THE winners of this year’s Rock Challenge have been crowned.

Eight schools from across Dorset and Somerset took part in the annual Be Your Best Rock Challenge which took place at the Bournemouth’s Pavilion Theatre on Thursday night.

Hundreds of pupils showed off their choreography and dance skills in front of family, friends, VIPs, sponsors and a panel of industry professionals.

Teams had up to eight minutes to perform their chosen theme.

The Gryphon School in Sherborne was awarded first place with their performance, ‘Fukushima 11.3’.

The school’s piece centered around the magnitude 8.9 earthquake that hit north-eastern Japan on March 11, 2011, triggering one of the most destructive Tsunamis on record. The devastation was furthered as the wave struck the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant causing radioactive leakage.

The earthquake and tsunami killed more than 15,000 people with 2,000 missing.

As well as scooping the top prize, the school also came away with a number of other awards including the Police and Crime Commissioner for Dorset Award of Excellence for Choreography and the Radian Award of Excellence for Stage Use.

In second place was Queen Elizabeth’s School in Wimborne with ‘Play Dead’. The performance focused on how schools should be a place of safety and not fear following 317 mass shootings in America last year, many of which occurred within schools.

It looked at how students, teachers and loved ones are all victims of these gun crimes and the major impact it had on the community and how isolated cliques unite through terror and fear.

St Peter’s School in Bournemouth took third place with their piece entitled ‘#Strangerdanger’, which looked at who we can trust in the internet age. It posed the questions, are we really amongst friends or strangers? and what digital footprint will we leave behind for generations to come?

Deputy Lieutenant of Dorset, Mrs Jane Stichbury CBE presented first prize to The Gryphon School.

She said: “It was a real privilege to be here tonight, I thought the standard was so high and I particularly liked the themes. The word that came through on virtually everybody was teamwork and the benefits they got from taking part in Rock Challenge so I think it was absolutely superb.”

Mayor of Bournemouth Councillor Lawrence Williams, said: “I think tonight’s show was absolutely brilliant and for me everyone was a winner.”

Other teams involved in the Bournemouth heat included LeAF Studio School, Corfe Hills, Thomas Hardye, Sir John Colfox and Taunton School.

Due to their previous event success, Corfe Hills School and LeAF Studio School have automatically qualified through to the Rock Challenge Southern Premier Final at Portsmouth Guildhall in April.

To view all the Daily Echo's pictures from the rehearsals on Thursday, visit