More than 100 dancers from around the Portsmouth area will take to the Kings Theatre stage next Friday and Saturday night as the English Youth Ballet returns.
On October 18 and 19, alongside professionals, the children will perform the ballet Swan Lake. In the performance the seductive, evil Black Swan Odile and the beautiful but vulnerable White Swan Odette compete for the affections of the Prince.
Playing the role of Odile is principal dancer Amy Drew, and she has been working with the young dancers for the past few weeks in rehearsals.
Amy says: ‘We’ve been teaching them their parts and going through the production while their parents are there. It’s a lot of fun with such a big cast of dancers, who will all be in the ballet.
‘There are eight professionals and we each look after different ages in the group.’
Having auditioned for the roles earlier this year, Amy believes you can see they are learning new skills.
She explains: ‘The dancers from Portsmouth are so energetic and they really throw themselves into their dancing. It’s amazing to see.
‘As a job, working for the English Youth Ballet is perfect for me. We get to take part in challenging roles on-stage, as well as teaching children, from eight to 18, about dancing.’
The English Youth Ballet also gives children a chance to perform on a big stage in their area, which they may not necessarily do otherwise. ‘It’s brilliant for the kids to experience it,’ says Amy.
‘For them it’s like being in a professional production. They get to see how a dancer behaves backstage and how they hold themselves on-stage too. It helps them grow into more professional dancers for the future.
Especially when there are six hours of dancing at the weekends to prepare for it. Amy adds: ‘They always step up to the challenge. Some kids come back again and again because they love it so much.’
Tickets: £19 to £21 from the Kings Theatre, Southsea, on (023) 9282 8282 or go to kings-southsea.com.