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Trio dance onto the stage with national ballet

30 November 2021

Three Haywards Heath College students have featured in a special production of the Nutcracker.

The students – Michaela Hendricks-Paul, Jessica Etchells and Holly Hicks – were selected to perform with the English Youth Ballet for their recent staging of the festive favourite at The Hawth Theatre in Crawley.

The English Youth Ballet gives young dancers across the UK the opportunity to dance alongside principal performers who have come through the ranks at the Royal Ballet and the English National Ballet, along with a number of other prestigious dance companies.

The three performers auditioned with hundreds of other young dancers, all competing for 88 places.

Michaela said: “I’ve danced at shows for my dance school as well as festivals. I’ve auditioned for pantomime but it was nothing like auditioning for English Youths Ballet.

“I was chosen out of hundreds of students and only 88 were successful. Being selected was most rewarding but also a big challenge which I was happy to take on.

“The experience of being in a full-length ballet was a great opportunity as senior dancer, dancing with a professional cast.

“Being directed by professional choreographers gave me incredible confidence to be corrected especially in my performance skills and technique.

“The rehearsals were the most exciting part as every other student I was dancing with was disciplined. My technique has surely improved and that was rewarded with a certificate at the end of the show by the principal of the English Youth Ballet.”

Yvonne Jones, lecturer at Haywards Heath College, added: “We are all delighted for Michaela, Jessica and Holly.

“To be selected to perform with the English Youth Ballet is such a tremendous achievement, and one they will never forget.

“They performed beautifully at The Hawth, showing great poise and commitment. They really did themselves proud.”