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Stardom beckons for exceptional South Shields school student

ByAnna Harrison

Nov 29, 2021

An 11-year-old pupil from a primary school in South Shields has won a scholarship place at one of the UK’s most prestigious ballet schools in her quest to become a professional ballerina.

Year 6 student Rose Blair who currently attends St Bede’s Catholic Primary School, part of Bishop Chadwick Catholic Education Trust, will start at Elmhurst Ballet School, an independent boarding school for classical ballet students, in September.

Rose beat thousands of others to win a scholarship at Elmhurst, which offers only 12 places to girls per year. She was awarded a place following a face-to-face audition with other finalists in March.

Rose, who has been a St Bede’s pupil since the age of three, has showcased her extraordinary talent throughout her time at the school and regularly performed in the school’s dance shows.

Nicole Park, head teacher at the school, said: “We’ve known Rose for most of her life and we know just how passionate she is about becoming a ballerina.

“She is not only exceptionally talented but works incredibly hard too both with her ballet and her academic studies.

“It’s been a joy to watch her develop into a wonderful young person since she joined our school nursery in 2013 and it’s only fitting that she will be performing a ballet solo in the Year 6 leavers’ performance in July.

“We wish her the very best of luck at Elmhurst and we’re confident that one day she will be performing at The Royal Opera House.”

Rose was awarded a place at the elite ballet school following a series of auditions and she will continue her studies at Elmhurst alongside a full vocational course in ballet and dance training.

Her love of ballet started in her early years and since the age of three she has competed locally and nationally winning many competitions, including the British Ballet and Modern Stage Championships and Theatre Dance Council International.

In 2018, Rose began training with the Val Armstrong School of Performing Arts, travelling between their studios in South Shields and Hartlepool. Here, she was selected to be part of Team England and competed at the Dance World Cup in Barcelona and Portugal, where she won five gold medals with her team group dances, and gold with her tap duet.

Rose Blair said: “Getting a scholarship at Elmhurst really is my dream come true. Ever since I first tried a dance class, I just knew I wanted to be a ballerina, performing on stage.

“While I’m sad to be leaving home, I’m excited to start at Elmhurst. I can’t wait to make new friends and learn more about ballet and other dance techniques.”