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The Oxford mail
May 18, 2013
[Abridged]

Ronnie Bates, 9, successfully auditioned for EYB's Swan Lake 2013Hundreds of real-life Billy Elliots twirled and pirouetted their way to starring in the famous ballet Swan Lake.

Almost 300 youngsters auditioned for a place in the ballet at the New Theatre in Oxford. Aged between eight and 18, the children were judged on their grace and poise before 100 of them were picked for parts in the show.

They will now get 11 six-hour days of expert tuition from professional dancers before the performances at the theatre on September 20 and 21. It is the first time the English Youth Ballet has held auditions for a performance in Oxford.

One of those to make it through on Thursday was Ronnie Bates, nine, from Cumnor, who said: “I am excited and really happy. I am really looking forward to the opportunity and it is going to be really fun. Dancing make me feel alive.”

His mum, Rachel Bates, 42, said: “I am ecstatic. It is all he has ever wanted to do. It is hard being a boy in this industry and he has the mickey taken out of him, but he has really stuck it out. I am very proud of him and I shall be crying my eyes out during the show.”

English Youth Ballet director Janet Lewis said: “It is to give a performance opportunity to young dancers and give them a taste of what it is like to be in a professional ballet company.

“I am impressed with the enthusiasm and the footwork today. Judging by the level of so many here it will be a fantastic show.”

Copyright 2013 Newsquest

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