Trio show they are ‘top of the taps’ at national dance-off

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  • Young dancers win gold in national competition
  • Three girls are happy with their success
  • Their dance teacher says she is ‘very proud’
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WHAT they lack in years they more than make up for in talent.

This young trio of dancers have tapped their way to success in the All-England Dance Competition, making them very happy and a lot of family members very proud.

From left, Renee Saunders, Phoebe Bannam-Smith, and Evelyn Tagg

From left, Renee Saunders, Phoebe Bannam-Smith, and Evelyn Tagg

Phoebe Banham-Smith, seven, of Paulsgrove and North End girls Evelyn Tagg, nine, and Renee Saunders, 10, all came top of their class at the national dance-off, which was held in London.

Evelyn, who has just had a birthday, won the solo tap category for ages seven and eight, as well as a duet category with Renee.

Evelyn said she had always loved dancing.

She said: ‘Technically I’ve been dancing all life, since I was in a buggy.

Technically I’ve been dancing all life, since I was in a buggy

Evelyn Tagg

‘But seven years ago I started to dance intensely and do classes.

‘I like to take part and just have some fun with what I like to do best.’

Phoebe competed in the solo category for ages six and under, and was declared the winner by the judges unanimously.

She said: ‘I won a medal and I came first and all five judges made me first.’

Phoebe has been dancing for longer than she can remember.

She said: ‘I was dancing when I was one.

‘I like winning trophies and medals and most importantly I loved winning the finals. It’s a bit difficult but it’s fun.’

Renee was Evelyn’s partner in the winning duet.

Renee said she was thrilled with their success.

She said: ‘All five judges didn’t put us first but we still came first.

‘It felt great – really good. I like to be able to dance with my friends. I really enjoy dancing.’

The girls all attend the Portsmouth-based Abigail Talmondt Dance Academy, which 23-year-old Abigail started about a year ago.

Abigail, from Cosham, said she was very proud of the girls, who competed against others from across the country.

She said a key skill in tap was remembering all the steps in a routine, which usually involved a lot of ‘fast and furious’ movements.

Abigail said: ‘It’s a big achievement.

‘They’ve put in a lot of work to get there, and they practise lots.

‘They enjoy being on stage and they like to perform.’