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Meet the Dancers

Meet the dancers performing in Ugly Duckling this spring.

Take a look at photos of the dancers out on tour...

Click on a dancer's name to see their biography.

Jodie McKnight

What role will you be playing in the Ugly Duckling?

Ugly Duckling

Where were you born & raised?

South West London

Where did you do your dance training?

Central School of Ballet

Which dance companies have you previously worked with and which roles have you previously danced?

Vienna Festival Ballet - Swanhilda (Coppelia), Clara and Sugar Plum Fairy (The Nutcracker)and Cygnets (Swan Lake).

What are your career highlights?

Working with Christopher Bruce CBE in Ballet Central. When the lights came up on my first performance as a professional dancer.

What made you want to be a dancer?

The music.

What would be your dream role to dance?

Alice in Alice in Wonderland.

If you could adapt one work into a ballet what would it be?

The Secret Scripture, a novel by Sebastian Barry.

Who are your artistic influences or heroes?

Christopher Bruce's movement and Philip Feeney's music.

Describe your perfect Sunday morning...

A lie in with my cat, followed by a big cup of coffee and a chat with my Mum (or my cat).

What was the first & last album/song you bought?

  • First – What I go to School For - Busted
  • Last – Domino - Jessie J

What would be your luxury item on a desert island?

Probably my iPod

What are your favourite places in Yorkshire?

The Shambles in York

What has been the most exciting event in your life so far?

Either graduating from school and realising that I could now dance as a profession, or when I was given my cat for my birthday!!

Hannah Carter

What role will you be playing in the Ugly Duckling?

Swan Queen / Mother

Where were you born & raised?

Essex

Where did you do your dance training?

  • Elmhurst School for Dance (2002 – 2007)
  • Royal Ballet Upper School (2007 – 2010)

Which dance companies have you previously worked with and which roles have you previously danced?

Royal Ballet - Willies in Giselle, Angels in The Nutcracker, Nymphs in Sleeping Beauty. Estonian National Ballet - Mirlitons and Snowflakes in The Nutcracker, Five girls in Who Cares, Courtesan in Manon, Swans and waltz in Swan Lake.

What are your career highlights?

Dancing on tour in Spain with the Royal Ballet in Swan Lake as a student. Dancing Sugar Plum Fairy at a gala in Dubai.

What made you want to be a dancer?

I really enjoyed performing on stage when I was younger.

What would be your dream role to dance?

Manon in Manon

If you could adapt one work into a ballet what would it be?

Les Miserables

Who are your artistic influences or heroes?

Marianela Nunez

Describe your perfect Sunday morning...

Having a little lie in and then going shopping.

What was the first & last album/song you bought?

  • First – Spice Girls
  • Last – Mumford and Sons

What would be your luxury item on a desert island?

Phone

What are your favourite places in Yorkshire?

York

What has been the most exciting event in your life so far?

Getting my first job.

Guillaume Lillo

What role will you be playing in the Ugly Duckling?

Duckling, Frog and Winter

Where were you born & raised?

Paris

Where did you do your dance training?

Conservatoire de Paris

Which dance companies have you previously worked with and which roles have you previously danced?

I've performed The Nutcracker with Scottish Ballet. I danced a child, a soldier and the Chinese dance.

What are your career highlights?

Performing Paul Taylor's Esplanade and performing the Balcony pas de deux of Romeo & Juliet.

What made you want to be a dancer?

Meeting and speaking to some professional dancers when I was fourteen.

What would be your dream role to dance?

Again, Romeo in Romeo & Juliet, because it is all about passion.

If you could adapt one work into a ballet what would it be?

Le Rouge et le Noir, a novel by Stendhal.

Describe your perfect Sunday morning...

A perfect Sunday morning begins at 11am. I don't care what happens next.

What would be your luxury item on a desert island?

A GPS - so someone could get me off the island quickly!

What are your favourite places in Yorkshire?

My bedroom on Harrogate Road.

What has been the most exciting event in your life so far?

Singing God Save the Queen and Les Marseillaise on the ground of the Le Stade de Florence for the Six Nations Tournament in 2002.

Leanne Sanders

What role will you be playing in the Ugly Duckling?

Duckling, Cat, Winter

Where were you born & raised?

Essex

Where did you do your dance training?

I started at Harlow Ballet when I was seven. I completed the Royal Ballet Associate Program. Then, I furthered my training at Central School of Ballet.

Which dance companies have you previously worked with and which roles have you previously danced?

This is my first job. However, I did have the opportunity to tour with Ballet Central around the UK.

What are your career highlights?

Working with Sharon Watson and Matthew Hart for the Ballet Central tour. Also, the first time I went on stage.

What made you want to be a dancer?

I realised the wanted to be a dancer after doing my first performance as I loved it so much.

What would be your dream role to dance?

Juliet in Romeo & Juliet because it is such a passionate ballet.

If you could adapt one work into a ballet what would it be?

Jack and the Beanstalk, as I loved the story when I was younger.

Who are your artistic influences or heroes?

Marianela Nunez and every little girl's hero, Darcey Bussell.

Describe your perfect Sunday morning...

Having a lie in, waking up to catch up on some TV and then going shopping.

What was the first & last album/song you bought?

  • First – Spice Girls
  • Last – Emile Sande

What would be your luxury item on a desert island?

My phone so I could still call my family and listen to music.

What are your favourite places in Yorkshire?

Whitby as I really enjoyed my time there when I went with my family and Leeds.

What has been the most exciting event in your life so far?

Moving to London and getting my first flat.

Tamara Ledermann

What role will you be playing in the Ugly Duckling?

Duckling and Cat

Where were you born & raised?

Born in Toronto, Canada. Raised in London, UK.

Where did you do your dance training?

  • Tring Park, Arts Educational School
  • Elmhurst Ballet School

Which dance companies have you previously worked with and which roles have you previously danced?

  • Vienna Festival Ballet, Sugar Plum Fairy in Swan Lake
  • English National Ballet, Swan Lake
  • Birmingham Royal Ballet
  • Israel Ballet

What are your career highlights?

  • Dancing with Birmingham Royal Ballet on tour and in Birmingham
  • Performing at Beijing Grand Theatre
  • Dancing Sugar Plum Fairy on a UK Tour of The Nutcracker

What made you want to be a dancer?

The discipline of it combined with the freedom to be expressive.

What would be your dream role to dance?

Juliet in Romeo & Juliet, for the depth of character and Prokofiev's score or Manon in Manon, for the score and the dramatic range.

If you could adapt one work into a ballet what would it be?

The Scarlet Letter, a novel by Hawthorne.

Who are your artistic influences or heroes?

Balanchine and John Cranko. Vivianna Durante and Sofiane Sylve.

Describe your perfect Sunday morning...

Watching TV in bed with my partner and a big cup of milky coffee.

What was the first & last album/song you bought?

  • I can't remember the first!
  • Last – 2 Cellos

What would be your luxury item on a desert island?

Satellite phone and my straighteners!

What are your favourite places in Yorkshire?

York.

What has been the most exciting event in your life so far?

Becomming an Aunty!

William Moore

What role will you be playing in the Ugly Duckling?

Fox, Frog and Winter

Where were you born & raised?

Ipswich.

Where did you do your dance training?

Royal Ballet School (2002 – 2009)

Which dance companies have you previously worked with and which roles have you previously danced?

  • Royal Ballet - Firebird, Ondine, Giselle, Sylvia, Manon
  • Estonian National Ballet - Dancing gents in Manon and Athos in The Three Musketeers

What are your career highlights?

  • Dancing The Nutcracker pas de deux in a Dubai Gala
  • Dancing on tour with the Royal Ballet as a student

What made you want to be a dancer?

It was because my older brother and sister danced and I enjoyed watching them.

What would be your dream role to dance?

Bolero because it's really powerful .

If you could adapt one work into a ballet what would it be?

Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare.

Who are your artistic influences or heroes?

Jiri Kylian.

Describe your perfect Sunday morning...

A long lie in and a big breakfast.

What was the first & last album/song you bought?

  • First - Green Day
  • Last – Ben Howard

What would be your luxury item on a desert island?

Jet Ski

What are your favourite places in Yorkshire?

York.

What has been the most exciting event in your life so far?

Moving to Dubai with my family!

Gabrielle Fairhead

What role will you be playing in the Ugly Duckling?

Duckling, Cat and Winter

Where were you born & raised?

Johannesburg, South Africa.

Where did you do your dance training?

All over!

South Africa, Jacqui Wells Studio and South African Ballet Academy; Switzerland, Igokat with Kathryn Bradney & Igor Pavano (Prinicpal dancers with Béjart Ballet Lausanne).

I'm currently training at Elmhurst School for Dance in association with Birmingham Royal Ballet.

Which dance companies have you previously worked with and which roles have you previously danced?

As I am still a student, I have not had much experience, bit I did have the opportunity to dance as a Swan in Birmingham Royal Ballet's Swan Lake. I ended up doing 20 shows!

What are your career highlights?

Dancing in Swan Lake with the Birmingham Royal Ballet!

What made you want to be a dancer?

Ever since I was little, I have never wanted to take my ballet skirt off! I do remember reading an article about one of my idols, Angela Malan, and she said 'I could never imagine doing anything else', and I said to my Mum, 'This is how I feel!'

I guess there is this passion inside me that makes me want to dance, especially to inspirational music.

What would be your dream role to dance?

Juliet in Romeo & Juliet, the ballet has the most beautiful music and is so moving to me. Plus, I find there is so much to work with in the choreography, expressions and emotions.

I would also just love to dance in Forsythe's In the middle, somewhat elevated – a masterpiece which is so exciting and striking.

If you could adapt one work into a ballet what would it be?

Anastasia, the story is so exciting and the music is lovely!

Who are your artistic influences or heroes?

Definitely Li Cunxin! Angela Malan, Maurice Bejart, Kathryn Bradney and Alina Cojocaru.

Describe your perfect Sunday morning...

Waking up to a warm sunny day and having a delicious brunch with my family, probably overlooking a beautiful garden or beach setting.

What was the first & last album/song you bought?

The latest was Maroon 5's new CD – great music!

What would be your luxury item on a desert island?

My iPad mini.

What are your favourite places in Yorkshire?

I haven't visited many places in Yorkshire yet, but I do enjoy Leeds.

What has been the most exciting event in your life so far?

Taking part in the Genée International Ballet Competition in Cape Town, especially performing the 21st Century piece Far Closer. The music is stunning, the movements were beautiful to dance, and it felt just magical to be on that stage showing what I love to do best... and in my home country!

Travelling – my family and I have been lucky enough to have moved countries a few times and have travelled a lot. I find travelling so exciting – exploring new places and cultures.