Hundreds of dancers compete at Holt’s Auden Theatre for a place in the All England dance competition finals

More than 350 dance students showed off their performance skills at a weekend-long dance festival with the hope of qualifying in a bi-annual national competition heat.

Organised by the Cromer and North Norfolk Festival of Music, Dance and Speech, a total of 16 dance schools from Norfolk and Suffolk gathered at the Auden Theatre on the grounds of Gresham's School in Holt to gain a place in the All England competition.

Dance organiser Pasty Durrant said: 'We are just one heat in Norfolk and it takes two years to complete the competition.

'They had to achieve an honours, distinction or commended to move on to the next heat which will held at Welwyn Garden City next year from May.'

Two bursaries were also awarded to the most promising dancers from a junior section (aged 11 and under) and senior section (aged 12-21).

The junior award is given by Cromer and Sheringham Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society and the senior award by the Rotary Club of Cromer and Sheringham.

'It means money to go on to help them with further events and training,' Mrs Durrant said.

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This year's winners were senior Holly Tuxford, of the June Glennie School of Dance in Suffolk, and junior Sophie Cox, of Footlights Dance Centre in King's Lynn.

If successful in the next heat both girls will go on to the finals held in London's West End in August 2013.

Mrs Durrant said: 'They were all beautifully costumed and groomed and the teachers had spent a lot of time on their appearance. They all go on to do such great things and some of them go on to the high academies of dance, good colleges and shows.'

All 368 performers were adjudicated by freelance dance teacher and choreographer, Laura Symonds, who trained at the Royal Ballet School and is a former choreographic cup winner in the All England competition. She will also be on the 2013 All England dance competition panel.

? Anyone interested in supporting the festival by volunteering, including being a steward for next year's dance festival, please contact the chairman Mrs Best by calling 01263 511489.