Budding Leeds ballet starlets are en pointe of the big time

Julianne Rice-Oxley, ballet mistress with the English Youth Ballet. PIC: Peter Mares�
Julianne Rice-Oxley, ballet mistress with the English Youth Ballet. PIC: Peter Mares�
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Seven of the city’s most talented young dancers have been picked to perform alongside some of the world’s best ballerinas.

The gifted girls, aged nine to 14, are now “living their dream” – preparing to take to the stage in a professional production of the classic ballet Giselle, with the prestigious English Youth Ballet (EYB).

And they are being mentored by members of some of the globe’s most renowned ballet companies, including the Royal Ballet, in rigorous rehearsals for the show at the St George’s Hall in Bradford on June 5 and 6.

Their tutor is Julianne Rice-Oxley, EYB’s ballet mistress, who has danced with the English National Ballet and Lisbon National Ballet.

She said “We work them hard but the results are fantastic. They learn what the life of a professional dancer is like. They are living their dream and they just love it!”

The budding Darcey Bussells were among 97 selected from around 200 of West Yorkshire’s most accomplished eight to 18-year-olds, who auditioned for the chance to dance the soloist and corps de ballet roles in the classic production.

7 Leeds dancers live their dreams in a professional production of Giselle'' YEP (photo Ben Garner)_1

7 Leeds dancers live their dreams in a professional production of Giselle'' YEP (photo Ben Garner)_1

They are Natasha Boulton, 14, from Lisa Crawshaw Theatre Arts in Bramley; sisters Heidi Box, 10, and Clarrie Box, 14, who dance at Maillot Rose School of Theatre and Dance, Harewood, as does Mia Casper, 14; Niamh Bray, 12, who dances at Hazel Bell School of Dance in Pudsey, along with Chloe Wilson, 13; and youngest of the group Olivia Wilson, nine, who trains at Footsteps Theatre School in Idle and lives in Farsley.

Olivia’s mum Nikki Jenkins said her achievement was all the more impressive as she was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes a year ago and has to inject insulin at least four times a day and check her blood at least 10 times a day.

Sarah Box, mum of Heidi and Clarrie, said she was “doubly proud” that the sisters had both been selected.

For tickets call 01274 432000 or visit: www.bradford_theatres.co.uk

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