Olivia lands top dance role

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A BUDDING ballet star is set to perform alongside internationally acclaimed dancers after landing a top role.

Hartlepool starlet Olivia Todd has been selected to dance with the English Youth Ballet in a performance of the famous ballet Swan Lake.

The talented 14-year-old was chosen from more than 200 other young hopefuls in an audition last year and will appear in the performances at the Mill Tyne Theatre, Newcastle, next month.

It is a dream come true for the St Hild’s C of E School pupil, described as one of the North-East’s top young dancers, and the chance to dance alongside some of the finest performers in the country.

Ben Garner, company manager at the English Youth Ballet, said: “Working with the English Youth Ballet will be one of the highlights of these talented young dancer’s careers to date.

“The audiences watching the EYB are in for a unique and exciting experience too, they will be seeing both top international artists and the best up-and-coming young talent from their region sharing the same stage.”

Olivia, who hones her skills at the Prima Academy for Performing Arts, in Washington, Tyne and Wear, will be dancing alongside acclaimed international principals Emma Lister and Oli Speers who will be performing in the lead roles, as well as a number of other local dancers who have earned the right to perform.

The youngster will also have the benefit of being able to experience what life as a professional is really like when she attends an intensive 11-day rehearsal course held at John Spence School, Tynemouth.

It will not be the first time that Olvia has had the chance to perform alongside the English Youth Ballet after taking part in a production of Coppelia in Newcastle last November.

Her proud mum, Julie, 49, of Tremaine Close, Hartlepool, said: “Olivia really enjoyed taking part in the production of a Coppelia last year, performing with professionals was something new for her so she’s very excited to get the chance to do it again.

“Swan Lake is a more technical ballet than Coppelia, so while it will be harder work, she is very much looking forward to the challenge.”

Olivia hopes to become a professional ballet dancer, but Julie said: “At the moment she’s just trying to remain focused on her academic pursuits.

“Professional ballet is such a tough career path so for the moment she’s just looking to keep her options open.”

The production takes place on Monday, April 16 and tuesday, April 17 and for tickets call 0844 493999.