Young ballerinas preparing to step out on stage in ‘Swan Lake’

Ballerinas - Ellie McCausland, Beth Thornton, Katy Gunning, and Rebecca Runchman.
Ballerinas - Ellie McCausland, Beth Thornton, Katy Gunning, and Rebecca Runchman.

Four talented young dancers from the Antrim area are currently having an amazing time in rehearsals for a professional production of the ballet – Swan Lake, following their selection by the English Youth Ballet (EYB).

Grammar School students Ellie McCausland, Beth Thornton, Rebecca Runchman, and Primary School pupil Katy Gunning are rehearsing for Swan Lake which will be presented by English Youth Ballet at the Grand Opera House in Belfast from November 9-11.

The ballet will star international principal dancers – Samantha Camejo, Amy Drew, Monica Tapiador, Phillip Tunstall, Richard Read, Oliver Speers, Trevor Wood and Steven Wheeler. All the soloist and corps de ballet roles in the production will be performed by 100 of the finest dancers (aged eight – 18) from Northern Ireland and Ellie, Beth, Rebecca, and Katy are among them. Rebecca said: “I am looking forward to dancing with English Youth Ballet for the overall performance. It will be good for my technique but I am most looking forward to the acting and being on stage.”

EYB held a huge audition for the ballet at Methodist College in April when nearly 300 young hopeful dancers turned up to the two auditions where Director and founder of English Youth Ballet – Miss Janet Lewis MBE – was on the lookout for the hottest young dance talent to join her award-winning company for the production in Belfast.

The lucky dancers heard they had been accepted on the day.

Miss Lewis said: “EYB is all about providing extra performance experience to young dancers. We saw a very pleasing standard at the audition.”

EYB has helped many of the UK’s top talent springboard their training progress and careers into some of the world’s greatest ballet companies – including the Royal Ballet Company. Rehearsals for the ballet are taking place at Methodist College Belfast.

The cast of Swan Lake will have rehearsed for 60 hours at Methodist Colege for the production for which a team of over 30 chaperones will look after the young performers at the Grand Opera House.

Oliver Speers coaches the young dancers in rehearsals and he will 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!”

The young ballerinas from Antrim and their fellow young cast members will rehearse for 10 days for the production for which tickets are now available at www.goh.co.uk