Arundel teen stars in showcase performance with National Youth Ballet

Cleo Badcock
Cleo Badcock

A young Arundel dancer is relishing the chance to work with the prestigious National Youth Ballet.

Cleo Badcock, 15, will be taking part in a showcase performance on Friday and Saturday, August 26 and 27, at The Hawth, Crawley, at 2.30pm and 7.30pm (call 01293 553636), and then in a memorial gala performance on Sunday, September 4, at Sadler’s Wells Theatre, Rosebery Avenue, London, at 7.30pm (020 7863 8000).

The memorial celebrates the work and legacy of company founder and artistic director Jill Tookey who died in March. Over three decades, Jill became one of the industry’s most influential dance leaders, inspiring generations of young dancers and choreographers, many of whom have embarked upon successful professional careers after their time with NYB. Jill was appointed a CBE for services to dance in the 2016 New Year Honours.

Cleo is delighted to continue Jill’s work.

“I auditioned in January and then I got a letter saying I had got through to the final auditions in April. I did a few pieces from the choreographers for that – and I got through. I got a big information pack through detailing what dances I am in and what I am going to have to do.”

And then it was into ten days of rehearsals: “I am in Ruth Armstrong’s Swing Time and also in The Tribute. Swing Time is swing-style 1930s New York, and there are about 20 dancers in the piece. It is interesting because it is all different sections, and the music is so diverse you get to do different styles. At the moment, we are rehearsing The Tribute separately, and I am guessing we are going to put it all together later.”

It’s all fantastic experience for Cleo: “I am one of those people that started dancing when they were two or three, and then when I was 11 or 12 I started taking more and more classes. I dance six days a week now. The difficulty is fitting in the homework!

“But I can express myself when I am dancing in ways that I can’t when I am just walking or talking. I can use different parts of my body. I don’t know how to put it into words really, but it is like I am in a different world when I am dancing, when the lights are on and you can’t really see the audience.”

Cleo is hoping to audition for vocational schools – and she would love to think her future lies in dancing. She knows a lot of work lies ahead and that she will need to be tough and determined: “You have to accept that you might not get the dance or the company that you want, and you have to cope with that.”

The 2016 programme of performances will showcase highlights from National Youth Ballet’s history through some of Jill’s favourite commissions. These include The Old Man of Lochnagar, a ballet based on the children’s book by The Prince of Wales, choreographed by Olivier Award winner and NYB alumnus Drew McOnie. NYB’s Beyond Ballet platform will also return, showcasing young choreographic talents presenting their own works. The memorial gala performance at Sadler’s Wells will also include new commissions and performances from returning alumni including choreographer Andrew McNicol, West End performer Lucinda Lawrence and Birmingham Royal Ballet first artist Ruth Brill.

Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.

Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be among the first to know what’s going on.

1 Make our website your homepage

2 Like our Facebook page

3 Follow us on Twitter

4 Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

Be part of it.