A white swan amid the black basalt as Royal Company ballerina poses for shoot at the Giant's Causeway
A world-class ballerina perched on the side of the Giant's Causeway is not a sight you see every day.
Poised perfectly on the basalt outcrop, Melissa Hamilton caused a few unsuspecting tourists to do a double-take as they caught an unexpected glimpse of the stunning ballerina yesterday.
The 25-year-old dancer from Dromore, Co Down – a first soloist with the Royal Ballet Company in London – said she had a fantastic time at the Causeway with fellow company dancer, and her photographer for the day, Andrej Uspenski.
"It was absolutely freezing," she said. "We were lucky the rain stayed off and we got some good shots. I am an Allianz Ballet and Arts brand ambassador. The photoshoot is for a Belfast Telegraph supplement in a few weeks."
Andrej, who has published two photography books, had a fantastic time on his first visit to Northern Ireland. He told his Twitter followers he was "loving Belfast" and shared photographs of a frosty pint of Guinness and a lit-up Belfast City Hall.
"Andrej was very impressed by the culture and the excellent backdrop of the Giant's Causeway," Melissa said.
Sadly, Melissa was only making a flying visit to her former home. "I've got rehearsals for the upcoming triple bill; a new production of Gloria by MacMillan, which I'm making a debut in as the principal female... a new ballet being created by the company choreographer, Wayne McGregor – and the third piece is Rhapsody by Ashton," she said.
Melissa explained where her passion for ballet began.
"I was living in Northern Ireland until I was 16," she said. "I was trained at the Jennifer Bullick School of Ballet in Lisburn and Belfast. I'm making a life out of it now and have been with the company since 2007."
Flanked by the Atlantic Ocean on one side and dramatic cliffs on the other, the world-famous Giant's Causeway is the only World Heritage Site in Northern Ireland.
It lies at the foot of the basalt cliffs on the edge of the Antrim plateau and comprises 40,000 black basalt columns sticking out of the sea. The dramatic sight has inspired legends of giants striding over the sea to Scotland.