Hartlepool’s new street dance team crowned top debutants at North East competition

Lil Punkz are 16 youngsters aged 9-13 and are part of Karen Liddle’s School of Dance, York Road.

They took part in the North East’s iconic street dancing competitions held at the Beacon of Light in Sunderland last month.

Despite only being properly trained in February of this year after Covid derailed things, and with only a few weeks to rehearse, Lil Punkz claimed first place in the 12-year-old debutant category and less.

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Lil Punkz in action during the competition.

Their two-minute routine that wowed the judges was choreographed by their teacher Gil Parker, a former member of Hartlepool’s Ruff Diamond street dance crew.

Gil, 27, said: ‘This is a huge achievement for Karen Liddle’s School of Dance considering it was the first time any of these children had danced in a street dance competition before.

“We tried to set up dance teams before Covid, then it all stopped. When we came back, I decided to set up a street dance team for the children who were taking dance lessons St. Karen Liddle was really supportive of the idea.

“We did six weeks of rehearsals, which is a very short period of time, but we were able to get the routine in place in that time and finish first, which I was really pleased about.”

He added: “We have worked very hard. They were all really professional.

“I think a lot of them were quite nervous, but at the same time they were really excited to be there.

“And it was good to see the kids having fun like that.”

Gil passes on his street dancing skills in studio classes every Tuesday and Saturday with Lil Punkz meeting on Sundays to practice their routines.

After their first success at Sunderland, they will be hoping to bring home more silverware when they compete at North Shields shortly and Peterlee in July.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing what happens in the future,” said Gil, who joined Ruff Diamond when he was 17.

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