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Young stars swan into ballet roles
THE dreams of two young ballet hopefuls have been realised as they beat off fierce competition to secure a place in a production of Swan Lake at the New Theatre in Oxford.
Scarlet Roche, 11, of Bradon Forest School, and Joanna Miller, 11, of Churchfields Academy, stood out from a pack of 250 dancers who auditioned for the show in May.
They will now appear in a run of three performances on September 20 and 21 alongside the English Youth Ballet.
Scarlet was even more surprised when she learned she had also won an English Youth Ballet scholarship during the auditions.
She said: “I am really excited. I couldn’t believe it when they called my number to give me the scholarship. I am just really happy I was chosen.
“I have been working really hard and it has been quite difficult to do all the lessons. I have been having 16 lessons every week.
“I think it will be really fun though. It will be great to do it on a really big stage. It was great to see Joanna doing it as well, because I did not know she was going to be there.
“I have had five rehearsals so far, which have been really fun but a lot of work.”
The two girls will now go through a gruelling 10-day rehearsal process to prepare for the show.
Scarlet’s mum, Louise, said: “This is brilliant news, especially because she won the scholarship as well. Hundreds of children auditioned and only one got the scholarship, so obviously I am very proud and it means we do not have to pay for the show.
“Scarlet has been doing ballet since she was about six. It is great that her friend Joanna is doing it at the same time, and there is a very nice friendship between the two. They have done shows together before, including the Sound of Music at the Arts Centre.”
Lindsay, Joanna’s mum, said: “This is incredibly important to us, and she has done so well to get into it out of a pool of about 133 people. The catchment area was around 100 miles from Oxford, and they were the only two girls from Swindon to make it.
“She has been dancing since she was about three, so for eight or nine years, but this is the first project she has done professionally.
“She is ecstatic and really excited. She is glad she is learning an awful lot with other talented dancers. There is a good camaraderie and a lot of professionalism, and she loves all that.”
Julianne Rice-Oxley, British principal ballerina, was full of praise for the two girls.
She said: “The young dancers we are working with in Oxford have great energy and attack. Working in a professional environment gives the students a unique insight to life in a ballet company.
“They are so lucky, I wish there had been something like English Youth Ballet when I was training. I love my job and I feel very privileged to be a principal with English Youth Ballet as I get to work with some of the UK’s most talented young dancers. I find them incredibly inspiring.”
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