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Monday, 21 April 2014

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Rachel’s dream role

A TALENTED young dancer has won her “dream” role in the world’s most famous ballet.

Rachel Hartley, of Beckermet, will take on the part of a swan in English Youth Ballet’s upcoming production of the iconic Swan Lake, and says it will be a privilege to be part of such a prestigious show.

“I was so shocked to get the part, but it’s absolutely amazing,” says Rachel, 17, a former West Lakes Academy pupil.

“It’s such an honour and a privilege to be chosen for a show like this and it really is a dream come true.”

Rachel is currently working with the rest of the young cast alongside the English Youth Ballet’s principal dancers in intensive rehearsals ahead of the three-show run at Preston’s Charter Theatre on April 5 and twice on April 6.

She successfully auditioned for the show in November, in her first audition for the award-winning Youth Ballet, whose ethos is performing in regional theatres, having professional principal dancers in leading roles and giving young dancers from outside London the chance to perform in a professional setting.

“It’s such an honour and a privilege to be chosen for Swan Lake – it really is a dream come true.”

Rachel said of the original audition: “There were 150 girls all on the stage at once, doing some routines in front of a panel, and they selected the ones who would go forward for the show.

“The rehearsals are quite intensive now – six hours a day, three times a week – so there’s a lot of work and a lot of travelling to Preston and back with my mum Wendy, but I can’t wait for the show to start.”

Swan Lake is set in 1895 imperial Russia and is a story of love, rivalry, greed and murder. And a role in this show has been Rachel’s dream since she first picked up a pair of ballet shoes aged three.

She started with Alison Taylor’s Dance Academy, in Egremont, where she spent nine years before progressing to Avril Crellin’s Lakeland School of Dance and Performing Arts at Branthwaite.

While there, she achieved consistently high grades in her Royal Academy of Dance Ballet examinations, as well as achieving her Intermediate Vocational Ballet at the Royal Academy of Dance headquarters in London.

“I’ve been involved in a lot of performances locally, like charity shows and our own productions of Cinderella and Hansel and Gretel.

“I’ve also been in a few shows with the European Ballet. When they come to Cumbria, they tour with a main cast and look for local performers to fill out the extra roles.

“I have done three shows with them in Workington’s Carnegie Theatre; Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and Coppelia.”

Rachel has now left school to pursue a career in ballet full-time, and hopes this role in Swan Lake will help her fulfil her stage ambitions.

For more information about the show call 0844 8447710 or visit www.prestonguildhall.com.

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