Nicolson Institute pupils Mary Maclean and Maisi Morrison have been selected to represent Team Scotland in the World Dance Championships in Orlando, Florida, in April.
The two teenagers earned prestigious calls into the Scotland Youth Pom Team squad after an arduous audition process, but having made the grade the best pals will now head stateside to represent their country against the best in the world.
“I’ve had a passion for dance from a very young age but I never thought it was going to give me all these incredible opportunities,” admitted an excited Maisi.
“As well as going to Florida to compete, we are going to use this as an opportunity to enjoy ourselves and make it a trip to remember. Our mums are just as excited as we are and the countdown has begun. We can’t wait to have the time of our lives.”
The two have been dancing together since they were just six-year-olds, so have already amassed years of experience despite their tender age.
The girls are part of the Sandwickhill Dance Studio run by Kirstie Anderson, which has seen them become no strangers to the pressure of competition, with the popular North West All Stars, performing routines across a number of different dance styles, including Hip Hop, Jazz, Cheer and Pom.
Mary and Maisi are immensely talented and have the medals to prove it on the family sideboards, including a first place earned competing as a duet dancing jazz at a prestigious dancing competition in Glasgow in 2019.
Maisi’s Mum Laura said: “Watching Maisi over the years on the stage has made me feel very proud and extremely emotional. My favourite memory so far is when Maisi and Mary won first place for their duet in Glasgow and then went on to win the overall grand champion. I’ve actually grown to love the electric atmosphere at these competitions.
"I can’t begin to imagine how it will feel to be in the Arena at Worlds in Florida and to see the girls performing for their country in April.”
Their talent and hard work earned them the opportunity to audition for Team Scotland last summer, with a gruelling selection process with dancers from all over the country vying for a spot in the national squad.
However, the ten day trip to the United States will not come cheap, and both girls, and their families have been looking to raise funds to help cover the costs of their American adventure – as well as the added expense of fortnightly training trips to Glasgow in the meantime.
Mary’s Mum Maggie Mackenzie and Maisi’s mum Laura Morrison have worked hard to arrange fundraising events to help with the costs to allow the girls to follow their dream and take this once in a lifetime opportunity.
“We would like to truly thank everyone for all their generous support and we have been overwhelmed at the support from the local community,” said both Mums.
“We wouldn't have been able to do it without the fundraising and we are so grateful. It's been actually overwhelming. We have also have set up a ‘Go Fund Me’ page: https://gofund.me/82b9ba4f.”