Young dancers dazzled audiences once again this year at the biggest Marlborough Area Dance Festival.

Both performances on Saturday saw proud relatives pack into The Theatre on the Hill at St John’s to watch almost 350 performers aged between four and 18.

The theme for the seventh annual festival was Take One Picture with each school choosing a picture, including a photo of Nelson Mandela and Starry Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh, to inspire their dances.

The show involved pupils from St John’s and 14 schools from the Marlborough area who only had Friday afternoon to run through all of the dances and learn the finale.

Organiser Karen Davis said: “It was our biggest and, of course, best dance festival. All the schools in the St John’s catchment area were involved for the first time ever.

“Burbage and Baydon were newcomers to the festival and we also had an all boys dance group from St John’s which we’ve never had before, so that was fantastic.

“All the parents come to see their own children but because it’s so energetic and exciting everyone has a great time and really enjoys the whole show rather than just sitting through all of the other performances.”

The event was compared by St John’s sixth-form students Grace Ahmed and Ed France, who bought together the well-choreographed show.

Mrs Davis said: “Grace has been in every dance festival we’ve had and she was fantastic with the children and Ed became like Dec [Donnelly].

“They will have children coming up to them now in the High Street for the next six months; they will be like local celebrities.”

Each school had a chance to put on their dancing shoes and dazzle the audience with Presute kicking off festivities followed by, Baydon St Nicholas, Eastern Royal, St Katharine’s, Burbage, Great Bedwyn, Kennet Valley, St Mary’s, Aldbourne St Michael’s, Ogbourne St George and St Andrew, Shalbourne, St Peter’s Chilton Foliat and Ramsbury.

Scattered among the primary school dances were performances from St John’s students.

This year the finale, a hoedown to Timber by Pitball and Kesha, was performed twice because of the number of students, once by St John’s pupils and also by all of the primary schools.