Denny pupils become Young Americans

Two teenage dancers have beaten competition from hundreds of performers to win space on the Young Americans tour – despite not being from the US.

Niamh Keane (17) and Lauren Wilson (16) have accepted places with the performing arts charity and are preparing to head over for a year’s training in California.

Over 1000 people from all over the world applied to join the organisation, which brings performance workshops to young people all over the world, and there were only 120 places.

Niamh, from Bonnybridge is a former Denny High pupil and now on a scholarship at Beaconhurst School in Bridge of Allan. She danced with Denny Dance Academy and currently trains with McKechnie School of Dance and Glasgow Youth Dance Company. She first saw the Young Americans when they came to Falkirk three years ago.

Niamh, who also takes singing lessons with Voice Jam in Grangemouth, said: “As soon as I saw their show, I knew I wanted to be part of it. I love dancing, but we also had to prove we were strong singers and actors as well as be confident in delivering workshops to young people from all backgrounds.

“I think it’s going to be an amazing experience, but I’m also prepared for the hard work.

“The training is a year long, every day from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and when we go on tour, it’s a lot of travelling and shows and not a lot of rest.”

Lauren, an S5 pupil at Denny High, dances almost every day with various dance schools, including Denny Dance Academy. The 16-year-old from Longcroft can’t wait to get to California.

Lauren said: “I couldn’t believe I’d been offered a place, I’ve also wanted to join since I first saw the Young Americans three years ago.

“The company is really professional and the shows are brilliant, I’m just counting down the days until I can get out there and get started.”

The training course is expensive, with both girls looking into scholarships and ways to fund it. Niamh is selling personalised pictures at Dance On and Piccolina in Falkirk to try to meet the costs.

The pair go to California in the summer to start training and will do their first tours in spring 2016.