American dream as tiny cheerleaders fly the flag for Britain

·3-min read

A troupe of tiny dancers is hoping to make history and conquer America’s cheerleading world championships if members can raise enough cash for the trans-Atlantic trip.

The Red Hot Embers, a group of 10 girls all aged between five and seven, from a dance academy in Salford, would be the first international team of their age group to compete at The Summit Championships at Disney World in Florida.

They beat the best of Britain to be crowned national champions in the ‘Tiny’ age group Pom-Pom discipline and were awarded Grand Champions for the highest score of their age category after performing at the Jamfest European Championships at the Liverpool Exhibition Centre in June.

Girls normally only compete internationally in older age groups but theirs was the third highest score out of all dance teams in the competition in Liverpool, earning them a chance for international glory in the USA.

But to fly the flag for Britain they need sponsorship, with travel and accommodation costs alone coming to more than £1,500 per member, with costumes, poms, training kit, music licences and training venues.

They hope to perform routines in pom-pom, jazz, hip hop and lyrical disciplines, being scored by five judges who give marks for synchronisation, technique, crowd appeal and choreography.

Cheerleaders
The team, left to right, Luna-Rose, Lilah and Nattaya, centre, Olivia, Millie, Erin and Amber and, front, Amelia (Red Hot Embers/PA Media)

Team members are Millie Quirk, Nyah Dalli, Blythe Partington and Scarlett Davies, all aged five, Amelie Tudor, Erin Eve Smith, Nattaya Boyle, all aged six and seven-year-olds, Amber Frame, Olivia Kennedy and Luna-Rose Glynn.

Natasha Wilde, 30, their coach and choreographer at the Studio 96 Dance Academy in Salford, said: “I think I am still in shock of what these talented little ladies have achieved this season.

“The girls often sacrifice social events such as friends’ parties to ensure they are at training which just shows their levels of dedication at such a young age.

“I couldn’t be prouder of each and every one of them”

Carmel Craddock, grandmother of Erin Eve Smith, said: “I never thought my granddaughter would be competing internationally at such a young age.”

The annual Dance Summit 2023 takes place in Coronado Springs in Orlando, Florida on 29-30 April 2023.

The Red Hot Flames Dance Academy was established in 1996 by director Suzanne Roberts, initially starting out as a side-line cheerleading team for rugby league Super League club, Salford Reds.

Initially conceived as a way to support sports teams, competitive cheerleading became a sport in its own right in 1960s American colleges and it is now estimated around 90,000 girls take part in the sport in the UK alone.

The Embers team does not want finance to be a barrier for any of the girls and is trying to raise a minimum of £5,000 to help families fund the trip.

Anyone who can sponsor the girls is asked to contribute via their GoFundMe page at: https://www.gofundme.com/f/get-embers-to-the-summit-2023-in-orlando

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