So this Summer I’m running my own ballet masterclasses in conjunction with my very first dancing school, Fearons Middleton School of Dance, in my home town of Barnsley, England. I’m really excited to be working with young, aspiring dancers in my local community and hope to be able to inspire them to work hard and focus on what they can achieve, whether it is in dance or other vocations. To coincide, I’ve also reflected on my own journey as a ballet dancer in training and compiled some lessons based on my experience which you can read if you click here.
I’m looking forwards to working with my teachers – Miss Catherine and Miss Hayley – who set me off on this wonderful journey all those years ago! I enrolled in their school when I was four and trained there until I was 11 when I won a government-funded Music and Dance Scheme Scholarship to a vocational school in the South of England. I left my home in Yorkshire in the North of England and trained there for five whole years before I successfully auditioned to the Bolshoi.
I owe a lot to Miss Catherine and Miss Hayley. I was about six when Miss Hayley told my Mum that I had done extremely well in my ballet exam and encouraged her to take me to auditions for associate ballet training programmes.
I was accepted into the Northern Ballet Associate programme – which I attended for four years every Monday evening in Leeds – the Royal Ballet Junior Associate programme – which I attended for three years in Leeds on a Saturday morning – and also the Louise Browne Scholarship programme – which I attended for three years in York, also on a Saturday. My Mum and Grandma spent all of their time driving me around to attend all the additional training, plus my training with Fearons Middleton, not to mention regular school, of course!
I also entered competitions and festivals, including regional ballet championships, winning lots of gold medals and I was fortunate enough to win a place at the Miss Dance UK Ballet Championship finals at Blackpool when I was 12. The early performance experience was invaluable and as a way of encouraging young classical dancers with potential, I’ve donated an award to Fearons Middleton’s own dancing festival, the Midsummer Festival of Dance, which takes place every May, for the Most Promising Classical Performer. The award was presented for the very first time in May 2015.
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I’m really pleased that I can give a little back and am very much looking forward to the masterclasses when I return home this Summer.
Click here to read 13 lessons I’ve learned as a ballet dancer in training.