Banbury dancer takes on one of the ‘greatest roles in classical ballet’

Pamela Hawkins, from Banbury, is performing the lead part of Cinderella in the Birmingham Royal Ballet's production of Cinderella Dreams. NNL-170214-134057001

Pamela Hawkins, from Banbury, is performing the lead part of Cinderella in the Birmingham Royal Ballet's production of Cinderella Dreams. NNL-170214-134057001

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A production of Cinderella designed to showcase new and emerging dance talent has cast a Banbury girl in its lead role.

Pamela Hawkins, 12, will be dancing the part of Cinderella in the Birmingham Royal Ballet’s (BRB) production of Cinderella Dreams, which is being performed on Monday, February 20, at the Birmingham Hippodrome.

Pamela started dancing at the age of four at the Sharon Green Dance Academy in Bodicote.

While there, she achieved the highest exam score in the history of the school and was soon an associate, then a full-time pupil at Elmhurst Ballet School, an associate school of BRB.

Now she will be dancing in what is considered to be one of the greatest roles in classical ballet.

She said: “Ever since I was a little girl, I have always loved the story of Cinderella.

“So being asked to dance this role in my first ever full length ballet is truly amazing.”

She added she was surprised to be chosen for the lead role. More than 150 hopefuls were auditioned for the production and a final cast 65 was selected.

Pamela said: “I can’t quite believe that I was chosen for the part of Cinderella as there were so many beautiful dancers at both auditions.

“I have watched the DVD of BRB’s Cinderella so many times and have been very lucky to go and see the company perform at the Hippodrome when I was at Elmhurst Ballet School.

“Elisha Willis was amazing as Cinderella and for me now to perform that role on the same stage as her is quite unbelievable.”

Rehearsals for the production have been the ‘highlight’ of her week.

Every Thursday, she travels up to Birmingham with her mum and dad to rehearse.

She said: “It’s the most exciting thing I’ve ever been part of.

“I will be very sad when it’s all over and I will miss everyone!”

Pamela added: “I have enjoyed lots of things.

“I have made new friends as well as catching up with old ones from Elmhurst and Royal Ballet Associates.

“I have also been so lucky to meet former BRB dancer Elisha Willis (who is in fact making my costume).

“It’s quite scary performing my solos in front of her. I hope she likes my dancing.”

Although all her free time has been filled with training, she said she didn’t find it difficult to balance her training and schoolwork.

She said: “I’m lucky my parents are very supportive and take me to all my rehearsals and classes.

“I train five times a week so don’t have a lot of spare time to meet up with my friends at the moment.

“My mum also makes sure that my homework is done and up to date along with my piano practice.

“It’s very important to keep up with school work alongside my ballet training and rehearsals.”

Her dance school will be performing their own version of Cinderella, in April, after Pamela has finished at Birmingham.

“However my role this time is Prince Charming. I guess it’s now time to get back to my weekly classes and prepare for my next RAD exam.

“Cinderella Dreams has shown me that hard work and training makes it all worthwhile.”

She added: “I would tell all young budding ballerinas to audition and take part in performances such as Cinderella Dreams.

“You meet and make so many new friends who also love ballet and it’s just such a wonderful experience to share together. Have a go. I did, and look where this took me.”

Cinderella Dreams adapts David Bintley’s choreography and Sergei Prokofiev score to create a new version of Cinderella.

Pamela will be sharing the role with Karla Doorbar, dancing the kitchen scenes, before Doorbar is transformed into Cinderella as the mysterious guest at the palace ball.

The role of the Fairy Godmother will be played by 76-year-old Ilona Johnson-Gibbs, fulfilling a lifetime ambition to become a ballet dancer.

The show starts at 7pm.

To book tickets, visit www.brb.org.uk/whats-on/event/cinderella-dreams.