Dancers are heading for the big stage

March 28 2019
Dancers are heading for the big stage

THREE pupils of a South Gloucestershire dance school have been picked to perform in a company of the nation’s most talented youngsters.

The girls, who train with Sharon Phillips’ School of Dancing in Alveston, have been selected to take part in the English Youth Ballet’s summer production of Swan Lake at Cardiff’s New Theatre.

Laura Evans, 13, and her sister, Sophie, 11, from Olveston, and Katy Partridge, 10, from Bradley Stoke, had to audition to win a place among 100 children who will dance alongside professionals.

The company stages full-length classical ballets in regional theatres, offering opportunities to young dancers outside London. They rehearse for six hours a day for two weeks in the summer before staging the production.

Laura said: “It’ll be an amazing opportunity, especially because I’ll be learning more about ballet.”

Her sister Sophie said: “I am most looking forward to learning to be better at my ballet and wearing the costumes!”

Katy said: “I’m very excited about the opportunity to perform on the big stage, and to learn from the older, experienced dancers. I’m very nervous, but looking forward to meeting new friends as well.”

Sharon Phillips teaches the girls ballet, tap and contemporary dance at her dance school, which holds lessons in Alveston and Patchway.

She said: “It’s just a lovely opportunity for them to be part of a massive cast and from my understanding, there were quite a few hundred people that auditioned.”

English Youth Ballet lets parents watch the auditions, which Melinda Evans, mum to Laura and Sophie, and Katy’s mum Hannah, described as nerve-wracking. But having already had experience of performances with the dance school, the girls were confident under pressure.

Melinda said: “The girls are excited and really looking forward to it. They are really proud of themselves and feel that it’s a real achievement.”

Hannah said Katy’s love of dancing overrode any last minute nerves.

She said: “Katy has been dancing with Sharon since she was two and a half years old. She’s sporty but dancing is absolutely her passion, and she wants to be a dancer when she grows up.

This is the first big audition she’s had and we didn’t expect her to get in. I was saying to her ‘what a lovely experience, just go and enjoy it’. So when she got in, we were chuffed for her.”

English Youth Ballet wants young dancers to get a taste of what it’s like being part of a professional ballet company – from the audition, to learning the choreography, to performing.