After days of intense rehearsals, 112 Ulster ballet pupils will take to the stage this weekend as part of a production which is being hailed as a huge coup for young dancers in Northern Ireland.
The English Youth Ballet’s performance of The Sleeping Beauty will incorporate the local dancers alongside eight professional performers for three shows at the Grand Opera House on Friday and Saturday.
While a few local dancers usually get a chance to audition for and take part in large productions when a ballet company visits Belfast, this time the scale is much bigger, giving more than 100 people from 29 different dance schools across Northern Ireland the chance to get involved.
One of the principal dancers Amy Drew has praised the selected dancers for their “musical and dramatic style”.
Looking forward to the weekend with nerves and excitement in equal measure are teens Dena Philpott and Miranda Sinlay. both pupils of Methody College and the Jacqueline Philpott School of Dance.
Miranda, who will play a jewel and a relative in the performance, told the News Letter she is fulfilling a childhood dream.
“It is quite a big deal to dance with the principal dancers, we all want to be good and impress them,” said the 15-year-old.
“They’ve been lovely and really helpful, especially with technical advice. It’s really given us an insight into being a professional dancer.”
Dena, who will take to the stage as a relative in the production, said she is most looking forward to seeing how things work behind the scenes of the show.
“Rehearsals have been intense and tiring but I’ve loved it all,” said the 14-year-old.
“I can’t wait to see how it will all come together and how things work backstage at productions like this.”
English Youth Ballet’s principal dancers have danced in some of the world’s most famous companies, including English National Ballet, San Francisco Ballet and Northern Ballet Theatre.
The essence of the plot is good gloriously triumphing over evil, according to show literature.
Amy Drew and Brenden Bratulic will be dancing the leading roles on Friday, April 25 and Saturday, April 26. For tickets, call the box office on (028)90 24 1919.