Dark Angels, a Bristol-based hip-hop group, is celebrating as their dreams to compete in the World Dance Championships become reality.
After being selected as one of only two British teams invited to take part in the world competition, the group struggled to secure funds for their trip, until local health insurer, BCWA stepped in to donate £3,000 to pay for the teams flights to Florida.
Currently ranked third in the Nation's Cup and fifth in the World, Dark Angels have been performing together for three years at The Park Community Centre in Knowle.
The 17- strong, mixed squad had to compete at the Future Cheer International Cheer and Dance Championships in July and win their category to gain entry to the world championships. With the most recent squad member joining the team in February, the group has worked hard to secure its place to perform against the world's top dance teams.
"Thanks to BCWA's generous donation we are able to make it out to Florida to take part in the 2008 Cheerleading and Dance Worlds Competition. The squad has worked really hard to get this far and we can't wait to get out there and show the other teams what we're made of," says Gemma Nevers, who has been dancing with the group for more than three years.
The Dark Angels will have to perform a pre-qualifying dance on the Saturday of the Championships and if they are successful in beating off the competition will go through to the final, where they will perform a routine in front of six world class judges.
This is only the second year that the Dance Worlds has occurred and, with the competition being aired live on ESPN, there are sure to be a few nervous angels before the show.
The squad is made up of a really positive group of young people who come together from all over Bristol to train. Dark Angels is a total inclusion squad which means they do not hold auditions and, because everyone is able to take part, it really helps to build people's confidence too.
The Dark Angels are relying on charitable donations to fund their trip to Florida and decided to appeal directly to BCWA's charity committee for financial help.
"The Dark Angels have done so well to gain selection for the world championships and we were pleased to fund the flights for the team to compete at international level. We were lucky enough to see them perform this week and would like to wish them the best of luck for the competition next year," says Lisa Holden of BCWA's Charity Committee.
BCWA has donated over £80,000 this year to projects and organisations across the south west and with some money still left in the coffers is appealing to other charities in need of funds to get in touch with them.