Caitlin Nelson, a 15-year-old pupil at Northumberland Church of England Academy in Ashington, has been freestyle disco dancing for three years.
The acrobatic and high-energy dance style is physically demanding and requires a high degree of fitness, flexibility and skill.
Caitlin is making her mark in freestyle disco, despite coming to it much later than most of her competitors, and her achievements in major events this year include a third and sixth place at the British Championships.
Competitions take her all over the country and, recognising her ability and commitment, North East-based manage print service provider, SOS Group, have just renewed their sponsorship of Caitlin for a second year.
Caitlin’s mum, Gayle Nelson, says: ‘We’re never in one spot for long because Caitlin works so hard. She dances or trains almost every night and at the weekend we’re at competitions.
‘It’s great to know SOS Group also have such confidence in Caitlin. We really appreciate their sponsorship and it helps us with all the travel, tuition and competition costs.
‘Caitlin’s come a long way in a short time and we’ve seen the positive effect dancing has had on her confidence and outlook.
‘She has such a great passion for dance and she’s doing all this while she’s studying at school and helping out with younger dancers, too. We’re all very proud of her.’
Freestyle disco judges mark on technique, presentation, speed and technical difficulty. Competitions are divided into two sections, the acrobatic, freestyle dance and the slower solo dance.
Andrew Skelton, a director at SOS Group, says: ‘It can often be difficult for competitors in individual sports and activities like this to find additional funds to help with training and competitions.’
‘We’re proud to continue our support for Caitlin once again this year. She’s an extremely talented and committed young lady and very deserving of support.’
Caitlin is a dancer at the Xplode School of Dance in Ashington. She would like to become a teacher and assists dance school principal, Natasha Greig, with the beginners classes.
Caitlin says: ‘Dancing means the world to me. I love it because you forget about everything else when you’re doing it.
‘I can get quite nervous before a competition but afterwards you feel like you’ve really achieved something, so it’s always worth the effort. My next goal is to become a Premier Dancer before my 16th birthday.’
SOS Group Ltd launched in 2002 to supply digital office equipment, related software and support. Based on the Team Valley, the company also has an office in Bristol and services blue chip clients nationally and, increasingly, internationally.