Samuel aiming to be a ballet star

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Isle of Wight Radio’s ‘Child of Wight’ award gave young dancer a big confidence boost in quest to reach the top…

A Freshwater teenager is dancing with joy after winning a coveted place at a leading ballet school in Scotland. Samuel Pearson has been dancing since the age of four, and now at the age of 16 he is making giant strides towards achieving his ambition of becoming a top ballet performer. He will join Ballet West at Taynuilt, near Oban, this September.

Samuel attended All Saints Primary School, Freshwater, before moving to Christ the King College, where he recently completed his GCSE exams. He said: “My mum used to do dancing, so I thought I would like to give it a go.

“I went to Chrissie Acland at the West Wight Ballet School in Freshwater when I was four-and-a-half, and even after the first class I decided it was what I wanted to do.I kept going, and in 2011 my ballet teacher was able to get me into the junior associates for the Royal Ballet, and it just progressed from there.”

Since then he has performed with the Royal Ballet Company in ‘Sleeping Beauty’ at the Royal Opera House London; with Vienna Festival Ballet in ‘The Nutcracker’ at the Medina Theatre, Newport, and in ‘La Sylphide’ with Queensland Ballet, Australia, at the London Coliseum.

Samuel was the first recipient of an Isle of Wight Radio Child of Wight award, having won the Young Achiever accolade in 2016. He said: “Mine was the first award ever to be given out, and it was fantastic. I was very surprised when my name was called out as the winner. But winning it really boosted my confidence.”

Samuel accepts: “Ballet dancing is a very difficult market. You need to have natural ability, as well as keep working on it. I have undertaken ballet classes with the Royal Ballet School in Covent Garden, and worked with leading Bulgarian dancer Valeri Hristov and top English dancers Adam Cooper, Joel Morris and Matthew Paluch, as well as with Gary Avis when rehearsing for Sleeping Beauty.”

He joined the Gillian Cartwright School of Dance in Shanklin in 2011 to further his progress, and competed in the Isle of Wight Dance Festival in 2012, 2013 and 2015, picking up Merit awards in ballet solo, and being commended for one classical duet entry.

Samuel said: “I have tried other forms of dancing, but I always knew ballet would be my expertise. Now I am looking forward to going to Scotland. I was accepted by Ballet West and have already been there for a practice class.
The Principal is Gillian Barton, and the school looks great. It is in idyllic settings, and is currently looking to expand with new state-of-the-art dance training facilities. Ballet West go on tour with productions yearly, and occasionally go on international tour when they can fit it into their busy calendar.”

The determined teenager will spend three years at Ballet West studying for a full BA (hons) degree. He added: “It is going to be hard work, but I am really looking forward to the challenge. Hopefully, I can then start applying to companies to perform with them, and make it a full time occupation. It would be a dream come true if I could be with the Royal Ballet one day.”

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