TALENTED performers from a Central Fife dance school are celebrating after they secured qualification to represent Scotland on the global stage.

Members of Centre Stage Performing Arts, based in Crossgates, will take part at what has been described as "the Olympics of dance" later this year at the Dance World Cup World Finals.

To be held in Braga, Portugal, the huge competition is set to welcome around 6,000 dancers from all across the globe – and 21 of them will be from Centre Stage.

Each nation heading to the finals, which will run from June 30 to July 8, select the dancers that will represent them by hosting their own individual qualifiers, and Centre Stage, which celebrated its 10-year anniversary, achieved top marks to ensure they will participate in every discipline at the world finals.

Louise Ferrier, the school's founder, owner and principal, explained: "It just came as a bit of a surprise, to be honest.

"We've got 60 kids that compete locally all the time, and there was 21 of them that we took their entries and submitted them to the Dance World Cup, which is essentially the Olympics of dance.

"We just said, look, we'll be in the studio for a day, we'll film these entries, send them in, and we'll see what happens. If I'm honest, we didn't really expect to place; we thought it takes a couple of times, sometimes, to qualify for these big competitions, and we go the email that we'd qualified in everything.

"There's 21 local dancers going out, and it meant a lot to us because we have a small group that's actually done to an acoustic version of 500 Miles (by the Proclaimers). We're going to be representing Scotland and, for us, that actually placed first out of the whole of Scotland.

"All the entries go away, and you have to place first to fourth in your country to qualify. For us to be getting groups, duos and things in first and second place, for our country, I have to say we were just in shock.

"We were like 'oh my goodness, this is crazy', and just so proud."

Centre stages dancers, ranging in age from 11-18, will perform in solo, duo, trio, small group and large group routines at the World Finals, and Louise revealed that she received news of their success whilst teaching a class before Christmas.

She continued: "I had shown the other teacher the email that had came in, and the kids were in front of us, but I thought, is this real? Can I tell them?

"I went home and figured it all out. It was real, so what we did was we kept it from them because were having everyone into the school on the Friday.

"We got them all in, we had hot chocolate, the parents had baked cakes - the parents didn't know either. We got them all a balloon, we've got our wee banner up, we made a Scotland flag, and we put them in front of the banner.

"We were just presenting we were taking a team photo, so we were like, everyone say 'Merry Christmas'. They were like, 'Merry Christmas', and then we said, everyone say 'you've qualified for the Dance World Cup'.

"They were in sheer shock and we had tears. It's a rule in our school; you're not allowed to cry. Whether you win, lose, whatever happens, you don't cry, you keep it together and you be professional, but the mums were crying, the kids were crying.

"They were just so, so proud and couldn't believe we qualified.

"The kids are absolutely electric; they're so excited.

"Christmas came early!"

The schedule for the competition will be released in April, and Louise added that fundraising, and seeking sponsorship, to help fund the trip for the dancers is underway.

Anybody interested in sponsoring the dancers, where their logo can be displayed on team tracksuits and banners, or who would like to find out more on Centre Stage, can find them on Facebook.