Developing Futures: STAMC Welcomes Esme Mitchell.

Developing Futures: STAMC Welcomes Esme Mitchell.

We are excited to announce that we are welcoming a new athlete to our Developing Futures programme! Earlier this year we opened applications to join the Developing Futures program. Now into it’s third year, Developing Futures has already supported two young sportspeople by offering them a financial contribution towards the costs

Esme Mitchell is a 16 year old street dancer who specializes in the dance style of popping. We received many strong applications but what really shone through in Esme’s application was her determination to succeed in her chosen sport despite facing challenges. We were really impressed by the passion and commitment to her sport that led to her going on to become both Scottish & British Champion and competing in the United Dance Organisation (UDO) World Championships. Below, Esme details her sporting journey.

“I was always interested in dance. At a young age my parents enrolled me in ballet, tap and cheer, however, I always remember watching the street dancers from the side of the stage, wishing I could do it and dance how they did.

I enrolled in street dance at around the age of seven and began street dancing competitively at age nine. At every competition I would get no call backs for Solo and Duo, no matter how hard I had tried or how well I felt I had danced. This significantly dented my confidence.

After four long years, I finally found the style I wanted to pursue and loved doing: popping. I tried so hard and was dead-set on winning and getting better, then, the pandemic thwarted things. For the best part of 18-months competitions were cancelled and training classes were done online. It took until two years after the pandemic to finally place in my Solo for the first time: achieving 2nd place and therefore qualifying for the United Dance Organisation (UDO) World Championships in Blackpool in 2022. I practised everyday, desperate to do well at worlds and ended up getting one call back for Solo and 3rd in the world for Team.

I was so happy and proud of myself and was desperate to be like the older girls, winning their Solo categories. So, I trained super hard and the following year, in 2023, became British Champion in four different categories, including Intermediate Solo. I also became Scottish Champion in Solo and Duo, placed 3rd in the world for Duo, and won Dancer of the Day at a competition.

Although I have achieved so much it hasn’t come easy; I have always struggled with understanding my teacher’s instructions and getting along with and making friends in dance as I have autism- though this was only formally diagnosed in March of this year. This means that I struggle to understand these social cues and sometimes find the competition environment overwhelming due to the loud, busy nature of it. However, this has never caused me to lose my passion for dance. I feel like dance is my outlet for getting through those challenging times. I struggle with feeling different and not fitting in, but in dance my differences and uniqueness are celebrated and respected. This has increased my confidence significantly.

The 2023-24 season ends in August with UDO World Championships and I’m going to be dancing in the under 18’s intermediate and competing in Solo, Duo, Team, Crew Battles and Supercrew categories, as well as the Parent & Child Duo with my Dad! I’m optimistic of doing well as I’ve been consistently finishing in the top 3 in my Solo competitions for the past year, though there are over 33 countries represented at the World Championships and the standard is amazing. I have my work cut out but I’m ready for the challenge!

The 2024-25 season then begins in September and I’ll be completing throughout the UK and possibly Europe. The sponsorship from STAMC is a wonderful support as there a lot of costs involved in dancing, from school fees to travel and accommodation to clothing and I am genuinely grateful.”

We wish Esme all the very best for the World Championships in August and can’t wait to here how she gets on. For any further information on STAMC’s Developing Futures programme visit our Developing Futures page or email