Two young Blackpool ballerinas are set to star alongside top dancers in a professional production of comic ballet Coppélia.
Olivia Hunt, nine, and Keira Preston, 10, this weekend started intense ballet training, learning professional techniques and working with established stars ahead of the show in June.
They are two of 100 young ballerinas chosen by the English Youth Ballet for the show, seeing off competition from 200 others for the prestigious parts.
After 10 days and 60 hours of intense rehearsals they will appear in three shows at the Plaza Theatre in Stockport on June 13 and 14.
It is “the opportunity of a lifetime for a little girl who loves ballet”, said Olivia’s proud mum Joanne, from Wrea Green.
Olivia, a Ribby with Wrea Primary School pupil, said: “It’s all very exciting. Ballet is my favourite dance, I like the movements, it’s beautiful.”
Principal dancers Amy Drew and Brenden Bratulic will be coaching the youngsters as well as dancing with them, as leading parts Swanhilde and Franz, respectively.
Coppélia follows the fortunes of Dr Coppelius who has invented a life-size dancing doll who is so life like she averts the romantic attentions of Franz from his true love Swanhilde.
Canny Swanhilde dresses as the doll, pretending to come to life, to win back his heart and save him from the scorn of the inventor.
The girls each travelled to Manchester for auditions, before waiting, and hoping, for their names to be called.
Olivia added: “It was very nerve racking but it felt fantastic to be chosen. Now I’m excited about learning new dances.”
Keira, from South Shore, a pupil at Mayfield Primary School, St Annes, said: “I’m looking forward to doing the show. I really enjoy ballet and the best part is performing.
“I’m not nervous, I’m just looking forward to being on stage.”