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Young Chinese-Irish ballroom dancer goes international

By Bo Leung in Wolverhampton | | Updated: 2017-12-12 02:10
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Kerry Sui and Francis Carty perform on the dance floor at Blackpool Dance Festival in November. [Photo provided to]

Kerry Sui, a 10-year-old Chinese-Irish dancer, and her dance partner Francis Carty are set to compete in Italy and perform on Chinese TV after winning the British juvenile ballroom championship.

Kerry and Francis, who is also 10, won the British National Juvenile Ballroom trophy and took first prize last month in the juvenile Latin category at the Blackpool Dance Festival.

Kerry was born in Dublin and lives there with her parents, who emigrated from China. Her Chinese name is Sui Yuanjing. She started ballroom and Latin dancing four years ago and was partnered earlier this year with Francis, who lives in the English county of Shropshire.

The two were friends before they performed together and Kerry said their friendship is one of the best things about her dancing partnership with Francis.

Their hard work, under the guidance of teachers Laura O'Brien and David and Helen Truman, meant Kerry and Francis have seen quite a lot of success.

"When Francis is stressed, I can calm him down, because he hasn't really been in many big competitions, such as the nationals and internationals," Kerry said. "My mum said I have to guide him."

Francis said Kerry has a positive attitude and described her as always remaining upbeat.

And they both have a dance that they like the least: the tango.

"The tango is like an angry dance, you have to be sharp," Kerry said.

The dancers often visit each other's families and describe their friendship and their teachers' involvement as like being in a big family. She said a visit to China put a strain on the close bonds.

"I was in China for six weeks and there was a dance studio there where I would practice, but I felt lonely," Kerry said.

Francis described the time they spent apart as "horrible".

Kerry and Francis were training on Saturday in Wolverhampton, a city in England's West Midlands region, in advance of a competition in Stoke-on-Trent on Sunday. The event was cancelled due to the heavy snowfall across parts of the United Kingdom.

The pair head to Italy in January for a competition, before jetting off to China to appear on a TV show.

Kerry Sui and Francis Carty perform on the dance floor at Blackpool Dance Festival in November. [Photo provided to]
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