When looking for something that typifies the Brighton Girls spirit, the Momentum dance show has to be a strong contender: confidence, musicality, exquisite storytelling, immense talent and skill, set to an eclectic soundtrack of Harry Styles, the music from Six, hip hop beats and, this year (in a Momentum first) a live student-led string quintet. The whole show was joyful from start to finish; the performers looked happy, self-assured, content; utterly in the moment and completely in their element. As Austrian writer, Vicky Baum, put it, “There are shortcuts to happiness and dancing is one of them”.

This feel-good factor comes, of course, from many sources: the rush of adrenaline; the satisfaction gained from mastering the moves; the connection with the audience; the excuse to wear a sparkly costume. But, for me, the most important part of the Momentum/happiness equation is the team spirit. It’s the collective endeavour, the sense of belonging, that is the sure-fire route to happiness. 

It is fitting that this cherished Brighton Girls event is hosted in The Old Market theatre, in the heart of the city. Being part of Brighton & Hove is important to us: it allows us to feed off the city’s creative energy while affording us the opportunity to share what we have – and it supercharges that feeling of belonging by extending it beyond the school walls.

This is why we continue to forge city-wide partnerships. This year, we are proud to be working with the Brighton Fringe by sponsoring a youth award, while continuing our long-standing relationship with the Brighton Festival and the Children’s Parade. We have established our Page Turners reading project, which involves parent, student and staff volunteers working with pupils from neighbouring primary school, St Mary Magdalen’s, to boost their confidence in reading. We now have a community skateboard club to add to our Brighton Bees city netball club. Most recently, we launched a partnership with the Brighton & Hove Albion Foundation to offer a mid-week girls-only football club and have teamed up with the Brighton Half Marathon to offer 50 funded places for the Youth Races, allowing more young people from across the city the opportunity to compete. 

There are so many examples of our city fusion and they all provide an extension of the message I shared in assemblies at the start of the year: I encouraged individuals to find contentment and purpose by being “a leaf on a tree”, by appreciating what it means to be part of a community, and by being part of something bigger.

Being part of something bigger is, for me, the best shortcut to happiness. 

That, and dancing to ‘Golden’ by Harry Styles.