Lucy leads the way for young dancers

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A MORPETH woman’s quest to bring high quality performing arts training to the North East has found more success as the prestigious Royal Ballet School strikes up a partnership.

Lucy Sage was born and grew up in Morpeth, but had to go to London to pursue her dream. So, after graduating from the internationally-renowned Italia Conti School, she resolved to return to her roots to offer other North East youngsters the chance to develop their talents closer to home.

Now, 10 years on, her Sage Academy of Performing Arts in Newcastle is an established leader in the field, offering a two-year professional diploma.

From September it will also provide a one-year foundation programme.

And in recognition of its high standards, the Royal Ballet School has linked up to offer a junior associate programme for eight to 10-year-olds at the academy.

Ms Sage said: “The Royal Ballet School has never had a centre in the North East at all so this is really exciting for us. It is just giving us a little bit of acknowledgement for what we do. It is putting the north east on the map.”

The Principal aims to keep the cost of the academy’s own courses as low as possible, with the diploma programme costing around £5,000 a year, about half the average fees charged at other performing arts colleges, and the foundation course costing £3,888.

“When I trained I was very lucky because there were Government grants available, but today there is nothing like that so students have to find their own funding,” said Ms Sage.

“If you were to go to one of the famous schools, and there are only about 18 in the whole country, it could cost £10,000 to £12,000 a year. To find that for two or three years is out of the reach of many young people.

“For children to go away from home to train at 16 is quite a lot. Not everybody is ready to leave home at that age.

“Now they can come to us for a couple of years and still live at home and get the support they need from family and friends, which means they can work much better without worrying about all the other things you need to think about when living away from home.”

An open day will be held at the academy on Monday, from 10am to 1pm, for students and their families to look around, join in or observe classes and chat to industry professionals.

To reserve a place in the taster classes call 0191 224 5604 or email