Young dancer jumping for joy

Selected for the Royal Ballet School - Annabel Crosby, 11, of Greylees. EMN-180406-172443001
Selected for the Royal Ballet School - Annabel Crosby, 11, of Greylees. EMN-180406-172443001

An eleven-year old dancer from Greylees near Sleaford has won a place at the prestigious Royal Ballet School, ahead of stiff competition.

Each year, The Royal Ballet School conducts vigorous international auditions which sees more than 850 young people audition in the UK alone. Annabel Foster, has defied the odds in gaining one of just 12 spaces available for girls starting in Year 7.

Annabel first started dancing at the age of seven and currently trains at the Joanne Haylock School of Dance in Lincoln, supplementing her training weekly at Elmhurst Ballet School Young Dancers in Birmingham. Annabel will start at the Royal Ballet Lower School at White Lodge in London’s Richmond Park in September 2018 where she will board full time.

Mother and stepfather Nikki and Terry Crosby own and run an adventure travel company based in Sleaford, while Annabel’s older sister, Elissa goes to Kesteven and Sleaford High School.

Mrs Crosby said: “We are absolutely delighted that Annabel has achieved a place at her dream school. Having passed her 11-plus, we fully expected her to be following in her sister’s footsteps at Sleaford High School. But she has worked and trained so hard at her ballet and to have that recognised by one of the world’s greatest ballet schools means everything to her and makes her whole family incredibly proud.

“At the moment she’s at Rauceby C of E Primary School and their support has been incredible. Both her headmaster Mr Manby and her teacher Mr Wallace have supported her through the audition process, even allowing her to rehearse and train in the school hall after school. Mr Wallace also organised for her to fulfil her dream of meeting Darcey Bussell when she visited Bishop Grosseteste University last year.”

Two years ago Annabel performed with The English Youth Ballet of Great Britain.

Mrs Crosby said Annabel is extremely excited despite the gruelling auditions: “It is a bit of a shock, like winning the Lottery, but it was hugely daunting for an 11 year old.

“Her final audition was two days of examinations, interviews and being pushed and pulled by a physio before doing two-and-a-half hours of dancing in front of a panel, then another hour-and-a-half when they called her back.”

By the end of it, both her feet got cramp but she still held the position they wanted.

Mrs Crosby said it will be hard to get used to Annabel living away from home at such a young age, but she will be in good hands.

She said: “To think that she will be training at the very same school as Margot Fonteyn, Darcey Bussell and Wayne Sleep is just thrilling. We are extremely grateful for the financial assistance we have received but we are actively seeking sponsorship to help us cover the additional costs. We know many family and friends will want to follow her progress, so we are in the process of setting up a blog to keep everyone up to date which everyone will be welcome to follow.”

A place at The Royal Ballet School costs over £33,000 per year. The Government’s Department for Education offers UK students means-tested support for fees through the Music and Dance Scheme. There is however a substantial sum which has to be met by parents, as the grant does not cover items such as ballet shoes, uniform, music lessons or trips home.

If you would like to follow Annabel’s progress, would consider advertising on her blog or have sponsorship ideas to help realise her dream at The Royal Ballet School, contact email@nikkicrosby.co.uk