not have won if they didn't listen, practise and pay attention her instructions. Leave the poor children and the very talented teacher alone with your petty comments. Surely the teacher should be praised for an outstanding ability to not only dance but to teach as well. tiggertom
  • Score: 10

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