6 Apr 2010

Choreographer and backing dancer Elliot Bodman from Pontypridd returned to his roots this week, swapping the X Factor tour and JLS for Ferndale Community School.

As part of the Sports Council for Wales’ 5x60 programme, which is encouraging youngsters across Wales to become hooked on sport for life, over 30 girls from the school formed their own dance groups and choreographed their own routines to win the chance to produce and star in their own dance video.Girls dancing

While winners ‘Unfaced’ shot their video at the Boiler House Studios in Cardiff this week, the rest of the girls who took part also got a taste of the big time by attending a workshop led by Bodman, who has also starred in music videos for Alesha Dixon and Jedward.

The X Factor dancer comments on his time in Pontypridd and how beneficial the 5x60 project could be for the girls involved:

"Even though I love coming home to Pontypridd it brings back quite bad memories as I was bullied quite badly at school for being so into my dance; I was more interested in Michael Jackson than rugby or football! But I’m so pleased that I continued with my passion against the odds and ignored everybody that told me I wouldn’t make it otherwise I wouldn’t be where I am today."

"Giving youngsters the opportunity to dance and to diversify into different forms of activity is so important as not everyone likes the same things and I think it’s great that these girls have taken the time to choreograph their own routines; they’ve shown a real passion for dance and I hope they continue with it."

Mirror action shotThe girls at Ferndale showed such a passion for dance that all the groups that competed against each other will now be coming together to form ‘Laces Dance Academy’ which will be based at Ferndale Community School and providing girls in the area the chance to take to the floor on a regular basis.

James Vale, the 5x60 Officer at Ferndale Community School comments on the competition and the future for the girls:

"The dance competition has been a massive hit in Ferndale, we had up to 30 pupils practising hard on a weekly basis, several of whom have never taken part in 5x60 activities before. The standard was really high and some of the ideas the girls came up with were amazing."

"The girls can’t wait to get started with ‘Laces Dance Academy’ when they get back from their Easter break. From a 5x60 point of view it has been great to see so many girls taking part in a school where girls participation in sport and physical activity doesn’t quite measure up to the boys."

Daniiele Rosser, a pupil from Ferndale and one of the girls making the most of Elliot’s workshop comments on the competition and her future in dance,

"The competition was so much fun and has really made me realise how much I love to dance. Meeting Elliot has been really inspirational and has made me realise that all it takes is to be seen in the right place at the right time; his success could happen to any of us."

"I can’t wait to get started with our dance academy, hopefully we’ll be able to work with a lot more people like Elliot in the future and make up lots more routines!"X Factor

Launched in October 2006 and supported by a £7.6million investment by the Welsh Assembly Government, the 5x60 programme is run locally by Rhondda Cynon Taff County Borough Council and is helping to ensure that secondary school pupils are undertaking 60 minutes of sport and physical activity five times a week.

Chair of Sport Wales, Professor Laura McAllister, comments:

"One of the winning formulas behind 5x60 is that pupils can take part in physical activity during lunchtimes and after school. The challenge now is open the school doors for 5x60 at weekends and in school holidays to give them even more of a chance to get involved. Success stories and new ventures such as this in Ferndale lay the foundations for Sport Wales’ long term objective to ensure that as many of these youngsters as possible get hooked on sport for life."

For more information on 5x60 log on to www.5x60.org.uk