TEENAGE Malvern ballet dancer Lilly Sloan-Kirton is working hard in her role in as part of the cast of English Youth Ballet’s Nutcracker – which finally takes to the stage next month almost a year after the Covid pandemic forced its postponement.

The youngsters will finally get the chance to perform alongside international professional dancers at the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre on Friday and Saturday, September 3 and 4.


Lilly Sloan-Kirton

Lilly Sloan-Kirton


Lilly, 13, is a pupil at The Chase School and is training at Ballet Malvern Centre of Dance. In this performance of The Nutcracker, she is dancing the role of a Sugar Flower.

She said: “I started dancing when I was four because I wanted to be in a performance of Alice in Wonderland at my mum’s ballet school.

“What I love about dance is the feeling of freedom and also being able to feel powerful.

“I like EYB because I get really good advice and it has helped my ballet improve a lot.

“I love dancing because when I get into a dance studio all the weight drops off my shoulders and I feel like I can do anything!”

The cast were selected in big virtual audition back in July 2020. The young dancers were sent a short audition class to learn and then film themselves performing.

The videos were submitted to EYB to choose the cast.

There were over 180 young hopeful dancers who submitted videos, from whom 65 were chosen.

The cast will have rehearsed for 60 hours over 10 days of rehearsals at weekends, working in bubble groups and following Covid safety protocols.

Janet Lewis, EYB director, said “The children are obviously so pleased to be back dancing again and taking part in a ballet that they love.

Since the past year of Lockdowns with the many restrictions, they are displaying a sense of freedom that is boosting their self-confidence and wellbeing. The incentive is to be back performing again in the theatre.”

There will be three performances of the ballet, which will showcase the talents of 65 young dancers from the Midlands.

Tickets can be bought at the box office on 01902 429212 or at www.grandtheatre.co.uk