Leeds stars of ‘Big Ballet show to appear on Channel 4

Sarah traffic warden from Leeds.'Channel 4 Big Ballet
Sarah traffic warden from Leeds.'Channel 4 Big Ballet
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BALLET dancers from Leeds are among the stars of new Channel 4 show ‘Big Ballet’, starring alongside Wayne Sleep.

And plus sized amateur dancers are stars of the latest reality show which looks at the shape and size of ballet dancers and features women and men up to size 26.

Shona Boocock, of Rothwell, who runs her own ballet academy in Woodkirk, near Tingley, was filmed last year.

She said; “Anything over a size 12 in the world of ballet is considered large. But it is suitable for all shapes and sizes. I am a size 12 and it was great to be involved in the show. There are lots of different sized people who took part, but most of us had some sort of dance experience.”

Big Ballet, which starts tomorrow on Channel 4, follows a troupe of plus-size amateurs, all from Yorkshire, as they attempt to realise their dream of dancing Swan Lake.

Ballet legend Wayne Sleep was the shortest dancer ever to make his debut on the Royal Ballet stage and now he wants to unlock the world of ballet for a wider audience and break one of the biggest taboos in the ballet world: size. Professional ballet dancers are a size 6-8 but Big Ballet dancers range from 12 to 26. Under the watchful eye of Wayne and Prima Ballerina Monica Loughman the dancers will ruffle the feathers of the ballet establishment as they attempt what some experts say is impossible.

The troupe of 16 women and two men are followed through auditions, training and finally a performance of Swan Lake at St George’s Hall, Bradford.

The dancers attempt to do what some experts say is impossible. And size is of course, the main focus of the shows.

Ballet teacher Shona’s daughter Abigail Stringer, 10, has just been accepted at the Northern Ballet Academy in Leeds, was also filmed. She said she enjoyed the experience.

The dance troupe includes Carol, 39, a customer services manager, from Mirfield; Christine, 52, a fitness instructor, of Knaresborough; Donna, 48, owner of Darfield’s Finishing Touches boutique, in Wakefield; Emma W, 39, is a primary school teacher from Liversedge; Mary, 33, is a dance teacher at Leeds City College and runs EXP Dance in Leeds; Nicola, 27, works for Alphabet GB Ltd, Leeds; Sarah, 38, traffic warden, Leeds

Big Ballet starts on Channel 4 tomorrow at 9pm.