Fianna Watterson, 11, is a dedicated dancer across many disciplines including ballroom, Latin, classical sequence, ballet, contemporary, tap and theatre.

She is taught by Joanne Cowley at Dynamic Dance Centre who has nurtured Fianna's dancing since she was three.

Fianna dreams of dancing post-education and works hard to be competitive in as many styles as possible. She has been focusing on her competitive ballroom, Latin and classical sequence dancing.

Fianna has benefited from the Arts Council’s domestic travel grant. It allows Manx resident performers and artists to apply to a £50,000 fund to support the costs of travel and accommodation in the UK and Ireland if they are participating in off-island events.

Mum Danielle said: ‘We are extremely fortunate in the Isle of Man to have eight ballroom, Latin and classical sequence competitions every year, organised by the IoM Dance Teachers Association in the Royal Hall at the Villa Marina.

‘But Fianna is also registered with the British Dance Council (BDC) to compete in the UK in ballroom, Latin and classical sequence. We applied for funding support to attend competitions being held in Blackpool.

‘These competitions allow Fianna to dance against the best young dancers in Britain. Fianna had support recently from the Arts Council to attend Unity Dance Festival in November 2023 and The All England Championships in February 2024.’

Danielle would certainly recommend other performers and artists applying for Isle of Man Arts Council funding.

She said: ‘The rising costs in the current financial climate can be a complete barrier to exploring so many opportunities that are out there. The support can go towards making sure those opportunities aren't missed. It is so important to support the arts in every form as we are an Island with so much talent.’

Fianna most recently attended the two-day 'The All England Championships' in Blackpool dancing against close to 100 juvenile soloists across the weekend.

Danielle said: ‘Fianna was delighted to win the All England Juvenile Solo Classical Sequence Title and the All England Juvenile Solo Classical Sequence Championship that weekend.

‘It wouldn’t have been possible for us to attend this competition without Arts Council funding. As a family, we try our best to support Fianna in her ambition to be a successful competitive dancer but it is simply not possible to travel frequently with our family finances alone.’

Danielle admits it would be a struggle for Fianna to attend these competitions without Arts Council funding.

‘The grant allowed us to attend this competition and make Fianna's dream of dancing on the Tower Ballroom floor again come true,’ she said.

‘Each trip away to a competition brings its own financial implications. We look into each trip as a family on an individual basis as to whether we can afford to attend.

‘We have entered Fianna into the next big competition on the calendar, Junior Festival Solo Champion of Champions in the Winter Gardens, Blackpool. This will probably be Fianna's last competitive UK competition as a juvenile dancer before she moves up into the junior category, which brings new goals to achieve.’

Further information can be found on the Arts Council website: