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Former ballet teacher is reunited with star pupil

By Andrew French
Oxford Mail
July 25, 2013

Ballet teacher, Sarah Doidge and James French (Photo by Denis Kennedy) 2013[Oxford, England] – Two years ago James French secured training with the Royal Ballet School in Covent Garden, London.

In September, the 11-year-old from Didcot will join the school full-time at White Lodge in Richmond, and will appear in The Nutcracker at the Royal Opera House at Christmas. And earlier this week, James met up with his former ballet teacher Sarah Doidge, who spotted his talent when he was three.

James was encouraged to try ballet by his parents Jacqui Sporle and Paul French, landlords of the Broadways pub in Didcot.

Ms Sporle attributes her son’s success to the good start he got when he was a pupil at Our Lady’s Abingdon Junior School. It was there James received tuition from Mrs Doidge, and on earlier this week she was able to see the progress he has made when they met at the school in St John’s Road.

Ms Sporle, 53, from Didcot, said: “It was lovely for James to be able to see Mrs Doidge again. She was his ballet teacher from when he about three-and-half and he loved it and went on from there. “He was copying his sister Danielle, who is now 16 and she is at Ballet West, a school for ballet dancers in Scotland.

“Last year James got a place at the Young Dancers Academy in Shepherd’s Bush in London and he has just completed his first year of full-time ballet training.

“With the Royal Ballet he has appeared at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty and The Prince of the Pagodas.

“In each year at the Royal Ballet School, there are only places for 12 boys and 12 girls in his year group, and more than 700 dancers auditioned twice for a place.

“I would love it if James gets the chance to become a ballet dancer full-time when he grows up, but I’m not pushing him into it – it’s what he wants as well.”

James added: “I remember when I was little I would do ballet with Mrs Doidge and she always made me laugh – it was lovely to see her again. I’m really looking forward to being in The Nutcracker.”

Mrs Doidge, from Abingdon, ran a ballet school for 30 years before she started her own business making jam about six years ago. Last year she agreed to supply top food store Fortnum & Mason with jars of plum conserve.

She said: “I taught James for about five years and I have been keeping an eye on his progress ever since. I think he has a very good chance of making it as a ballet dancer, provided he continues to work hard. The competition is tough, but physically he has all the attributes to make a good dancer.”

Copyright 2013 Newsquest

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Faversham ballet dancer lands Swan Lake role

By Claire McWethy
The Canterbury Times
July 30, 2013

Jake Inman,14,will dance in EYB's Swan Lake 2013[Kent, England] – Faversham’s answer to Billy Elliot has landed a role in a professional production of Swan Lake at the Marlowe Theatre.

Up-and-coming ballet star Jake Inman, 14, was selected in February after an audition where he was up against 200 young hopefuls. Now he is preparing for the performance of a lifetime, where he will be taking to the stage between August 23 – 24 with the English Youth Ballet (EYB). He will dance alongside EYB’s international principal artists and gain an insight into what life is like as a professional ballet dancer.

Jake who attends Canterbury Academy and is currently studying at the Dance Warehouse, said his dancing dreams began when he was just five years old. He said: “I started dancing very young. I used to get taken along to dancing with my sister and I really enjoyed looking at it so I started myself. I started tap dancing but when my parents suggested doing ballet as well I really took to it.

“I am looking forward to performing on the stage in Swan Lake and I am quite confident I can do it well.”

The young cast have begun rehearsing with the EYB’s dancers at The Canterbury Academy in an intensive ten-day schedule.

British principal ballerina, Julianne Rice Oxley said she was impressed by the talent in the young dancers.

She said: “They have great energy and attack. Working in a professional environment gives the students a unique insight into life in a ballet company. Jake is so lucky – I wish there had been something like EYB when I was training!

“I feel very privileged to be a principal with EYB as I get to work with some of the UK’s most talented young dancers. I find them incredibly inspiring!”

Copyright © 2013 Local World

Brothers are taking the world of ballet by storm

The Somerset Guardian
August 8, 2013

Brothers Elliot, 17, and Leo Horler, 11 (Photo by Kevin Bates) 2013

[Somerset, England] – Brothers Elliot and Leo Horler are dancing for joy following their individual successes in the world of ballet.

Both boys have been dancing since they were youngsters and Elliot, aged 17, is at the Hammond School, in Chester, and has just danced in a world premiere to mark the centenary of the birth of Benjamin Britten.

Plymouth Town was written when Britten was 17 and the ballet had never been performed until now when it was choreographed by Hammond senior classical teacher Jane Elliott. The performanceHYPERLINK  \l “” took place at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester.

Leo, a pupil at Writhlington School, has just returned from Cardiff where he had landed a major role with the English Youth Ballet in their production of Giselle. He had impressed the organisation when he took roles in their production of Sleeping Beauty in Weston-super-Mare earlier this year, and was invited to dance in Cardiff.

Leo, who trains at the Susan Hill School of Dance in Radstock, as did his brother before him, is determined to pursue a career in dance. He has been accepted on an associate programme at the Hammond School and his mum Carrie is hoping that he will succeed with a full funded place soon.

As well as training with Sue Hill, Leo also travels to Swindon where he studies with the town’s dance academy.

Janet Lewis, director of the English Youth Ballet, said Leo was a talented boy. She said: “Leo improved his ballet techniques daily during our rehearsal period and gained enormous confidence in his performance. His dramatic ability stood out in the part he played. He is a talented boy, perhaps another Billy Elliott of the future.”

Elliot is in the sixth form at Hammond and is enjoying concentrating on his musical theatre studies. He said: “It’s nice to be with people of similar interest. I am surrounded by people who are talented and enjoy doing the same things as me.”

Mrs Horler said she is proud of her sons and the success they enjoy. She said: “They both love to dance and enjoy it. We hope that Leo might get his chance at somewhere like the Hammond but that will require sponsorship.”

Copyright © 2013 Local World

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