Local ballet students follow in the footsteps of Margot Fonteyn

A local dance school, Nicola Peros Ballet which holds classes at St Nicholas Hall, Barry and in Cowbridge Road, Cardiff, is celebrating the success of a number of its students.

Over Christmas you may have seen the BBC documentary “Looking for Margot” , which was presented by former Principal Dancer of the Royal Ballet, Royal Academy of Dance President and Strictly Come Dancing judge, Darcey Bussell, CBE. The documentary charted the life of iconic British ballerina, Dame Margot Fonteyn. Margot Fonteyn has inspired generations of ballerinas. She was beautiful, brilliant, talented and never put a foot wrong on stage. Her late flowering partnering with Rudolf Nureyev created the most dazzling ballet partnership in history. yet behind the scenes, as Darcey Bussell discovered, Margot’s life was marked by tragedy and disappointment.

The documentary featured some young dancers from The Royal Ballet School portraying the young Margot, one of which was 14 year old, Maisie French from Barry who is now in her third year of training at White Lodge, the junior school of The Royal Ballet School. Maisie started her training with Nicola Peros Ballet from the age of 3, became a Junior Associate of The Royal Ballet and won her place at the prestigious school itself at the age of 10 years old. She started at White Lodge in Year 7. Maisie also briefly appeared in the BBC 2 documentary which was screened on Christmas Day on BBC 2, “Dancing The Nutcracker- Inside The Royal Ballet.” Maisie danced with other children from White Lodge in the cast of the ballet and made a few fleeting appearances in the documentary.

Nicola Peros, Principal of Nicola Peros Ballet now has an enviable reputation for turning out outstanding dancers across the Vale of Glamorgan and Cardiff. Nicola trained with respected ballet teacher in South Wales, Fay Vaughan Williams at The Memorial Hall in Barry and achieved Advanced level in her RAD examinations at just 16. She went on to train at The Hammond School, Chester one of the UK’s leading vocational dance schools and then went on to become a RAD ballet teacher. During her career she established a RAD ballet school in Jordan taking the RAD syllabus to that country for the first time and had the privilege of teacher Queen Noor of Jordan’s daughter. During her time there she established links with the then London City Ballet. Having returned back to South Wales, she established her own school in 1990 and since then has had several students go on to train at Elmhurst School of Dance in Birmingham, Hammond School, Chester, Trinity Laban Conservatoire and The Royal Ballet School. She has had numerous students awarded Associateships with The Royal Ballet, English National Ballet and Ballet Cyrmu and currently has four students on programmes with The Royal Ballet and Ballet Cymru.

The school last year performed a full-length version of “The Nutcracker” ballet at The Memorial Hall in Barry and were chosen to appear in The Lord Mayor of Cardiff’s Charity Matinee at St David’s Hall, Cardiff. The school also recently featured in a S4C TV series on dance aimed at children called “Mwy o Mwfs.” In the recent RAD examinations, students obtained a 100% pass rate with grade Merit and above with 7 students achieving Distinction two of which achieving Grade 8 standard, the final grade in the RAD syllabus. These two students, Caitlin Coles and Rhiannon Staples are also Associates with Ballet Cymru and are now studying for their Advance and intermediate exams respectively. “This is an amazing achievement to have got to that level under the age of 16” says Nicola.

Last year 7 students from Nicola Peros Ballet successfully auditioned and performed with the English Youth Ballet in their production of “The Sleeping Beauty” at the New Theatre in Cardiff. The school had more students in the show than any other dance school in the region.

This year the school has plans to stage an evening of dance showcasing the talents of the students both past and present and is looking to launch an initiative to find new talent in ballet. The school is also looking to take part in a number of dance competitions and Nicola Peros herself has been asked to judge a dance competition at The University of Cardiff.

For further information on dance lessons at Nicola Peros Ballet, visit their website: www.nicolaperosballet.com or email@ info@nicolaperosballet.com or telephone: 07850 741136. You can also visit the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pg/NicolaPerosBallet/about/?tab=page_info