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Academy student earns place at Royal Ballet School

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Northern Ballet Academy student, Charlotte Tonkinson, enjoyed a particularly sweet sixteenth birthday this week when she secured a coveted place at the Royal Ballet Upper School in London.

Charlotte Tonkinson. Photo Darren Goldsmith.

Charlotte, from Doncaster, has been studying on the National Centre for Advanced Training (CAT) programme at Northern Ballet Academy in Leeds since she was 10 years old. The Academy’s CAT programme is for students aged between 10 and 17 and provides intensive, non-residential training to those with exceptional potential in classical dance in preparation for full-time vocational ballet training.

Charlotte is the first CAT student to have secured a place at the Royal Ballet Upper School where she will continue her training as a professional ballet dancer in September.

Northern Ballet Academy is based with Northern Ballet in the Company’s award-winning studios in Leeds. Graduates have gone on to perform with many major dance companies including English National Ballet, Random Dance, Rambert Dance Company and Scottish Ballet. Three Academy graduates are now performing with Northern Ballet.

The Academy was established by Northern Ballet’s Artistic Director, David Nixon OBE and Yoko Ichino, Academy Associate Director and was awarded National CAT status in 2004.

David Nixon says: ‘We wanted to develop an Academy that would offer world-class training to young dancers who could remain at home while achieving their ambitions. Our aim is to bring students to the point at which they are strong enough to audition for full-time vocational training. Testament to the CAT programme’s achievement so far is our 100% success rate for our graduating students and the number of our ex-students who return to our International Summer School year after year.’

The Royal Ballet Upper School only offers places to young dancers with outstanding talent and its alumni includes a host of world-famous dancers such as Dame Margot Fonteyn and Darcey Bussell CBE.

Charlotte says: ‘I am absolutely thrilled to have been offered this place. It really is a dream come true. Working with Yoko and all the teachers at Northern Ballet Academy has been essential in making me strong enough and confident enough to get through the auditions successfully. I have been lucky to have had a number of opportunities to perform with Northern Ballet on stage which has been invaluable experience. I’m looking forward to coming back to Leeds for the Northern Ballet International Summer School in August.’

Press release date: 
Thu 21 Mar 2013
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