South Shields schoolgirl takes graceful step towards ballerina dream after winning scholarship at top ballet school

A schoolgirl is on course to achieve her dream after winning a scholarship at one of Britain’s most prestigious ballet schools.

By Ross Robertson
Wednesday, 26th May 2021, 12:45 pm
Updated Wednesday, 26th May 2021, 1:30 pm
Rose Blair has landed a scholarship at a top ballet school
Rose Blair has landed a scholarship at a top ballet school

Rose Blair 11, who attends St Bede’s Catholic Primary School in South Shields, part of Bishop Chadwick Catholic Education Trust, hopes to become a professional ballerina.

And the Year 6 pupil has taken a graceful step towards achieving her dream after securing a funded place 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.

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Rose Blair with her Child of Achievement Award at the Best of South Tyneside Awards 2018.

Rose was also the winner of The Shields Gazette’s Pride of South Tyneside Child of Achievement Award in 2018.

She showcased her extraordinary talent throughout her time at St Bede’s and regularly performed in the school’s dance shows.

Nicole Park, head teacher at St Bede’s, 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.

Rose Blair receiving her honour at the Best of South Tyneside Awards 2018 from Carolyn Bennett of Barbour.

“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’s 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.

She 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.

In 2018, Rose began training with the Val Armstrong School of Performing Arts, travelling between their studios in South Shields and Hartlepool.

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 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.”

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