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The Swindon Advertiser
Photograph by Stuart Harrison
August 29, 2012

The dance industry is a cut-throat, competitive and not to mention expensive business. And this September, 18-year-olds Elizabeth Allan and Aaron Jenkins will both be pirouetting into this ruthless new world.

The dancing duo have been best of friends since they attended the Judith Hockaday School of Dance and Drama as youngsters. They regularly competed in national competitions including the All-England Dance competition, Janet Cram Awards and the Imperial Classical Ballet Awards. Aaron previously placed second in the Ballet Awards as well as winning the boy’s award.

Once 16, both progressed up to the Judith Hockaday College where their close friendship blossomed.

Many will have seen them recently in the Wyvern Theatre’s production of West Side Story. The final show was an emotional but temporary farewell to the Swindon stage.

Following a dramatic few months, the pair are now leaving their individual family homes in Swindon and moving in to student accommodation in London. Aaron and Liz will live together whilst attending Laine Theatre Arts College. Both dancers auditioned successfully for a spot on the Professional Musical Theatre course.

“There were more than 1,000 dancers and only 70 places available,” said Elizabeth.

And the good news didn’t stop there. Elizabeth and Aaron were two of 30 dancers to be deemed as showing the most potential at their audition. They will therefore receive a Dance and Drama Award (DaDA) that covers the majority of their tuition fees.

“I was absolutely overwhelmed that I’d got in and then especially when I found out I’d been offered a scholarship because I wouldn’t be able to go without one,” said Aaron.

Elizabeth said: “I still really want to get a part-time job but I don’t know whether I will be too tired after dancing all day, every day.”

Graduates from Laine’s have gone on to achieve international heights with students gaining roles in hit films such as Mamma Mia and Streetdance 3D. They have also become a prominent fixture in the West End, frequently grabbing lead roles in musicals like Billy Elliot and Dirty Dancing.

However, the college’s impeccable reputation comes at a price. “It costs around £300 for uniform alone and that’s just for things like leotards, shoes and tights,” said Elizabeth.

Nevertheless, they are clearly excited to begin their new adventure together, one that will hopefully end up at the West End stage.

“I’m looking forward to having freedom and I’m over the moon that I’m going with my best friend,” said Aaron.

Copyright 2012 Newsquest

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