Banbury ballerinas selected by English Youth Ballet

Banbury Dancers (L-R) Anna Dahlman, Eve Townsley, Lauren Wade, Anna Blackmore, Millie Lock, Ella Stephenson, Elizabeth Hogben, Phoebe Sunga (photo Ben Garner) NNL-160928-122300001
Banbury Dancers (L-R) Anna Dahlman, Eve Townsley, Lauren Wade, Anna Blackmore, Millie Lock, Ella Stephenson, Elizabeth Hogben, Phoebe Sunga (photo Ben Garner) NNL-160928-122300001
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From hundreds of budding dancers a select group of talented Banburyshire ballerinas have been chosen to appear in the English Youth Ballets(EYB) production of Sleeping Beauty.

Auditions to appear in the production took place in July at the New Theatre in Oxford when nearly 300 young dancers were put through their paces under the watchful eye of EYB director and founder Miss Janet Lewis MBE.

Banbury ballerina Anna Blackmore (photo Ben Garner) NNL-160928-122535001

Banbury ballerina Anna Blackmore (photo Ben Garner) NNL-160928-122535001

Successful dancers were informed on the day and of the 300 applicants just 100 were chosen, eight from the Banbury area.

Chosen to appear are local dancers Anna Dahlman, 10, Eve Townsley, 9, Lauren Wade, 12 Anna Blackmore, 14, Millie Lock, 13, Ella Stephenson, 14, Elizabeth Hogben, 10 and Phoebe Sunga, 10.

Miss Lewis said: “EYB is all about providing extra performance experience to young dancers. We saw a very pleasing standard at the audition and it was lovely to see lots of enthusiasm.”

Rehearsals for the ballet are currently taking place at Oxford Academy under the guidance of former English National Ballet and Lisbon National Ballet dancer Julianne Rice-Oxley.

She 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.”

The ballerinas will have just ten days to rehearse before the opening night performance on Friday, October 7 at 7.30pm at the New Theatre, Oxford. There will be two further showings, both on Saturday October 8 at 2.30pm and again at 7.30pm.

Anna Blackmore from Duns Tew and a student at Warriner School was one of those selected, she said: “I started dancing when I was 3 because I kept moving around when I was young so my mum thought she should put me into ballet and I really enjoyed it.

“I have just started contemporary dance and I really like it.

“I am looking forward to dancing with English Youth Ballet for the professional experience and for the chance to dance in front of a big audience.

“When I am older I would like to become a dancer and dance with companies and then later on I will probably become a teacher.”

Leading the cast in Sleeping Beauty as Aurora is Amy Drew who is also guiding the young dancers during the rehearsals, she said: “Rehearsals for Beauty are going very well in Oxford. I enjoy getting to know the young dancers.

“It is wonderful having such talented young people all in the same place and working together.

“Our production of Beauty has gorgeous costumes and sets. I think that the young dancers are really excited about the costumes.”

Tickets and information for the three shows can be found here.