Derry girls chosen to dance with professional ballet company


Six lucky dancers from across the North West have been selected to dance with a professional ballet company.

Orna Canning, Alix Hull, Nicole Johnston, Amy Kilgore, Zoe Kyte, Phoebe McCord and Ellen McErlean have been offered roles in “Sleeping Beauty” and the opportunity to dance with the nationally acclaimed English Youth Ballet.



The talented dancers will be taking to the Grand Opera House stage in Belfast alongside principal dancer Amy Drew and six other international principal

They gained their places in English Youth Ballet at an audition in November attended by more than 300 of the regions’ most talented young dancers.

The magical production of “Sleeping Beauty” is being presented in Belfast for three performances on April 25 and 26.

The young cast are currently engaged with the professional dancers in rehearsals at Methodist College, Belfast, in a 10-day intensive rehearsal process.

All the girls, apart from Nicole, attend the Rainbow School of Dance in Eglinton. Nicole is a pupil at The Wendy Gibson Ballet Academy in Coleraine.

Alix Hull (14), who attends Limavady Grammar School, is excited about her future.

“I am fourteen and I started doing ballet when I was three. I don’t know why I started but I just really enjoy it and I’ve done it for so long and I would never want to quit. I would like to do performing arts as a career.

“Perhaps I would like to do West End and musicals. I’ve performed in the pantomime in the Forum in Londonderry and Londonderry Musical Society. I am looking forward to English Youth Ballet to spend a lot of time with other people who want to do ballet.”

Australian principal ballerina Amy Drew, says: “The young Northern Ireland dancers we are working with have great energy and attack. Working in a professional environment gives the students a unique insight into life in a ballet company.

“They are so lucky – I wish there had been something like EYB in Australia when I was training! I feel very privileged to be a principal with the EYB as I get to work with some of the UK’s most talented young dancers. I find them incredibly inspiring”.