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Youngsters given ballet big chance
12:00pm Saturday 23rd February 2013 in News
A GROUP of young Wiltshire dancers have successfully auditioned for the nationally acclaimed English Youth Ballet.
The eight dancers – from Chippenham, Calne, Sutton Benger and Yatton Keynell – will take to the Playhouse stage in Weston Super Mare in the classical ballet Sleeping Beauty next month.
Ben Garner, the EYB company manager, said the youngsters danced off competition from more than 150 others in the region at auditions in November.
Now the young cast are involved in an intensive 10-day rehearsal process at Clevedon School, alongside seven international principal dancers who have joined the EYB from companies such as English National Ballet and San Francisco Ballet.
Ellie Sheppard, ten, who goes to Queen’s Crescent Primary School in Chippenham, will play the part of Cryonite. She has been dancing at Fitzgraham Academy of Dance in Chipp-enham since she was three.
Her mother, Katie Shepp-ard, of Arundel Close in Chippenham, said: “She loves it. She was really nervous about the audition.
“She phoned DJ Chris Evans on the morning and told him what she was going to do. They phoned back the next day to find out the outcome and, when she told them she’d got through, she got a big cheer from the Radio Two team.
“We’re very proud. There are 16 of us going to see her. We’ve got the whole front row of the circle.”
The others chosen to perform are Sheldon School pupils Katie Dunsden, 12, and Alice Tedds, 13; Hardenhuish pupils Ella Thomas, 11, and Charlotte Warner, 13; and Abbeyfield pupils Lucy James, 13, and Daniel Wiltshire, 14.
Australian principal ballerina Amy Drew takes the part of Aurora, who pricks her finger on her 16th birthday and is cursed to die by the wicked fairy Carabosse.
She said she found the young dancers she has been working with inspiring.
She said: “They have great energy and attack.
“I feel very privileged to be a principal with the EYB, as I get to work with some of the UK’s most talented young dancers.
“The kids are so lucky. I wish there had been something like EYB in Australia when I was training.
“Working in a professional environment gives the students a unique insight into life in a ballet company.”
Sleeping Beauty, which has a 100-strong cast and is billed as featuring the ballet stars of the future, has about 260 costumes, more than 50 pairs of pointe shoes, 60 pairs of soft ballet shoes and 30 pairs of character shoes.
The three performances run on March 8 at 7.30pm and on March 9 at 2.30pm and 7.30pm.
For tickets, visit the website www.theplayhouse.co.uk or call (01934) 645544.