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Belfast dancer sets the barre after accepting place at prestigious ballet school

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Molly O’Shea is among a handful of students from Northern Ireland offered a place at the Northern Ballet School in Manchester this year.

After a successful audition the 18-year-old is now set to join the three year Professional Vocational-level training course.

“I was really nervous to apply and I didn’t 100% know how it was going to go but it went really well and I’ve been offered a place,” she said.

Molly O’Shea on stage

Molly fell in love with ballet at a very young age. She explained: “I first started ballet when I was three because I just wanted to be like Angelina Ballerina.

“I’ve been dancing at the Caroline Robinson School of Ballet for 15 years now and I just love it.

“I’m excited to start but it’s definitely going to be a jump up from what I’m doing now — I’ll be doing ballet for 35 hours rather than 10 hours so it will be a lot more intense, but I’m ready to give it a go.”

Molly said her love for dance and ballet plays a huge role in her life.

“I grew up wanting to be a ballerina but now I have just fallen in love with it.” she said.

“It teaches you so much discipline and it is so good for your fitness level and performing in front of people just gives you the best feeling.

Ballerina Molly O’Shea is excited to start the course

“I wasn’t really that outgoing beforehand but it gives you so much confidence, even when it comes to things outside of dance, like public speaking — so it’s really helpful in that sense too.” Molly hopes studying in Manchester can help her to begin a career as a ballerina.

“In our third year we get to audition for shows, obviously I’d love to do one of the big ones like Swan Lake, but anything at all would be brilliant,” she said.

“I know someone that is performing in Dubai, so it can really take you anywhere.”

Ballerina Molly O’Shea has applied for bursaries

The Northern Ballet School charges £14,064 a year for their Professional-Vocational training course.

Molly hopes she can gain scholarships or funding to help pay for the fees but said the lack of funding offered to the arts in Northern Ireland has made this difficult.

“The funding for the arts in Northern Ireland is awful at the minute.

“I’ve applied for so many bursaries but it is hard to get them,” she added.

“There is no real funding per head here in Northern Ireland and it is just so awful how the budget cuts have affected funding.”

Molly is excited to begin her studies in September but for now she is busy juggling ballet alongside her A-levels.

“I’m really busy at the minute, I’m really just focusing on getting ready for my exams, and then I also have my first vocational ballet exam in May,” she added.

Another student heading to the ballet school is Adam Donnelly (15), who will be attending in September.

Kara McCartney from Ballymena Dance Academy said it was “a great achievement” for Adam.

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