Young Crawley dancers take to the stage

A strong contingent of talented young Crawley-area dancers will take to the stage when Nutcracker visits The Hawth Theatre, Crawley on Friday and Saturday, November 19-20.

The Crawley team
The Crawley team

There will be three performances of English Youth Ballet’s acclaimed production.

“The glittering production will star international principal dancers and showcase the talents of 88 young dancers from the south-east,” said spokesman Ben Garner.

“On Christmas Eve, Clara is given a nutcracker doll by Uncle Drosselmeyer. That night she dreams that the Nutcracker is transformed into a handsome prince and together they embark on an exciting adventure.

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    “First, they defeat the seven-headed Rat King and his army before travelling through the Snow Forest. Finally, they reach the glittering Kingdom of the Sweets where the Prince introduces Clara to the Sugar Plum Fairy.

    “Divertissements of spectacular dances, each representing a sweet is given in her honour. The sweeping Sugar Plum pas de deux with the Prince brings the dream to a glorious close; Clara and audience will leave the Kingdom of the Sweets with Tchaikovsky’s famous score playing in their minds.”

    Ben added: “The cast were selected in a big virtual audition back in July 2020. The young dancers were sent a short audition class to learn and then film themselves performing. The videos were submitted to EYB to choose the cast. There were over 170 young hopeful dancers who prepared and sent videos.

    “There are 88 young dancers from across the south-east in the production. The cast will have rehearsed for 60 hours over ten days of rehearsals at weekends. The rehearsals take place at Hazelwick School.

    “At rehearsals, the dancers experience the working life of a professional dancer. EYB take over three large rehearsal spaces in the school that are used simultaneously. Rehearsals always start with company classes for the dancers to warm-up. The dancers need to keep an eye on the complex rehearsal timetable throughout the day.”

    Janet Lewis, EYB director, said: “The cast have shown great enthusiasm and excitement in their Nutcracker rehearsals. The children are obviously so pleased to be back dancing again and taking part in a ballet that they love.”

    Among the young dancers are a strong number from the Crawley area. Participating dancers include (name, aged, dance school, day school): Gloria-Helena Abo, nine, Steppers Dance Group, Northgate Primary School; Eva Ashworth, ten, Masters of Ballet Academy, The Gatwick School; Lara Bedir, 15, Louise Ryrie School of Dance & Drama, Hazelwick School; Jessica, Etchells, 17, Louise Ryrie School of Dance, Hazelwick School; Anna Hartley, 14, Stages Performing Arts, Thomas Bennett Community School; Michaela Hendricks-Paul, 16, Louise Ryrie School of Dance, Holy Trinity CofE Secondary School; Alice Herbert, 12, Louise Ryrie School of Dance & Drama, St Wilfrids Catholic Comprehensive School; Lucy Jellicoe, 14, Louise Ryrie School of Dance & Drama, Hazelwick School; Ciara Lee, 14, Louise Ryrie School of Dance, Ifield Community College; Hannah Lyons, nine, Louise Ryrie School of Dance, Three Bridges Primary School; Emilia Phillips, 11, Louise Ryrie School of Dance & Drama, Pound Hill Junior School; Matilda Singporewala, ten, Louise Ryrie School of Dance, Our Lady Queen of Heaven RC Primary School; Abigail Smith, 11, Louise Ryrie School of Dance, Three Bridges Primary School; Sophia Sos, ten, Louise Ryrie School of Dance & Drama; and Laila White, 15, Louise Ryrie School of Dance & Drama, Millais School.

    Tickets on 01293 553636 or at