Teen’s on her toes for ballet

Lucy Moat and Ciara Donnelly in rehearsals for Swan Lake. Picture by Ben Garner.
Lucy Moat and Ciara Donnelly in rehearsals for Swan Lake. Picture by Ben Garner.

A talented teenage dancer is stepping up to the professional stage after landing a role with the English Youth Ballet (EYB).

Fifteen-year-old Ciara Donnelly, who attends Morpeth’s King Edward VI School, has been chosen as one of the region’s 100 top young ballet stars to perform in Swan Lake at the Sunderland Empire later this month, sharing the stage with several international principal dancers.

She said: “I started dancing when I was four because I always used to like to dance.

“Dancing with English Youth Ballet is a great opportunity to perform on a professional stage in a professional show. It’s going to be great. I think my favourite ballet is Swan Lake too.”

The Stakeford resident, who would like to go on to run her own dance school or become an architect, was chosen to join the company’s production from nearly 250 young hopefuls, aged eight to 18, over two auditions.

Rehearsals are taking place at Walker Technology College under the guidance of the EYB’s principal dancers, including Oliver Speers, who also stars in the role of Prince Sergei.

He said: “The young dancers are treated like professional dancers during rehearsals. We work them hard, but the results are fantastic.

“They learn what the life of a professional dancer is like. They are living their dream and they just love it.”

The well-known ballet, with a score by Tchaikovsky, is set in 1895 Imperial Russia, telling a tale of love, rivalry, greed and murder as two unlikely lovers meet during preparations for the ballet.

EYB artistic director Janet Lewis has created the choreography for the production, with some 240 costumes designed by West End professional Keith Bish.

It runs at the Sunderland Empire on Friday, June 16, at 7.30pm, and Saturday, June 17, at 2.30pm and 7.30pm. For tickets call 0844 871 3022 or visit www.atgtickets.com/sunderland