A Cumbrian dance tutor choreographed the opening ceremony for the Premiership Rugby clash between Saracens and Harlequins. 

Owen Farrell's Saracens ran out 52-7 winners against rivals Harlequins in the fourth showdown of the two Rugby Union sides that took place at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in North London on Saturday, March 23. 

Kelly McClelland from Penrith-based Eden Dance, who also helped organise the 2024 U Dance Festival which took place at the Crown and Mitre Hotel in Carlisle in the penultimate week of March, was asked to choreograph the opening ceremony before the clash. 

The ceremony, which was conceived and rehearsed over just two days at Saracens' StoneX Stadium, involved children from the North London Saracens High School and Ampthill Girls Rugby Club along with a live accompaniment from the London Community Gospel Choir and took place in front of over 61,000 people. 

"The energy at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium was electric," Kelly said. 

"Seeing all the plans finally come together was just sensational.

"The elements of the London Community Gospel Choir, the Saracens Foundation participants and Saracens High School students with the Ampthill Girls Rugby club were all rehearsed separately so to pull off what we did in the moment without these elements having practiced together was a credit to everyone's effort to make this an epic Showdown."

Kelly was also supported at the opening ceremony by Eden Dance student Amie Stamper who she described as the 'perfect choice' to help bring her vision to life.

The Eden Dance tutor is no stranger to choreographing large-scale sporting events, with the opening ceremony of the 2023 UEFA Women's Champions League Final in Eindhoven already under her belt and an invite to the 2024 final in Bilbao secured. 

However, Kelly was keen to express her gratitude at being asked to choreograph the Rugby Union event. 

She said: "I am very grateful to have been asked to choreograph this opening ceremony.

"I love working with different communities and feel such a sense of pride standing pitch side witnessing the whole thing."