Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cygnets on Show; DANCE with a New Production of Swan Lake Taking Shape, Young Dancers from the Region Are Learning to Spread Their Wings Thanks to a Little Help from the Professionals, as Barbara Hodgson Reports

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cygnets on Show; DANCE with a New Production of Swan Lake Taking Shape, Young Dancers from the Region Are Learning to Spread Their Wings Thanks to a Little Help from the Professionals, as Barbara Hodgson Reports

Article excerpt

Feathers are being fluffed and no doubt a few fluttering nerves settled as fledgling dancers prepare to step into the spotlight.

On April 16 and 17, there'll be 100 eight to 18-year-olds from the region making the most of a chance to showcase their surefooted talents in a pounds 50,000 new production of classic ballet Swan Lake.

This is the latest ambitious project from English Youth Ballet to see aspiring dancers share the stage with professionals, and recent weeks have seen the youngsters hard at work in the final stages of rehearsals ahead of the show's three-performance run at the Mill Volvo Tyne Theatre in Newcastle.

Among them are Sophie Ward and Lucy Blythman who both live in Gateshead where they attend Reavley Theatre School.

They were picked, together with six other promising nine to 12-year-olds, to play the role of cygnets in the ballet favourite, which centres around the rivalry between Black Swan Odile and White Swan Odette for a prince's love.

Sophie, 10, who is also a junior associate of the Royal Ballet School, said of the initial selection phase: "The audition was huge. I felt pleased and honoured to get in!" Both girls are hoping for a career as professional dancers so have been making the most of this unique opportunity, with 12-year-old Lucy saying: "It is amazing to be dancing with professionals.

"It is going to make me a better dancer." Former students of the awardwinning English Youth Ballet, which has been credited with boosting youngsters' enthusiasm and confidence, have indeed gone on to join companies such as the Royal Ballet.

Said to be the only touring ballet company in the UK to nurture and showcase young regional talent alongside the stars in a classical repertoire, it has already enjoyed great success in the region with its previous production Coppelia, also at the Tyne Theatre, which worked in a similar vein. …

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