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Ballet School on BBC Two Wales

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Laura Chamberlain Laura Chamberlain | 08:00 UK time, Tuesday, 7 September 2010

BBC Cymru Wales has gone behind the scenes at the prestigious Elmhurst School for Dance in Birmingham for new series Ballet School, which charts the struggles and triumphs of the talented Welsh students who have won places to study there.

The third episode of the programme goes out tonight on BBC Two Wales, but if you've missed any of the episodes so far you can catch up with BBC iPlayer.

The cameras follow the pupils as they nurture their dream of becoming professional ballet dancers, giving viewers a unique insight into a world where success is hard fought for and the big prize limited to only the chosen few.

Ballet School's Adam Russell-Jones

Ballet School's Adam Russell-Jones

The dancers featured in the series are Adam Russell-Jones from Cardiff, Dominic Handford from Swansea, Rebecca Haw from Chepstow, Michael Harris from Barry and Joseph Fawcett from mid Wales.

Adam Russell-Jones begins the academic year with an injury that has left him unable to dance for a year.

Dominic Handford first became passionate about ballet when watching cartoons of Angelina Ballerina at home. His family wanted to do anything they could to achieve his dream, so they sold their house to free up enough money to send him to ballet school.

Dominic Handford at the barre

Dominic Handford at the barre

Viewers will also meet Rebecca Haw as she enters the sixth form. At 16, she's now preparing herself for the tough and competitive world of professional ballet.

Michael Harris, like Dominic, doesn't come from a traditional ballet background. Also 16, he faces GCSEs and auditions for the sixth form as well as a gruelling regime of ballet.

Joseph Fawcett is 11 years old and the youngest of the Welsh ballet students. Joseph had been home tutored until attending Elmhurst so this was his first taste of formal education. In the first programme he landed a role in a Birmingham Royal Ballet production of Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker Suite - a taste of the life of a professional dancer.

In tonight's episode it's spring term at the school. Rebecca is gearing up for her assessment to see if she can carry on in the sixth form, alhough a persistent ankle injury is causing her to worry about doing her best.

Ballets School's Rebecca Haw

Ballets School's Rebecca Haw

Michael is facing similar pressure as he auditions to make it into the sixth form. Though he has been at Elmhurst for five years, there is just one place available for every six who audition.

Michael, along with Joseph, is taking part in a choreography competition with a little less pressure as Joseph adds, "it's not as though you're going to be expelled if you don't win".

But for one of the five, the end of spring term could spell the end of the dream to make it as a professional ballet dancer.

Watch the next episode of Ballet School tonight, Tuesday 7 September, at 7pm on BBC Two Wales. And browse a photo gallery of the dancers featured in the programme on the BBC News site for south east Wales.

Have you been watching the programme? Let us know your thoughts on it below.


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