Dream comes true for Aylesbury and Buckingham dancers

Almost 30 youngsters from the local area joining up with the English National Ballet
Almost 30 youngsters from the local area joining up with the English National Ballet

Almost 30 children will dance alongside professional principals in a production of Nutcracker Suite by the English Youth Ballet.

The youngsters from Aylesbury, Tring, Hemel Hempstead, Buckingham and Berkhamsted will train with the dancers for 11 days and perform on the Waterside Theatre stage later this month.

Oliver Speers

Oliver Speers

The company travels around the country giving aspiring ballet students a chance to showcase their talents alongside professional principals on a major stage in a classical ballet production.

Well established and in their 19th year, the concept has proved so successful the company has been honoured for outstanding work.

I have been fortunate to see the company in action, and it was a heart warming experience to see how much it meant to those taking part, writes Heather Jan Brunt.

Principal dancer Oliver Speers said: “I think what I enjoy most about working with the young dancers is seeing the development they make in their short time with EYB.

Sebastien Shotliff

Sebastien Shotliff

“They are treated as young professionals and we expect a lot from them. I think they surprise themselves when they really do deliver what we are asking.”

The company and the young dancers will be performing Nutcracker Suite and Ballet Etudes at 7.30pm on Friday, March 24, and at 2.30pm and 7.30pm on Saturday, March 25.

Mr Speers said: “The first half of the double bill is a very traditional adaptation of Act II of Nutcracker.

“It is one of the most popular ballets and Act II gives the dancers the chance to perform in short divertissements (which are short dances performed in small groups). It includes the iconic Grand Pas de Deux and Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, which everyone loves.

“Ballet Etudes is a more modern ballet and it takes the audience through a full ballet class starting off with the ballet barres on the stage. By the end the dancers are demonstrating all the exciting jumps and turns.”

One of the young dancers taking part in the show is nine-year-old Sebastian Shotliff, who lives in Aylesbury and trains at the Tring Park School of Performing Arts.

He said: “I am so excited about the experience of being in a professional company and of performing to lots of people.”

Tickets for the ballet cost from £17.50 and are available online at www.atgtickets.com/aylesbury or call the box office on 0844 871 7607.

The young people from our area who are taking part are pictured here and show from left to right, top line: Charlotte Bird (15, from Butlers Cross), Charlotte Drakard (17, Buckingham), Olivia Bigsby (16, Swanbourne), Lucy-Mae Bly (14, Tring), Aimee Chapman (14, Hemel Hempstead) and Isabelle Bosher (13, Buckingham).

Third line: Olivia Cottle (13, from Tring), Imani Brown (15, Hemel Hempstead), Grace Payne (12, Tring), Emilja Busse (13, Waddesdon), Ellie Stubbings (16, Buckingham) and Emily Clarke (12, Tring).

Second line: Mayamiko Leach (10, from Waddesdon), Johanna Banga (11, Aylesbury), Jorja Clarke (nine, Aylesbury), Sebastian Shotliff, Katie Williams (10, Buckingham), Beatrice Hunter (11, Long Crendon)and Isabelle Sides (10, Berkhamsted).

Front line: Eden Cole (nine, from Tring), Madeleine Newington (10, Aylesbury), Dulcie Allsop (11, Berkhamsted), Jorja-Rose Griffiths (10, Beaconsfield), Grace Deane (nine, Hemel Hempstead), Mia Lillywhite (nine, Hemel Hempstead)and Ruby Cousins (eight, Hemel Hempstead).