South Queensferry ballet starlet’s plea to dancers

Marilena Lalou from South Queensferry is a pupil at the Capital school.
Marilena Lalou from South Queensferry is a pupil at the Capital school.
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A talented young ballet dancer from South Queensferry is urging fellow budding dancers to audition for a place at a school run by one of the world’s most famous dancers.

Marilena Lalou is only 13-years-old but has already caught the eye of mentor Peter Schaufuss, the Olivier Award-winning dancer who has established Edinburgh Festival Ballet School in the Capital’s New Town.

Marilena has relished the opportunity to be a part of the school, a role she fits around studies at Queensferry High School. Auditions take place on Saturday (January 18) for a limited number of places to study from September this year, and the youngster has told fellow performers to seize such an opportunity.

Speaking of her experience at the ballet school, Marilena said: “My inspiration to dance came from my mum as she teaches dance and I used to watch her classes and think I really want to do that.

“The experience I have been able to gain at Edinburgh Festival Ballet has been very positive. I love the classes. Johan Christensen and the other teachers are great at encouraging us all and getting the best performances out of us.

“Others should apply as they will get a lot out of it and will learn new things from fabulous teachers.

“It’s a great experience. My personal ambitions for the future are to be able to audition for the full-time school when I’m older.”

Talented performers from across Scotland are invited to audition free of charge on Saturday for a place at Edinburgh Festival Ballet School, which is run by Schaufuss.

The dancer, choreographer and director founded the English National Ballet in 1988 and has performed and directed all over the world.

Those auditioning will compete for the chance to secure one of only 20 coveted places on the school’s part-time course (suitable for those aged 12 and over) and 20 places on its full-time training course (suitable for dancers aged 16 and over).

During the audition, they will be put through their paces during a two-hour masterclass by Edinburgh Festival Ballet School principal Johan Christensen. Successful applicants will be notified within one week of their audition.

Mr Schaufuss said: “Edinburgh Festival Ballet School provides a place where some of the finest young performers in Scotland can go to obtain a professional full-time dance education while living and training in Edinburgh.

“I wanted to pass on what I have learnt through all my years of experience in the dance world and we have been delighted with the success of the pilot course run in the past year. I’ve been heartened to witness first-hand the progress of our full-time and younger part-time dancers.

“We are auditioning for places on our full-time school and our part-time school so there are opportunities for both experienced students who are already on the way to making a career as a dancer, as well as those who have raw talent and the desire to succeed but only basic experience of ballet.”

Scottish youngsters aged 12 and older with ambitions of a career in dance can apply to audition for a place at Edinburgh Festival Ballet School by emailing school administrator Lee Walls at lee@rosetheatreedinburgh.com

The initial audition will take place on Saturday, with a follow-up trial to take place on February 22.

For more information, visit www.edinburghfestivalballet.com.