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Derbyshire schoolgirl pirouettes her way into stage success with role in Swan Lake


A 12-year-old pupil from a Derby secondary academy has shown she has all the right moves after winning a role in a prestigious production of Swan Lake.

Hannah McCullough, a year eight pupil at The Long Eaton School on Thoresby Road, beat off competition from other hopefuls to win a spot at the English Youth Ballet production.

The production, in which young ballerinas are given the chance to perform with professional dancers at venues outside London, will be staged at The Regent Theatre in Stoke-on-Trent this weekend.

Hannah will be appearing as a swan, one of the youngest dancers to be given a senior role in the performance.

Swan Lake

Hannah performing a solo at an Arabesque Dance and Theatre Company production at Trent College.

Credit: Ashley Holmes Photography

She said: “I was so pleased to find out I had won the role in Swan Lake. I have always loved dancing. I find it a very expressive art form and I would love to be a professional ballerina in the future.”

This is not Hannah’s first appearance with English Youth Ballet. Having danced since the age of three, she first performed with the company at The Theatre Royal in Nottingham aged eight, before winning another spot in a production of The Nutcracker at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre last Christmas.

Hannah trains at the Arabesque Dance and Theatre Company in Long Eaton where she has classes in ballet, tap and theatre, plus rock and roll, dancing for hours every night of the week. Last year, as a junior associate of the Royal Ballet, she also travelled to Birmingham once a week in order to train.

Proud mum Laura said: “I’m so proud of Hannah. She works so hard and has always been highly motivated. She’s always been interested in music too – she could actually read music before she could read a book.

“The school has been brilliant in supporting Hannah in her ballet – without that, she wouldn’t have been able to get these amazing opportunities. We’re very grateful to them.”

The Long Eaton Academy principal Richard Peel said: “Here at The Long Eaton School we are so proud of Hannah and of all our students who do such interesting things outside school. It’s very important to us here that education is as broad as possible, and opportunities to appear in a prestigious ballet production such as this one are just brilliant. Hannah puts in so many hours into her training and it’s great to see her enjoy such success in her ballet at such a young age.”

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