Brixton pupil to dance with ballet stars

Olivia Nollett (photo Ben Garner) and Monica Tapiador in the role of Odette, the black swan
Olivia Nollett (photo Ben Garner) and Monica Tapiador in the role of Odile, the black swan

A Brixton school pupil will perform with international principal ballet dancers next month as the English Youth Ballet celebrates its 20th anniversary.

Ten-year-old Olivia Nollet from Corpus Christi RC primary school will be one of 100 talented young dancers taking part in a performance of Swan Lake at the New Wimbledon Theatre.

Olivia, who attends the South London Dance School in Herne Hill, began dancing when she was three.

“I started because my auntie signed me up for classes,” she says. “At first I didn’t want to do it, but now I love it.

“I am looking forward to dancing with English Youth Ballet for everything – being with all the other dancers and dancing on a big stage.”

The celebration comes in the form of two shows – Ballet Virtuoso on Tuesday 21 and Wednesday 22 August and Swan Lake on Friday 24 and Saturday 25 August.

Ballet Virtuoso is a mixed bill of dance showcasing eight international principal dancers who danced leading roles with English Youth Ballet and went on to perform with some of the world’s finest ballet companies including English National Ballet, La Scala in Milan and the Royal Ballet Company.

English Youth Ballet’s production of Swan Lake is set in 1895 imperial Russia. The action takes place in the Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg – where its ballet company is preparing for a production of Swan Lake – and the Tsar’s palace.

Dancer Odette meets Prince Sergei, son to the Tsar, setting off a drama involving love, rivalry, greed and murder.

Monica Tapiador is one of EYB’s principal dancers and previously danced with English National Ballet.

She will coach the young dancers in 10 days of rehearsals and will also star in the roles of Odette, the white swan and Odile, the black swan.

“The young dancers are treated like professional dancers during rehearsals – we work them hard, but the results are fantastic,” she says.

“They learn what the life of a professional dancer is like. They are living their dream and they just love it.”

Janet Lewis MBE formed EYB in 1998. It is now one of the UK’s largest ballet companies and has won The Stage Award for special achievement in regional theatre.

New Wimbledon Theatre, The Broadway, SW19 1QG

Ballet Virtuoso 7.30pm, Tuesday 21 and Wednesday 22 August.

Swan Lake 7.30pm Friday 24 August, 2.30 and 7.30pm Saturday 25 August.


Ballet Virtuoso

Swan Lake

Box office 0844 971 7646