Lillie Christian has become UK champion in the amateur silks category at the UK Aerial Performance Championship, leaving instructor Gemma Brazell-Dunn “incredibly proud”.
Lillie’s performance impressed judges at the final in Trusthorpe, in Lincolnshire, at the end of August.
Her national accolade comes just over three years since she first took up aerial silks.
Gemma, who owns Off the Floor Aerial Arts studio in Hartlepool, where Lillie trains, has said the achievement has given other students at the studio “something to look up to”.
Two other girls who go to the studio, in Usworth Road, also performed well in the national finals, coming in fourth and sixth.
Speaking of Lillie’s national title, Gemma said: “It’s massively important, more so because it gives the other kids something to look up to.
"It was very overwhelming. I was incredibly proud.
"She’s worked incredibly hard over the past year to get where she’s at.”
Lillie had previously earned the top spot in Intermediate Silks at the IPAAT International Pole and Aerial Tournament – one of the longest-running championships in the aerial community.
Following her win last year when she was 18, she told the Mail: "I just want to do anything performance-wise. It could be the West End, it could be cruise ships. I just love to perform.”
The Billingham teenager is also set to return to the UK Championship next year to defend her title.
Speaking of Lillie, Gemma added: "She is fun, always happy. She’s such a driven young lady. She wants to be on the West End.
"Over the past year I’ve seen her blossom from a shy, young lady, to this amazingly driven young woman.
"When she puts her mind to something, she achieves it, because she puts her all into it.
"She’s incredibly supportive of other people.”
Aerial silks sees artists perform a range of acrobatics while hanging from a fabric and helps build strength and flexibility. They have been incorporated into the circus arts and are also practised as a form of aerial fitness.