Amazing opportunity for young dancers

Steyning Grammar School student Aimee Barker, 12, rehearsing
Steyning Grammar School student Aimee Barker, 12, rehearsing

Young dancers are living their dreams by taking part in a professional production of Swan Lake.

Talented girls from the area are having an amazing time in rehearsals with English Youth Ballet at The Hawth Theatre in Crawley.

These include 12-year-old Steyning Grammar School student Aimee Barker, from Upper Beeding. She attends the Let’s Dance Studio.

Swan Lake, starring international principal dancers Amy Drew, Adele Robbins, Monica Tapiador, Richard Read, Brenden Bratulic, Trevor Wood and Steven Wheeler, will be presented on November 25 and 26.

All the soloist and corps de ballet roles in the production will be performed by 100 of the finest dancers aged eight to 18 from West Sussex and the surrounding areas.

Tickets can be purchased from the box office on 01293 553636 or online at

The successful dancers were chosen at a huge audition in July for nearly 300 young hopefuls.

Director Janet Lewis said the atmosphere at the theatre, the nerves and the excitement were all electric.

“EYB is all about providing extra performance experience to young dancers,” she added.

“We saw a very pleasing standard at the audition and it was lovely to see lots of enthusiasm.”

Rehearsals for the ballet take place at Reigate School with Oliver Speers, who is coaching the young dancers and will also be starring in the role of Prince Sergei.

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.”

Amy Drew, who will be dancing the leading role of Odette and Odile, is also training the young cast.

She said: “Rehearsals for Swan Lake are going very well in Crawley and I am really enjoying getting to know the young dancers.

“It is wonderful having such talented young people all in the same place and working together. I think that there is a unique and wonderful synergy that takes place because all the dancers learn so much from watching each other and from watching the professionals, too.

“Our production of Swan Lake is such a dramatic ballet and I think that the young dancers really enjoy telling the story as it is very powerful and gripping.”

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