It's all tutu exciting! Northern Ireland dancers join the corps de ballet for spectacular
Published 26/04/2014 | 11:00
They are the young local dancers taking tiny steps to success.
As the English Youth Ballet brings its spellbinding production of The Sleeping Beauty to the Grand Opera House on its first visit to Belfast, 112 male and female dancers from across Northern Ireland were chosen to take their place on stage alongside eight professional dancers.
Anticipation was building yesterday with last-minute tweaks during the dress rehearsal.
Among the local kids was Megan O'Reilly (14), from Belfast, who has been dancing for 11 years.
She said: "The rehearsals have been good, you are really tired at the end of it but it's still really fun. The experience is the best thing and meeting lots of other dancers that are interested in the same things as you."
With more than 200 sparkling outfits in the show, Nicole Bayliss (13), from Antrim, said she can't wait for the costume changes.
She said: "My favourite is the wedding scene costume – it's white with pink roses and is quite long."
Dancing alongside the professionals, who have performed for companies including the San Francisco Ballet, English National Ballet, Ballet Ireland and Northern Ballet Theatre has had an impact on the young stars who have received tips and advice.
Marie Claire O'Connor (12), from Newry, said: "It's really good fun working with the professional dancers, they are all amazing.
"It's quite stressful but they are really nice. I can't wait to show people what we have done in a small space of time."
Charlotte Dunn (15), from Bangor, added: "It's been amazing, the professional dancers have so many tips."
Twelve-year-old Alice Huddleston, from Comber, said: "I can't wait to perform with the professionals and see the whole ballet put together properly."
With just hours to go before curtain-up, the dancers turned their attention to the audience.
Georgina Bayliss (13), from Antrim, said: "Doing it in front of an audience is what I'm most excited about – it boosts your confidence."
Calla Nic-Aoidh (13), from Newry, said: "I'm looking forward to performing for everybody.
"It is quite tiring with long hours but it's fun as well. Tonight it will be a bit different – I'm nervous but it will be good fun."
Rebecca Runchman (14), from Antrim, said: "I'm really excited. I can't wait to perform and act in front of my parents in the real thing – everyone will do it to their best."
Kristopher Leckey, from Belfast, said: "I think it's a very good opportunity. We started practising two weeks ago.
"It's amazing working with the professional dancers, it's a really good inspiration and motivation to try and be like them."
Company manager Ben Garner said the dancers were amazed by the Northern Ireland talent.
"We have been been very impressed with the musicality and sense of drama the children have shown to us. Usually we have to coax it out of of them but they light up when they are dancing."
The English Youth Ballet – The Sleeping Beauty continues tonight