New kids on the block sights set on world championships

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Members of dance group Morse Code have shown that enthusiasm and talent can take you a long way.

The group, which formed a little over eight months ago, has set its sights on competing in the United Dance Organisation’s World Championships after a string of recent competition successes.

The crew used to be part of a dance school but took the decision to go it alone last August as its members wanted the artistic freedom to experiment with different styles and projects.

And that decision has paid off big time after its solo, duo and quad teams lifted trophies at the North East Championships in Edinburgh last November.

And in March the group was crowned the United Dance Organisation’s British Under 18 intermediate champions in Bristol.

There are now 13 members of the crew – 11 girls and two boys – all aged between 11 and 17 who are drawn from Carluke and the wider Lanarkshire area.

They meet every Wednesday and Sunday in a Motherwell church hall.

Crew members now have their sights firmly set on competing in the UDO World Championships in August at Glasgow’s SEC.

Most members also dance regularly in Glasgow with dance crews Gobylnz, Pink Acid and House of Arkiteks.

They also attend workshops across the country and work with different people to build their knowledge of dance.

One members is Ellie Gracie (15), a pupil at Carluke High School.

She said: “We wanted to do something together.

“Morse Code dance crew is great. Everyone is very supportive and it’s so much fun dancing together. We all really look out for each other.

“I have been dancing since I was two years old and been street dancing since the age of 13. It’s different from anything else I’ve done.

“You can experiment more and express yourself so much better. It is so much less restrictive than other forms of dancing.”

Ellie said dancing gave her a real focus and helped her to concentrate.

“You can incorporate some forms of dance like ballet into street dancing,” she said. “It is such a versatile way of expressing yourself.

“I like the fact I can express myself in the way I want to. I really enjoy it.”

As well as training twice a week in Motherwell the crew also go to Dance Glasgow Studios on a Monday, Thursday and Friday in preparation for forthcoming events.

The next championship will be at the end of June when the group compete in the Scottish Championships at The Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow.

Ellie added: “We’re getting extra training sessions at the moment and have a busy couple of months ahead of us with the World Dance Championships at the SEC.”

Fellow crew member Bobilee Coull from Coatbridge, who is studying sport and fitness at Motherwell College and hoping to make dance her career, explained how Morse Code came into being and why she enjoyed street dancing so much.

The 16-year-old said: “We were all at a dance studio but decided to leave as we wanted more freedom to pursue our own styles.

“There were originally 11 of us but we have now grown to 13. In November last year we had a championship qualifier in Edinburgh.

“It was the first time we’d all taken part as a team and every single person got placed in the solo and duo section. The team also qualified which is unusual – in fact it is quite amazing.

“I have been dancing since I was three years old and started off doing ballet.

“But I didn’t like the restrictions that ballet placed on movement. You have to be very precise and hold a pose for a long time.

“It was not as flowing and expressive as I wanted to be.”

The great thing about Morse Code is that it is run by the group, with help from choreographer, Holly Dunsmore. Although their mums did initially come up with the name!

The youngsters are allowed to express themselves in any style they chose from hip-hop to break dancing or popping.

Being part of the dance crew gives the team a great sense of identity and all the members agree that the environment is really supportive.

Club coach Adam McMillan added: “They’re pretty amazing and will go far, hopefully as a team, as well as individuals. I wish them all the best for the world championships.”