The next generation of budding ballerinas had the opportunity to get a glimpse of life behind the scenes in a ballet company when the Vienna Festival Ballet came to the Clair Hall.
The ballet stars paid a visit to the Gielgud Academy of Performing Arts in Haywards Heath.
Gielgud Academy principal Suzanne Gielgud said: “The company, who are currently touring the UK with their production of Cinderella to a specially-commissioned score by Rossini, allowed Gielgud Academy pupils the chance to meet them backstage.
“Vienna Festival Ballet is the company that I danced with during my ballet career, so when I heard they were performing in Gielgud Academy’s home town I asked the artistic director Peter Mallek, if we could come along and spend the afternoon with the company.
“He was thrilled and said yes! The Gielgud Academy children were treated to meeting the dancers and watched them training in their daily ballet class and rehearsal with the Gielgud Academy head girl and head boy being given permission to join in the ballet class. After watching the performance they were all invited up on stage to join the dancers for a photo-shoot.”
Emily Martin, aged nine, from Haywards Heath, said, “One of the Ugly Sisters showed us her costumes before the show started.
“It made me feel like I was a part of the ballet.”
Louisa Harris, eight, added: “It was really special because when we were watching the dancers in ballet class I spotted Cinderella’s silver shoes on the edge of the stage.
“My sister and I went up for a closer look and then the real Cinderella ballerina came up and spoke to us and let us touch her magic shoes.
“They were so sparkly!”
Gielgud Academy’s head boy James Furnell, 17, from Lindfield, added: “Being able to join in the company ballet class was a real honour and it’s something I’ll never forget.”
Vienna Festival Ballet was founded by Mr Mallek in 1980.
They are touring the UK with Cinderella and Swan Lake until June 2014.
They perform Cinderella at the Chequer Mead theatre, East Grinstead on Wednesday, April 16.
For more information on how to audition for the Gielgud Academy go to www.gielgudacademy.co.uk.