Carol’s on pointe in TV ballet show

Carol Hartley, Big Ballet.
Carol Hartley, Big Ballet.

Ballet is often seen as an elite world of super-toned men and stick thin women.

But a Mirfield mum is on a mission to change all that by appearing in new Channel 4 series Big Ballet.

The programme follows a troupe of plus size amateurs as they attempt to realise their dream of dancing Swan Lake.

Carol Hartley, of Park Avenue, was a professional dancer from the ages of 17 to 23 but stopped after marrying her husband Richard, now 40. Her love of dancing was rekindled at the 25th anniversary celebrations of her former dance school run by Chris Beaumont in Birstall.

“I was a bit nervous at first,” admitted Carol, who is a size 20. “I thought people would be thinking ‘look how fat Carol is’ – because I used to be thin – but being back on stage I felt fantastic.”

Mr Beaumont mentioned a new ballet series on TV and Carol, a customer services manager at Camira Fabrics in Lower Hopton, went for it.

The 39-year-old said she now felt like an “ambassador” for people who think they can’t do ballet because they aren’t the conventional size.

She added: “The most important thing is that kids going to ballet schools are being made to feel like they are too big to dance. There’s a lot of pressure from within.

“I want to show that you don’t have to be stick thin. You can have a ‘normal’ figure. I hope people who used to enjoy ballet when they were younger go back to it. If I can do it, you can do it. It was really hard work, but it was so much fun.”

Big Ballet starts on February 6, 9pm.