Ballet show to feature dancers from Batley, Dewsbury, Mirfield and Spen

A ballet production coming to St George’s Hall in Bradford later this month will feature talented young dancers from Dewsbury, Batley, Mirfield and Spen.

By Jessica Barton
Saturday, 16th April 2022, 5:00 pm
Daisy Fox (10), Emily Fretwell (9), Casey Hawkins (12) and Olivia Keyworth (9), talented dancers from Dewsbury.
Daisy Fox (10), Emily Fretwell (9), Casey Hawkins (12) and Olivia Keyworth (9), talented dancers from Dewsbury.

Coppélia will be performed by English Youth Ballet (EYB) - one of the UK’s largest ballet companies.

The opportunity to watch EYB will be a unique experience as the sell-out audiences are expected to be treated to international principal artists sharing the stage with the top up-and-coming young talent from the local area.

The company is made up of six professional principals and 70 selected dancers - aged between eight and 18.

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Ellie Brown (10) and Lily Mankelow (13) who are immensely talented dancers from Batley.

The 70 young dancers are some of the top talents from the local area - and 12 are from Dewsbury, Batley, Mirfield and Spen.

Among the young dancers from the local area – who were selected in a competitive video audition in January - are Alexia Crawshaw, nine, Isabelle King, 10, and Ellis Lee, 10, from Mirfield; Ellie Brown, 10 and Lily Mankelow, 13, from Batley; Jessica Forster, 12, Jessica Gavaghan, 12, and Robyn Haigh, 11, from Spenborough; and Daisy Fox, 10 , Emily Fretwell, nine, Casey Hawkins, 12, and Olivia Keyworth, nine, from Dewsbury.

Alexia, who attends the Sutton School of Performing Arts, which is based in Cleckheaton, said: “It has been an amazing experience and I’ve made lots of new friends.

“It's built my confidence to do more auditions in the future, as English youth was my first audition I've ever done!”

Jessica Forster (12), Jessica Gavaghan (12) and Robyn Haigh talented dancers from Spenborough.

Emily, who also attends Sutton School of Performing Arts in Cleckheaton and who has been dancing since she was two years old, said: “I enjoyed rehearsals, making new friends from different dance schools and I am excited to perform on stage - I love being on stage.”

Emily’s mum, Amy Richardson, said: “I am very proud of Emily getting through the audition stage, something she has never done before and to be given the opportunity to dance alongside professional principal dancers will be a wonderful experience for her.

“Seeing her grow and develop into the young confident dancer she is now makes me so proud.”

Jessica, who attends the Emma Coombs Dance Academy in Heckmondwike, said: “ It’s been an amazing experience rehearsing with English Youth Ballet.

Alexia Crawshaw (9), Isabelle King (10) and Ellis Lee (10), talented dancers from Mirfield.

“I've learned so much and I’m so excited for the performances.”

Jessica’s mum, Kate Gavaghan, explained how proud she is of Jessica and how she has met a lot of new friends during the rehearsals at EYB Bradford.

Kate added: “They’ve put in so many hours of rehearsals with wonderful teachers and they have all worked incredibly hard.

“I can’t wait to see them all on stage - It’s going to be magical.

“Such a wonderful opportunity to make memories that will last a lifetime.”

Sally Mankelow, Lily’s mum, has also expressed how proud she is that her daughter has got a part in Coppelia.

Sally added: “This is a fantastic opportunity and as well as working hard in the rehearsals, she has made some great new friends.

“I'm really looking forward to watching her and all the other talented young dancers perform."

The humorous story of Coppélia follows the escapades of the dreamy Franz and how he comically falls in love with a beautiful, life-like doll.

The doll – Coppélia – is created by the eccentric, yet mysterious inventor, Dr Coppelius.

The plot thickens when Franz’s jealous lover, Swanhilda, takes her friends on an adventure into the spooky house of the mad inventor to confront her rival.

Of course, the story ends happily after the truth is uncovered.

The choreography, design and musical score has been described as “a masterpiece”, with choreography adapted from Arthur Saint-Léon’s original.

The production has been directed by Janet Lewis and her team of international principal artists who coach the young dancers.

The production is taking place at St George’s Hall, Bridge Street, Bradford, BD1 1JT, on Friday, April 22 at 7.30pm and Saturday, April 23 at 2.30pm and 7.30pm.

For tickets call 01274 432000 or visit