They are Charlotte Alford, aged 14, Davies School of Dance, The Weald Community School; Lucy Langley, 14, Davies School of Dance, The Weald School; Isobel Lowson, 14, JBA Dance, Millais School; Charlotte McGivern, 14, Elsden School of Dance, Tanbridge House School; Isobella Nicholson, 12, JBA Dance, The Weald School; Juliette O’Doherty, 14, Davies School of Dance, The Weald Community School; Jasmine Stebbings, 12, JBA Dance, St Andrews CofE Primary School; and Holly Whitefield, 12, Horsham School of Dance, Tanbridge House School.
Holly said: “I started ballet when I was three with Horsham School of Dance because when I was little I enjoyed the thought of being in a pretty pink leotard and I enjoyed spending time with my friends.
“One of the best feelings of dance is being able to let go of any thoughts on your mind and just dance instead. Another great feeling is the excitement that everyone around you has when you are working towards performing. I enjoy the satisfaction of finally getting something right that you’ve been working on.
“In some ways it is very exciting because you get to do something new but in other ways it is slightly nerve-racking because I want to do my best.
“I also feel proud of myself that I succeeded in the EYB audition.”
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.
“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.”
Tickets can be bought at the box office on 01293 553636 or at www.parkwoodtheatres.co.uk/the-hawth.
Ben added: “The cast were selected in 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.”