Young dancers star in ‘Giselle’ with English Youth Ballet

Ribble Valey dancers in Giselle (s)
Ribble Valey dancers in Giselle (s)

Dreams to become ballet stars have come true for seven talented young dancers from the Ribble Valley.

For the magnificent seven were chosen to star in a production of Giselle with the English Youth Ballet.

They made their debut at Preston’s Charter Theatre last weekend after beating off competition from 200 young hopefuls who auditioned for just 100 soloist and corps de ballet roles in the production.

The girls were chosen from Lancashire and the North West and they had to audition on stage in front of Janet Lewis who is the director and founder of the English Youth Ballet.

She was keeping a keen eye out for the hottest young dance talent around and the Ribble Valley seven certainly caught her eye.

Miss Lewis said: “The English Youth Ballet is all about providing extra performance experience to young dancers. We saw a very pleasing standard at the audition and it was lovely to see lots enthusiasm.’’

The company has helped many of the UK’s top talent springboard their careers into some of the world’s greatest ballet companies including the Royal Ballet Company and the English National Ballet.

The girls were put through their paces at rehearsals and treated like professional dancers. And with just 10 days of rehearsals before the show the pressure was on for them to be perfect on the night.

They were coached by English Youth Ballet mistress Julianne Rice-Oxley for the production which was set in the Edwardian era on an English country estate rather like Downton Abbey. The principal dancer was Amy Drew who was very impressed with ther proteges. She said:”I loved working with some of the most talented young dancers from Lancashire.

Five of the girls who took part are pupils at Clitheroe’s Angela Westwell School of Dance. They are: Rose Best (nine) of St Mary’s Primary School,Mellor, Holly Buckley (eight) of Whalley Primary School, Briawana Culver (15) of Bowland High School, Emily Kellington (14) of Clitheroe Royal Grammar School, Molly Stephenson (13) of St Augustine’s High School, Billington. Alisha Walsh (16) of St Augustine’s High School attends DAPA in Whalley and Ophelia White (15) of Bowland High School is students at the East Lancs School of Dance.