BY KATE DENNETT
Aspiring ballet dancers from Wandsworth have been given the chance to perform with the well-known theatre company London Children’s Ballet, writes Kate Dennett.
Each year more than 700 children audition to join London Children’s Ballet, with only 60 children making the final cast.
Wandsworth children Ella Lewis, Olivia Coffey, Ella Ronte, Frank Davison and Isla McDonald will all star in Ballet Shoes from July 4-7 at London’s Peacock Theatre.
Ella Lewis, 11, said: “It’s such an honour to have been chosen for LCB as so many talented children auditioned. It really was a dream come true and has been life-changing for me.
“I wasn’t doing very well at school a couple of years ago and I also struggled with my confidence.
But my LCB experience has shown me that if I work hard, put my mind to it, and follow my dreams anything is possible.
“I’m dancing in the West End and I got into my dream secondary school.
“ I wouldn’t have believed I could do that before LCB. It has changed my life and my confidence.”
The lucky children chosen are given 100 hours of free ballet training and the chance to perform on the West End stage.
Olivia Coffey, 11, said: “It was the most amazing feeling in the world to be chosen to dance with LCB.
“I am naturally a shy person so I tend to express myself through my dancing. “I am so glad that I am able to show in dancing this production what I find difficult to express in words.
“It is a great honour and pleasure to be dancing with the LCB.”
Patron of London Children’s Ballet, Dame Darcey Bussell, said: “To dance on a stage is the dream for so many young dance students.
“Unfortunately, few get this opportunity, which is one reason why London Children’s Ballet is so important. It gives children the chance to be part of a youth company, to be chosen for their talent regardless of shape, size or financial background.”
Performing on the stage gives these young dancers a chance to get involved with the industry they love, learn about what goes on backstage in a West End show and start their dancing careers with one-foot forward.
Ella Ronte, 13, said: “I went to watch LCB ballets when I was in primary school. “They were so beautiful and professional but just with children and I wondered if I could be good enough to be part of that.
“I auditioned three years in a row and I got through some rounds but never made it to the end – into the cast.
“This year I did. And it has taught me that if I really want something, I can get it if I work hard and keep trying’.”