Excitement is running at fever pitch at ballet rehearsals in Eastbourne as more than 50 young dancers prepare to present The Nutcracker at the Congress Theatre in mid December. For many, it will be their first experience of not only dancing in a full-length ballet but also of dancing to a live, full orchestra.
The Nutcracker is a joyful ballet set during a Victorian Christmas party when the children are eagerly opening their presents.
Young Clara (Erin Perry, 15) is given a nutcracker and journeys to the Land of Sweets where she meets many exciting and exotic dancers, including the Sugar Plum Fairy.
The production by Southern Youth Ballet sees Danny Williams, 19, and Isabelle Cronin, 16, dancing the roles of the Nutcracker and Sugar Plum. This is the second time the pair have been partnered in a SYB production; last year they danced the roles of Captain Belaye and his bride, Blanche in Pineapple Poll.
Guest dancer Henry Green, 19, who dances the role of the Prince, is a member of the Rambert Ballet School, London while Danny is a guest from the Urdang Academy, London.
As usual with SYB, the costumes by Holly Winstanley are dazzlingly splendid and the magic Christmas tree just grows and grows in size. Kenneth Roberts conducts the Southern Youth Ballet Orchestra.
With no public funding Southern Youth Ballet, founded by Liz Buckland in Eastbourne, has been part of the winter dance season in Eastbourne for 16 years. One performance only at the Congress Theatre on Saturday, December 14, at 5pm. Tickets from £11 to £15 - box office 01323 412000, credit card hotline 411555.
Pictured: Danny Williams and Isabelle Cronin (pictured last year in Pineapple Poll) will this year dance the Nutcracker and the Sugar Plum Fairy.