Joel’s top of the hip hops

Urban Dane Project won 35 trophies at a national dancing competition at the Winter Gardens.

Urban Dane Project won 35 trophies at a national dancing competition at the Winter Gardens.

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For young Joel Roberts, dancing is a very special passion.

The Blackpool teenager, who has Downs syndrome, can sometimes find it difficult to communicate because of his condition.

But on the dancefloor, the 16-year-old can express himself like nowhere else.

And he is celebrating today after being part of a Blackpool dance troupe which cleaned up at a national streetdance competition, scooping a huge 35 trophies.

Urban Dance Project’s impressive haul from the Sanderson Streetdance Championships at the Winter Gardens includes six first place trophies, eight second place and four third place.

Some 70 dancers from the crew, based at Bispham Body Senze Gym, wowed judges at the competition on Sunday.

And it was a personal triumph for Joel, who impressed judges so much he was pulled back on to stage for special praise from Turbo Dredd, a street dancer famed for his appearance on Sky One talent show Got To Dance.

He ranked first in the Over-10s Hip Hop Solos category, despite having only danced for two months.

Dance instructor Mimi Ramsey said: “That was the highlight of the day, it was amazing.

“Turbo made a big thing celebrating Joel.

“He’s never done a competition before.

“Joel dances in our teams, they’re all a very supportive bunch of kids, he’s just one of the crew.

“I’m so, so proud of him.”

For Joel, a pupil at Highfurlong School, dance offers him a new way to express himself.

Proud mum Toni, 36, said: “I’m really proud of him, I was crying when he won.

“He’s got a real passion for dancing and always takes over dancefloors. He’s just full of joy.

“These children can achieve anything, any child is capable.”

Stephen Strain danced his way into UDP records too, taking home three first place trophies, in Under-12s Hip Hop Solos, Under-12s Duos with teammate Scott Cromby, 12, and in Parent and Child, with his instructor Mimi Ramsey, as well as a fifth place in the 7-plus Solos category.

Mimi added: “I’m very proud of him. Stephen has been working very hard – he injured his back a week before the competition so could not train, but did not let it get in the way on the day.”

Other highlights of the competition included Ryan Fenton and Lauren Jones taking first place in Adult Advanced Duos and young Lexi Kelly-Woolhouse who was first in the 5-6 Set Solos category.

Mimi said: “We definitely stole the show.

“I’m overwhelmed, ecstatic and could not be prouder of everyone at UDP.”

To join UDP, or for more information about the group, visit www.urbandanceproject.co.uk.

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