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By Michael Benke
The Swindon Advertiser
May 2, 2013

Jacob O’Connell, 15, a student on the Swindon Dance Youth Dance Academy Contemporary Programme, has won a place at Rambert  2013[Swindon, England] – Years of dedication and hard work have paid off for teenager Jacob O’Connell after he secured a place at a world renowned dance school.

Jacob, 15, of Covingham, who has been a member of Swindon Dance academy’s developmental programme since the age of 11, will begin at the prestigious Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance in London in September.

He said: “I’m really chuffed to have been accepted as I’ve put in a lot of hard work. I started classical training in year 10 and always had Rambert in mind so I’m pleased to have achieved my goal.

“I really want to thank everyone at Swindon Dance who have really helped me so much.”

It has taken years of dedication to reach such a high level, which has involved juggling practicing with studies but Jacob believes it is all worth it. “I do several hours of practice a week after school, so at times it is a struggle to do everything but I manage,” he said.

The audition process included several hours of classes, a performance and then an interview before Jacob endured a nerve-wracking 10 days waiting to hear the outcome. “I was waiting on the postman everyday. It was such a relief to find out that I’d made it,” he said.

Teachers at Swindon Dance have expressed their pride in Jacob’s impressive achievement. “It’s a great achievement and we’re all very proud of him,” said Sarah Ferris, co-ordinator of contemporary dance at Swindon Dance. “Rambert get lots of applications from Europe and all over the world, so demand is very high.

“There are only a handful of places on offer so for Jacob to make it is a remarkable achievement.”

Jacob, a pupil at Dorcan Academy, turns 16 just a month before he is due to start which will make him one of the youngest students at the college. Upon completion of his intensive three year course he will gain a foundation degree in dance.

As someone who has coached Jacob for a number a years, Sarah believes he is fully deserving of his place. “He has put in a lot hours to get into Rambert. Not only does he have the skill required to be successful but also the right attitude,” she said.

“It is a fantastic story of someone with dedication achieving their life-long ambition.”

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