New kids on the block sights set on world championships

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Members of dance group Morse Code have shown that enthusiasm and talent can take you a long way.

The group, which formed a little over eight months ago, has set its sights on competing in the United Dance Organisation’s World Championships after a string of recent competition successes.

The crew used to be part of a dance school but took the decision to go it alone last August as its members wanted the artistic freedom to experiment with different styles and projects.

And that decision has paid off big time after its solo, duo and quad teams lifted trophies at the North East Championships in Edinburgh last November.

And in March the group was crowned the United Dance Organisation’s British Under 18 intermediate champions in Bristol.

There are now 13 members of the crew – 11 girls and two boys – all aged between 11 and 17 who are drawn from Carluke and the wider Lanarkshire area.

They meet every Wednesday and Sunday in a Motherwell church hall.

Crew members now have their sights firmly set on competing in the UDO World Championships in August at Glasgow’s SEC.

Most members also dance regularly in Glasgow with dance crews Gobylnz, Pink Acid and House of Arkiteks.

They also attend workshops across the country and work with different people to build their knowledge of dance.

Motherwell College pupil Bobilee Coull, who is studying sport and fitness and is hoping to make dance her career, explained how Morse Code came into being and why she enjoyed street dancing.

The 16-year-old said: “We were all at a dance studio but decided to leave as we wanted more freedom to pursue our own styles.

“There were originally 11 of us but we have now grown to 13. In November last year we had a championship qualifier in Edinburgh.

“It was the first time we’d all taken part as a team and every single person got placed in the solo and duo section. The team also qualified which is unusual – in fact it is quite amazing.

“I have been dancing since I was three years old and started off doing ballet.

“But I didn’t like the restrictions ballet placed on movement. You have to be very precise and hold a pose for a long time.

“It was not as flowing and expressive as I wanted to be.”

The great thing about Morse Code is that it is run by the group, with help from choreographer Holly Dunsmore.

The youngsters are allowed to express themselves in any style they chose from hip-hop to break dancing or popping.

Bobilee said: “I think some mums came up with the name Morse Code.

“It just seemed right and stands out from all the other names about. Our logo can spell out anything we want it to which is really good too.”

Being part of the dance crew gives the team a great sense of identity in a really supportive environment.

Fellow dancer Ellie Gracie (15) added: “We wanted to do something together. Morse Code dance crew is great. Everyone is very supportive and it so much fun dancing.

“I have been dancing since I was two years old and street dancing since the age of 13. It’s different from anything else I’ve done.

“You can experiment more and express yourself so much better. It is so much less restrictive than other forms of dancing.”

Ellie said dancing gave her a real focus, adding: “You can incorporate other forms of dance, such as ballet, into street dancing. It is so versatile.”

As well as training twice a week in Motherwell the crew also go to Dance Glasgow Studios on a Monday, Thursday and Friday in preparation for forthcoming events.

The next championship will be at the end of June when the group competes in the Scottish Championships at The Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow.

Ellie said: “We are getting extra training sessions at the moment and have a busy couple of months ahead of us with the World Dance Championships at the SEC.

As for what she loved about street dancing, Ellie said: “I like the fact I can express myself in the way I want to. I really enjoy that and when I am out there it is just me dancing.”

Club coach Adam McMillan added: “There are pretty amazing and they will go far, hopefully as a team, but definitely as individuals. I wish them all the very best of luck at the world championships.”