Congratulations to Jasmine Gray, a parishioner of St Simon’s and St Philip’s in Donegall Road, Belfast, on her recent success in the prestigious Dance World Cup.
Jasmine, who celebrates her 18th birthday next week, won both a silver medal and a bronze medal at the 2020/21 competition, held in Telford earlier this month.
Jasmine has been dancing since the age of three. She attended Sullivan Upper Grammar School and is now studying a BTEC in Performing Arts at South Eastern Regional College.
Dance is her passion, and Jasmine is skilled in every format – jazz, tap, modern, hip hop, street, ballet and more. She has also done acro-gymnastics, trampolining and cheerleading, and is hoping to continue her study of dance at Urdang, an independent performing arts academy in London.
She had just got home from a week-long summer school at Urdang before heading back to England for the international competition with Team Northern Ireland. This was Jasmine’s first World Cup experience, and she was rewarded with a silver in the Commercial Duet category with her dance partner Megan, and a bronze in the Junior Street Dance category.
A student of Beats Studio, Bangor, Jasmine had to take time out of training during the lockdowns early in the pandemic, but this year dancers at Jasmine’s level were designated elite athletes, and were permitted to return to on-site training.
It has been a long road to this 2020/21 competition – the event was due to take place in Rome in June 2020, then rescheduled to Spain in May this year, before finally being moved to England. To qualify, Northern Ireland Team members had to submit videos, which were judged by a panel made up of leading names in the dance world, before qualification was confirmed.
Jasmine’s mum Michelle, who until recently was secretary to the Select Vestry in St Simon’s, said the competition in the arena was intense. “There were competitors from 50 countries around the world,” Michelle said. “The standard was crazy high, but the Northern Ireland girls held their own. Jasmine had 13 dances, and was in the top 10 in 11 of them.
“The girls work really hard and it was great to see them do so well. They were so excited to get a medal, they knew they were up against the best in the world and Northern Ireland is a small country.”
With Covid-19 restrictions easing and competitions starting up again, Jasmine, who helps out in the Sunday School at St Simon’s Parish Church, is looking forward to taking part in more competitions as she works towards a future career in dance.