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UCG students dance their way to the top

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Two City of Westminster College (CWC) students stole the show at this year’s Dance Westminster competition as their stunning performances earned them the top spots on the podium.  

Marieleynne (Marilyn) Laban and professional dancer Max took first place, while Juwarn Papi and his professional dance partner, Joelle, claimed second prize at the event held at The Porchester Hall on Tuesday, October 17.

The Maida Vale campus students, who are both studying Skills for Work at CWC, wowed the judges with their routines and were rewarded by gaining the best scores on the day — much to the delight of everyone who attended the gala, which is now in its fourth year.

Finishing first and second is a remarkable achievement for Marilyn and Juwarn in what is a gruelling process with lots of hard work and long hours of practice required.

Open to disabled people aged 10 and over who live, study or work in the borough, Dance Westminster gives people the opportunity to attend a free dance workshop where they can experience an inclusive, engaging dance class and learn a dance routine.

Participants then take part in an audition where they can perform the routine they learned in the workshop or choose a freestyle dance.

Ten finalists are selected and given one-to-one dance coaching from a professional, with the learners and their pro partners then taking to the floor to compete for the 2023 Dance Westminster title.

Dance Westminster is supported by Step Change Studios, an award-winning, pioneering dance company committed to making dance accessible for everyone.

Gemma McCarthy, Curriculum Manager Supported Learning at CWC, said:

“Dance Westminster provides an amazing opportunity for our supported learning students to be a part of a recognised Dance competition.

“We are incredibly proud of all those who auditioned to take part and delighted for Marilyn and Juwarn on achieving first and second place. And it was wonderful to watch the competition and see Marilyn interviewed on BBC local news.

“A heartfelt thank you and congratulations to everyone involved for making this a resounding success.”

Stephen Davis, Group Principal and CEO of the United Colleges Group, said:

“On behalf of all our staff and students, I would like say huge congratulations to both Marilyn and Juwarn, and also their professional partners, on taking the top prizes at Dance Westminster 2023.

“They have shown incredible determination, dedication, flair and fantastic dance skills throughout the process and their achievements are richly deserved.”

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