FEARLESS youngsters took on tough topics in the first round of this year’s Rock Challenge open finals.
Four schools from the Portsmouth area amazed a packed Portsmouth Guildhall audience with the variety and maturity of the issues they tackled onstage.
Showing their creativity the students chose domestic abuse, world inequality, computer games and even the Columbine High School massacre as the subjects for their dances.
And for their performance about the harrowing USA shooting, pupils from Horndean Technology College, in Waterlooville, scooped three awards and fifth place overall.
Relaxing music was punctured by the sound of terrifying gunshots as the youngsters showed children at different heights on the stage, all seeing events unfold differently.
Judges were impressed by their slick, flowing dance moves and bravery in taking on such a difficult topic.
Also successful were Mayville High School students, from Portsmouth, who based their dance on domestic violence.
They accepted a special award from the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Cllr Paula Riches, and their dance mixed vintage and modern music styles to show the timelessness of their message.
Another award-winning performance came from youngsters who go to Neville Lovett Community School, in Fareham, who also brought new and old together with their take on Tron-style science fiction.
Youngsters were transported into a vintage world of platform computer games in their colourful dance.
A showcase performance depicting the difference between the world’s rich and poor – using a monopoly board – came from Park Community School, from Leigh Park.
Next month they will take on the best schools in England as part of the premier competition, also to be held at Portsmouth’s Guildhall.
Organiser Stuart McGregor said it was amazing to think there are still four nights of open heats to go.
‘This was the most fantastic start to the competition I‘ve ever seen,’ he said. ‘There was such a mixture of emotive subjects and fun performances, and everybody did really well.
‘All the youngsters should feel proud of themselves for getting this year’s Rock Challenge off to such a great start!’