Students go behind the scenes

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STUDENTS from the Gielgud Academy of Performing Arts (GAPA) in Haywards Heath enjoyed given an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at life as a professional dancer with English National Ballet (ENB).

Students began the day by watching the company rehearse for their afternoon performance: “Their rehearsal looked really tough,” said GAPA ballet student Lucy Billingham West.

“The dancers are amazingly flexible and by watching them practice you really appreciate how strong they have to be to make everything look so graceful and effortless.”

After a picnic lunch in Trafalgar Square, GAPA students were taken on a backstage tour by English National Ballet’s company manager Emily Burton. The children saw how shoes and costumes are dyed, how wigs are created and then set into various styles the ENB’s ‘wig oven.’

They also saw how wigs and makeup transform a dancer into their character.

GAPA principal Suzanne Gielgud said: “This is exactly the kind of unique experience we can give our students. We have a long-standing and close association with English National Ballet that enables us to demonstrate to our pupils first-hand how a world-class ballet company operates behind the scenes.”