Keighley youngsters step out with national ballet company

(Back row, from left) Claire Chapman, Lewis Day and Elizabeth Denby; (middle) Jess Leeming, Isabelle Roche and Emily Jardine-Rowley, with (front) Katie Johnson, Leah Robinson and Niamh Alvey

(Back row, from left) Claire Chapman, Lewis Day and Elizabeth Denby; (middle) Jess Leeming, Isabelle Roche and Emily Jardine-Rowley, with (front) Katie Johnson, Leah Robinson and Niamh Alvey

First published in News

Ten students of a Keighley dance school have won places with one of the country’s leading youth ballet companies.

Talented youngsters from the Sara Packham Theatre Academy will train alongside professional dancers with the English Youth Ballet.

They will spend a week as part of a 70-strong troupe of young dancers – amongst the best in the country – rehearsing the ballet Coppelia.

The Keighley students, who are aged from nine to 14, will then perform the full-length ballet at the Grand Opera House in York on June 7 and 8.

Sara nominated ten of her students for the English Youth Ballet auditions, and was delighted all of them gained places.

She said: “This is only the second time we’ve put students forward – it’s quite rare to get 100 per cent success.”

One of Sara’s students – Lewis Day – who played the title role in the musical Billy Elliot at Bradford Alhambra, won one of a handful of scholarship places.

And the other youngsters are also no strangers to performing on a professional stage – most of them have been Sunbeams in the Bradford Alhambra pantomime.

Several are currently preparing for auditions to join the Royal Ballet either full-time or for its weekend schools.

Sara added: “They train intensively in the Spring Bank holiday with professional dancers in the leading roles. They are treated like a professional ballet company.”

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