A TALENTED 14-year-old dancer from Grange-over-Sands has not let Covid-19 dampen her dreams to become a professional ballet dancer.

Emily Payne, a pupil of Cartmel Priory School, during normal times makes a 320-mile round trip to Edinburgh every weekend to continue her world-class training at Edinburgh Festival Ballet, which she hopes will lead to a career as a professional ballet dancer.

The part time-course, which Emily was accepted onto, was established by the world-famous ballet dancer, choreographer, director, and Olivier award-winner Peter Schaufuss.

Mr Schaufuss is also the founder of The English National Ballet School.

While classes remain online during Covid-19 restrictions, Emily and her parents clear the kitchen in their home to create a studio for the budding dancer to continue her ballet training.

“Learning at home online, a lot of the focus has been on getting the technique solid and strong,” said Emily.

“During the last few months, I’ve naturally found myself becoming more aware of spacing and distancing, and, strangely, I think that will help with my movement and positioning on stage.

“My arm and head movements are becoming better as I practise from home, but I’m looking forward to returning to physical classes, working in groups and learning from each other.”

Emily is also an associate of Scottish Ballet, which means she normally travels to Glasgow once a week in addition to her Edinburgh excursion.

She has danced since the age of six and attended Silverweb Dance Academy as a young girl. She is also an associate at Moorlands International Ballet Academy, where she has twice-weekly evening classes.

“I like how technical ballet is,” said Emily.

“There’s always something you can work on, always a goal to aim for. The atmosphere at Edinburgh Festival Ballet is brilliant and we’re always learning new pieces of choreography. The experience they have among the tutors is excellent; there are great people to learn from.

“I love the experience of going on stage, the lights and the audience. It’s quite daunting at first, once on stage it’s so much fun.

“In September next year, I’m looking forward to pursuing full-time training in classical ballet in an effort to become a professional dancer in a company.”

School principal, Johan Christensen, said: “Emily is a great example of what can be achieved by students at our part-time school. Both sections of the school — part-time and full-time — present opportunities for aspiring dancers to learn from those that have been at the highest level of the dance profession.

“We would welcome applications for our part-time school from dancers across northern England and Scotland with similar aspirations to Emily. Students may be on the way to making a career as a dancer or may not have danced before.”