A DANCE school saw nine students become finalists and one a waltz champion at its first ever national competition.

This year was the first time Ballroom Business in Dovercourt entered the regional qualifying competitions and 26 dancers made it into the National Grand Finals in Blackpool.

Teacher Chloe Carmen said: “They had the most amazing time competing at the home of ballroom dancing in Blackpool.

“A dream come true for these aspiring young dancers.

“I’m so unbelievably proud of each and every one of the students who are so talented and dedicated to their training.

“It was a great weekend and they had some amazing results and we also brought home a UK Champion in the Under 12 category.”

Lexie Smith, aged 12, who qualified for the competition when she was 11, won the Primary Social Dance Waltz.

Mum Katie Smith: “We are so unbelievably proud of Lexie and this fantastic achievement.

“Lexie has been dancing for about four years, competing for only 18 months. She will dance anytime, any place.

“Since starting Ballroom Business her confidence has grown so much, she believes in herself.

“She has made so many lovely friends and has the best relationship with her teachers.

“Winning this means so much to her and we now look forward to what the future holds for our beautiful ballroom dancer.”