Highbury Grove teen dazzles in Lithuania at International Dance Championships
PUBLISHED: 18:26 06 December 2017
A nimble-footed Islington teenager has danced his way to a gold medal after a show-stopping performance in eastern Europe.
Bertie Katz Webb-Lamb, who is in Year 9 at the City of London Academy Highbury Grove, was representing the UK in Lithuania’s International Dance Championships as part of a street dancing troupe called Big Deal.
The youngster’s love of street dancing, which is heavily improvisational in style and often involves breakdancing in an urban setting, was fostered from the age of five when his mum, Kelly Webb-Lamb, was executive producer of Got to Dance.
After meeting choreographer Ashley Banjo – a presenter alongside Davina McCall on the Sky1 show – Bertie was able to be in the same company as Diversity, the breakdancing supremos who won the third series of Britain’s Got Talent.
At seven, Bertie settled on Cocojam, a group who dance to hip-hop, and his progress has been rapid – performing at venues such as the Hackney Empire and the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall.
Bertie’s taste for success came with his gold medal at the capital’s XM Street Dance Championship last year, but the experience of performing in Lithuania at the end of November was an eye-opener for the youngster.
The Big Deal crew took the gold medal after wowing the judges with a “hip-hop theatre” version of the nursery tale Little Red Riding Hood, complete with breakdancing.
“It was really different to England – we were right by the beach,” Bertie said.
“I loved it. There were teams from Germany, Poland and Russia, and the standard was very high.
“Dancing in a place like Lithuania was a great experience.”
Bertie dedicates his success to his teacher Jade Hackett – a world champion in hip-hop dancing who inspires kids across London to take up the discipline.
“Jade is an amazing role model,” Bertie said. “She has inspired me in every aspect of my dancing, and has helped and supported me to become the dancer I am.
“She has given me great opportunities like going to Lithuania, and she always pushes me to my limits and gets the best out of me.”