A Cwmbran dance team has been chosen to represent Wales at the Dance World Cup.

Starlight Dance Company, with its talented team of youngsters aged 11-15 years, will compete this summer in Prague.

Established as a dance school in 2004, Starlight now serves as a competitive dance unit, boasting candidates from notable schools like Gemini School of Dance, Appleby Dance, and Children’s Ballet Wales.

The team has contributed to Rainbow Valley Productions by choreographing and providing dancers for pantomimes over the last two decades.

Starlight will now compete globally in 12 ballet and lyrical category dances against 120,000 contestants from 65 nations.

The Dance World Cup, often termed as the 'Olympics of dance' is a yearly event, celebrated as the world's premier multi-genre dance competition.

This isn’t a new arena for Starlight.

Since 2016, the team has earned awards, including bronze, silver, and a gold medal for Classical Ballet in 2021.

Jacqui Everson, principal at Gemini School of Dance who trains many of the contestants, could not be prouder. She said: "I am so incredibly proud of the girls qualifying for the Dance World Cup finals.

"Representing Wales is such an honour, it means the absolute world to us."

Members competing for Team Wales this year include Abigail Merrett from Abergavenny; Evie Watkins, Georgina Evans and Leila Marsh, from Cwmbran; Isabella Maniatt from Newport; and Amelie Walsh, Celyn Ellis, Charlotte Jepson, Elizabeth Jepson, and Rebecca Scriven, from Pontypool.

The team is working under directors Amelia Johnson, a former Classical Ballet World Champion; Melissa Cave, an industry professional; and Ella Appleby, a professional ballerina and teacher.

However, reaching Prague requires more than just talent and determination.

Since no resources are provided for dance, the team has to organise fundraising activities for their journey.

To cover costs for entry, event admissions, team outfits, costumes, travel, and accommodation, a Justgiving Page has been created for anyone who wishes to donate.

Starlight also hosted a joint fundraiser with Piano Orchestra South Wales on April 27 at the St Hilda’s Church Hall in Griffithstown, Pontypool.

Donations are also being received from kind sponsors Polo Ground Motors Ltd, Gemini School of Dance, and Cwmbran Vale Rotary Club.

Additional sponsorship is welcomed to support these exceptional young talents realise their dream of representing Wales on an international stage.