Three dance students from Sunderland College proved that they are world class after representing Great Britain at an international cultural festival.

Naomi Baker, Samantha Scott and Kirsty Wilson, who are all studying a Higher National Diploma (HND) in Dance at Sunderland College, were selected to represent Great Britain at the 2018 International Cultural Festival, held last month at Limkokwing University, Malaysia.

The students performed a contemporary dance piece that represented British culture, which they choreographed with the support of their dance lecturer, Lauren Robinson. During their 3-minute performance the students portrayed the themes of contemporary social and cultural issues.

With the international audience in mind, the students left their performance open to interpretation and ensured it was non-political.

The unique opportunity to attend this prestigious event was only made possible due to a higher education funding stream sourced by the College’s Director of Higher Education, Creative Arts performance ticket sales and sponsorship from Limkokwing University.

The event, which was attended by Malaysian royalty, set a new record in the Malaysian Book of Records for the highest number of country representatives participating in a cultural festival with 110 delegates attending.

The students also created a stall at the event, which celebrated British culture. HND Performance (Dance) student, Naomi Baker, said:

“The opportunity to travel to Malaysia and perform at an international event, against so many different countries, was one I would not have been exposed to at another university.

I encountered so many different cultures and made many new friends from different backgrounds. Being selected to perform was a great privilege.

“Our class had only recently returned from an educational visit to New York, which added to the amazing experiences I have had this year at Sunderland College.”

Representatives from Limkokwing University visited the College’s Arts Academy at the beginning of the academic year.

They watched the students perform and were so impressed that they invited them to represent not only the College, but the country, at the Limkokwing International Cultural Festival.

Sheree Rymer, Curriculum Manager for Creative Arts who chaperoned the students during the event, said:

“This was a life changing opportunity for our students to travel, meet new people and experience different cultures, in addition to representing their country.

To be asked to participate was a huge honour and raises the aspirations of young people in Sunderland and reinforces the fact that their art form is important, and valued on an international stage.”

Jane Reed, Faculty Director for Digital, Creative and Business at Sunderland College, added:

“The visit to our international partner Limkokwing in Malaysia, enabled our higher education students’ learning to be enhanced through cultural diversity.

It was fantastic for the students to showcase their talent to over 100 countries. It has also enabled us to build a stronger relationship with Limkokwing University and has given the students exposure to professional networking opportunities within the industry.”