Portsmouth ballet ‘besties’ delight at joining world-renowed dance scheme

Tara Holland, left, and Zoe Hartley
Tara Holland, left, and Zoe Hartley
St James Church, in Clanfield. Picture: Google Street View

Church hall window smashed overnight in Clanfield

  • Friends from Fareham and Cosham complete prestigious ballet course
  • They were taught by some of the world’s best professional dancers
  • The duo now have hopes of a career in dance
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THESE two talented young dancers are on track to reach new heights after completing a world-renowned training course for aspiring young ballet stars.

Friends Tara Holland, 13, of Cosham and Zoe Hartley, 12, of Fareham, both took to the stage after finishing an intensive 10-day boot camp with the National Youth Ballet of Great Britain.

We were so excited to get this opportunity, especially being able to do it together

Zoe Hartley, 12

The dancing duo joined 120 of the UK’s top young ballet stars to be coached by some of the world’s leading dancers.

Past pupils of the prestigious course have since gone onto join elite dance companies including the Royal Ballet and English National Ballet and have performed across the globe.

The 10-day residential was topped off with a major memorial gala at Sadler’s Wells Theatre, in London, hosted by Absolutely Fabulous star Joanna Lumley and performances at the Hawth Theatre, in Crawley.

Zoe, a pupil at Fareham Academy, said: ‘We were so excited to get this opportunity, especially being able to do it together.’

Both girls began dancing at the age of three and attend the Timestep Academy of Dance and Performing Arts – based in Portchester and Wymering.

The pair put in hours of practice every week and travel to London on Saturdays to train at the Central School of Ballet.

They have also performed in renditions of The Nutcracker and Swan Lake with the English Youth Ballet and Christmas pantomimes at the Kings Theatre in Southsea.

Mayville High School pupil Tara has even inspired her younger brother Louis, nine – who is also an award-winning dancer – into ballet.

Speaking of the girls’ training, Tara’s mum Miranda, 41, said: ‘I’m very proud of them. It was very exciting for them. They spent a long time training and it was an incredible experience for them.’

The plucky pair both have aspirations of becoming professional dancers when they leave school.

Principal Sarah Williams runs Timestep and is certain the duo will become future stars – if they continue to work hard.

‘Tara is a lovely student, she’s always enthusiastic and turns up to every class,’ she said.

‘She will go on to be an incredible dancer­ – she’s got the dedication and the talent and she will definitely make it.’

She described Zoe as being very dedicated and added: ‘She puts everything into every class.

‘She’s an exceptionally good pupil and will surely go on to do something in the dancing world.’