Eleven talented young dancers from Bexley have been selected to perform in a professional ballet with English Youth Ballet at the Dartford Orchard Theatre from 25 - 26th August. They are currently experiencing the life of a professional dancer in rehearsals for the lavish production.

English Youth Ballet (EYB) held a huge audition for the ballet in February. Around 200 young hopeful dancers turned up to the 2 auditions. The atmosphere was electric with nerves and excitement. The lucky dancers heard they had been accepted on the day. Miss Lewis said “ “EYB is all about providing extra performance experience to young dancers. We saw a very pleasing standard at the audition today and it was lovely to see lots of enthusiasm.” EYB has helped many of the UK’s top talent springboard their training progress and careers into some of the world’s greatest ballet companies – including the Royal Ballet Company and English National Ballet.

Rehearsals for the ballet are taking place at Cleeve Park School, Sidcup. Brenden is one of EYB’s principal dancers – he previously danced with English National Ballet. He coaches the young dancers in rehearsals and he will also be starring in the role of Franz. He said “the young dancers are treated like professional dancers during rehearsals – 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 young cast will rehearse for just 10 days for the production. During those days EYB take over 4 of the biggest rooms in the school and run rehearsals simultaneously in each room. At the end of each rehearsal day the whole cast comes together in the largest space to share what has been learnt that day. The young dancers see the production taking shape like a big jigsaw.

There are 100 of the most talented young dancers from the region in the production. Principal dancer Amy Drew (see photograph) will be dancing the leading role of Aurora and she is training the young cast in rehearsals. She previously danced with the Tasmanian National Ballet. Amy said “The advice that I give to the young dancers is that 'ballet is hard'. But, if you love it, it can be a beautiful and fulfilling career. Keep your head up, and if you face rejection, just keep working hard and focus on your dreams, they can come true!”

3 performances of Sleeping Beauty will be presented at the Orchard Theatre, Dartford.

Fri 25 Aug at 7.30pm and Sat 26 Aug at 2.30pm/7.30pm For tickets call: 01322 220000 or visit: www.orchardtheatre.co.uk

Submitted by Ben Garner