TWO Northwich dancers are celebrating after being hailed among the best in the world.

Lewis Burrage and Pippa Miles are among only 23 students around the globe who gained almost perfect marks in professional exams under the National Association of Teachers of Dancing.

Lewis, 19, was the only entrant who achieved 96 per cent in his grade five ballet and senior bronze modern.

Pippa, 18, scored 95 per cent in her senior bronze modern.

Both dancers were pupils at Sutton Stage School when they entered the exams and were taught by Debbie Sutton and her daughter Freya.

Teacher Freya Sutton, 27, said: “We are so proud of them. To get 95 and above is incredible! They have both worked so hard, they deserve every success.

"Pippa has been with us since she was three and Lewis joined us when he was 14.

"We want everyone to do their best. They are both really amazing."

The pair received cash awards from the Nina Hodgson Memorial Fund set up in memory of teacher and examiner Nina Hodgson.

Former Weaverham High School pupil Lewis, from Little Leigh, is now following in Freya’s footsteps after winning a scholarship at  the Italia Conti Academy of Arts in London.

Lewis, who started stage school at five, said: “I am really happy. It was a bit of a shock to achieve such high marks.”

The film Billy Elliot, in which a coal miner’s son stumbles on a ballet class during his boxing lesson, inspired Lewis to take up performing as a career.

“My mum took me to the West End,” he said. “Dancing helps me to unwind. I sing and act as well and would like to go into West End shows and travel the world performing on cruise ships."

Lewis studies ballet, jazz and contemporary dance lessons for around 45 hours a week as well as aerial performance and acrobatics.

“It takes a lot of dedication and motivation,” he said. “You’ve got to be really driven and want it. Musical theatre on stage, that’s the dream.”

Former Leftwich High School pupil Pippa, from Kingsmead, said: “It was definitely a shock when I saw the marks but it felt really good that all the hard work put in by our teachers has paid off.

“I’ve always looked forward to my lessons, everyone was involved, it felt like a family.

"I enjoyed taking part in summer schools and shows."

Pippa is now studying economics and geography at Leeds University where she has joined a ballet society.

“It’s good fun and a great way to meet like-minded people with similar interests.”