Nuffield Health Cardiff and Vale Hospital is sponsoring the junior and senior  2021 Elite Squad jackets which Team Wales intend wearing for the upcoming Dance World Cup  finals in July. A member of the physiotherapy staff at the leading independent hospital, whose daughter and niece are part of the junior squad of Cardiff’s Dance Centre, brought the spotlight to bear on the impressive Team Wales representation.

The 2021 Dance World Cup (DWC) is due to involve 62 countries and 120,000 competitors. Last year it was postponed and this year qualification was via video entry. The Dance Centre has achieved finalist status in 10 categories, involving 25 Welsh dancers. The finals are timetabled into dance categories live-streamed and performed in front of professional judges and there are pro-workshops for the dancers throughout the week.

Some of the Junior Squad

Established in 2008, The Performance Centres in Cardiff are home to both The Dance Centre and The Stage Centre for Performing Arts, with classes from age 3 to 21 plus some adult dance fitness courses. The Elite Junior (approximately 7-12 years of age) and Senior Squads (up to 18) are selected on the basis of outstanding ability and passion for dance. The three main dance disciplines required are ballet, tap and modern and many of the dancers also do weekly contemporary and street dance classes, with some also training in musical theatre.

Artistic Director, Christina Michelle Richards said, “Nuffield Health’s support for us for this international event means so much to the Squads, especially in this unprecedented time. It underlines the students’ worth, talent, hard-work and determination to succeed and thrive in what they love, despite the pandemic. For us, it also provides recognition as a Company and to the value of our commitment to our students’ training and wellbeing. Both physical and mental wellbeing and how the Arts can really support this, is something we feel very passionate about at the Centres. I do a lot of work with the Arts in Mental Health for young adults. Nuffield Health coming on board as a sponsor is a really wonderful acknowledgement linking these two important areas.”

In Braga, Protugal in 2019 with the Senior Duo: [Left to right] Emma Greene (Tutor & Choreographer) Seren Davies, Jessica Vale with Christina Michelle Richards (Artistic Director).
 Jessica Veale, Senior Squad and Senior Duo, commented, “Having the chance to represent Wales in 2019 was such an amazing experience, I enjoyed every moment. To make the final again in 2020 was wonderful but obviously COVID meant the final was postponed. We were devastated. I feel so lucky and proud to be given the opportunity to do it this year. I can’t wait to share my passion for Dance and all of our hard work in the training room, with people from all over the World. DWC 2021 can’t come soon enough!”

After a Summer term online, covid policies and procedures were instituted when face to face classes recommenced in the Autumn to keep the dancers safe. The students adapted and were very supportive of each other. Choreography had to give way to social distancing and this presented its own challenges and limitations to what the dancers could do. For the Spring term they have been online again which is disadvantageous; for over a year they haven’t competed in public and rarely been together in person.

Seren Davies and Jessica Vale in training, and in the 2019 Kit, as the Senior Duo in Tap and Show Dance

The Performance Centres, based in Bute Street, are focused on training and creating all- round performers, supported through formal accredited examinations. With strong industry links and a professional team of exceptional tutors, students are encouraged in the direction to which they are most suited. Those who are most able are supported to pursue a Conservatoire Higher Ed training when they leave.

Christina Michelle Richards added, “Our most recent success story is Jac Yarrow who was with us from the age of 10 years old at Stage and Dance. On gaining his degree place, Jac was sponsored and mentored by us through his Arts Ed training when he left and then he was cast as Joseph in the 2019 revival of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat at the London Palladium. He is due back there this Summer, fingers crossed. He was nominated for an Olivier Award as Best Actor in 2020 and most recently was seen on BBC1 in ‘Musicals: The Greatest Show’. Jac is now a Patron of the Centres”.

Hospital Director, Nuffield Health Cardiff and Vale Hospitals, Rob Thomas said, “As part of the UK’s largest Healthcare Charity, we strongly embrace our local community responsibility and we are proud to support our friends in Team Wales at the Dance World Cup. The resilience that the dance students have shown and their determination to continue to compete at the highest level are both absolutely admirable. Both physical and mental health in the current climate is so important. Giving youngsters something to strive for such as the DWC is a real life-line when so much else has been put on hold. Nuffield Health is delighted to be part of the Team Wales sponsorship line-up and wishes them all the very best for the July Dance World Cup and beyond.”

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