WOMEN in Leeds had a spring in their step yesterday as a ballet flashmob broke out in the city centre.
Ladies from across the city were invited to a special conference at Leeds Civic Hall yesterday, where they were treated to a mini performance of Swan Lake.
More than 150 women attended the Inspiring Change event yesterday, which aims to open up opportunities for young women, particularly those living in challenging circumstances, through education, jobs and mentoring.
Councillor Judith Blake, deputy leader of Leeds City Council, who hosted the event, said: “One of the biggest issues when you are talking to young women is that they will talk about self esteem and feeling under confident and they are not recognising the talent that they have.
“There is a real value in hearing people’s inspirational journeys and how many women have stood up against adversity, found self belief and managed to achieve quite extraordinary things.”
Speakers included award-winning inventor Emily Cummins, BBC Look North’s business correspondent Danni Hewson and Sarah Peart, who starred in Channel 4’s Big Ballet.
Sarah, a Leeds traffic warden, organised the flashmob and also held a talk about inclusivity and body image.
Leeds-based Olympic Team GB divers Alicia Blagg and Hannah Starling also attended, as well as Heather Nelson, director of the Black Health Initiative.
Workshops on coaching and social media were held as well as a portrait exhibition focussing on inspiring local women.
The programme that developed the exhibition, The Connecting Girls Programme, is run in partnership with Leeds City Council and Connecting Enterprising Women.
During the conference, a video interview with Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves – the city’s first female MP for 40 years – was shown.
Castleton Primary School pupils Ashanti Carlton and Kaycee Barwell carried out the interview.