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Home / Latest News / Young dancers share the stage with professionals from English Youth Ballet

Young dancers share the stage with professionals from English Youth Ballet

Anabelle Rees, 16, lives in Maesteg. She is playing the soloist role of a lead Wili Spirit:

“I think I was about two when I started dancing. My mum said that it was because I was always jumping around and dancing and that’s why she sent me to dance classes. I think my inspiration for dancing was from going to the theatre and watching professional ballets.  I dance three days a week for a total of six hours. I really wanted to be part of English Youth Ballet and dance alongside the professionals. “I’m dancing a solo and it’s quite hard as you are on your own and you have to do it right as everyone is only looking at you. I’ve been working in rehearsals with Amy who is a principal dancer and she is really nice and makes you feel very relaxed. I’m looking forward to being with everyone on stage and knowing that all the hard work has come together. I’m going to do my A-levels in 6th form in September and then hopefully go to a professional dance school when I am 18.”

Francesca Rees, 12,  is the younger sister of Anabelle:

“I think I was three or four when I started dancing. I asked to go because my sister went to dancing too. The first ballet that I ever saw on stage was when I went to see my sister in Alice in Wonderland.  I think I carried on doing ballet because I really wanted to do pointework – and I’m doing pointework now. I do about four hours dancing a week over three days. I wanted to be involved with English Youth Ballet because I got through the auditions two years ago but wasn’t able to do it then. Julianne, who plays Giselle, is our teacher at rehearsals and she is really good. I don’t know what I would like to do as a job – I would like to dance with EYB again though. I’m proud of my sister and she inspires me to dance and practise every day.”

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Bethan Griffiths, 15, lives in Whitchurch, Cardiff:

“I can’t remember when I started doing ballet – I think I have been doing it all my life. I do four hours of ballet a week at the Lemon School of Ballet. I auditioned for Coppelia when English Youth Ballet were in Cardiff last time. I enjoyed it so much that I wanted to do it again. In the ballet I dance the role of one of Giselle’s friends.  As the friends we have to interact with Giselle and all the children in the ballet. I enjoy getting into character and getting ready for the stage. In the rehearsals I’m coached by Miss Lewis, the English Youth Ballet director, and she gives quite a lot of corrections. I love waiting backstage with all my friends.  When I’m older I would like to audition for a professional ballet school.”

William Griffin, 17, lives in Cowbridge. In Giselle he is dancing the role of a Gentleman of the Hunt:

“I started dancing when I was three years old. There is a lot of bullying that happens at school but I think I just wanted to get it right. If I was going to do it I was going to do it well. The choreography for the hunt scene is quite tiring and fast and the timing is difficult. I enjoy meeting loads of new teachers at English Youth Ballet.  I’ve learnt loads more about lifting and partner work – pas de deux. I’m working in rehearsals with one of the English Youth Ballet principal dancers called Trevor Wood. He’s really good fun and his classes are great – I’ve learnt a lot from him. It’s good having a male teacher. I hope we get crowds of people at the performances and rapturous applause. In the future I would like to dance if I’m good enough.”

Isabel Grafton, 14, (on the left) lives in Penarth. She will be dancing as one of the Wili Spirits:

“I started dancing when I was three. Every little girl wants to be a ballerina. I think it was when I saw the Nutcracker that I got really keen. My dance teacher suggested that I audition for English Youth Ballet because she said it related well to the grade work I do with her.  The pointework we have to do as the Wilis is really painful.  My shoes are getting a bit soft now so it is tough. I have to bathe my feet in surgical spirit to harden them up. It’s really different working with professional dancers as they can give you tips because they have done it themselves – it’s nice. I love dancing and being on stage.  I think when I’m older I would love to teach – either dance, drama or in primary schools.”

Cerys Salter, 15, (on the right) photo) lives in Penarth. She is one of the Wili Spirits:

“When I was about three I saw a ballet version of The Snowman and that was when I asked to go to ballet. I fell in love with dance from an early age. I currently dance for about six hours a week but I’m hopefully looking to increase that to nine from next year. As a Wili in Giselle you have to be very floaty because you are a ghost but you also need a lot of stamina because there is quite a lot of standing around on stage in different positions and you wouldn’t think it would be so tiring.  I like dancing with professional dancers – it’s amazing and it shows us what we are aiming for, what there is out there and what we are trying to achieve. It will be nice to get back on the stage at the New Theatre as I haven’t performed there for a while. I’d love to do something with dance in the future – hopefully go to college and see what happens from there.”

Giselle is at the New Theatre, Cardiff, today and tomorrow. For details. call the box office on 029 2087 8889 or visit

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