Etchingham schoolgirl joins talented dance group in production at Hastings White Rock Theatre

Maddie Webster SUS-190521-132223001
Maddie Webster SUS-190521-132223001

A schoolgirl was selected to take part in a professional ballet production at the White Rock Theatre.

Maddie Webster, 12, who lives in Etchingham and attends Heathfield Community College, joined scores of dancers from 1066 Country in a two-day performance of Coppélia last Friday (May 17) and Saturday (May 18).

She was selected by English Youth Ballet (EYB) and has been training with the Jane Coleman School of Dancing since she was a toddler.

Maddie’s ballet teacher, Jane Coleman, sadly passed away just three days after the schoolgirl successfully auditioned for English Youth Ballet.

Maddie’s mother, Joanne, said: “Maddie did the performance for her (Jane Coleman) as she wanted to make her proud. She has been training with Miss Jane since she was two.

“The other teachers are continuing with the school, which is good, but we all miss Miss Jane very much.”

Coppélia featured international principal dancers and all the soloist and corps de ballet roles in the production were performed by more than 50 dancers, aged eight to 18, from the area.

Janet Lewis MBE, director and founder of EYB, was on the lookout for young dance talent to join her award-winning company for the production.

She said: “EYB is all about providing extra performance experience to young dancers.

“We saw a very pleasing standard at the audition and it was lovely to see lots of enthusiasm.”

The story of Coppélia follows the escapades of the dreamy Franz and how he comically falls in love with a beautiful, life-like doll.

The doll, Coppélia, is created by the eccentric, yet mysterious inventor, Dr Coppelius.

The plot thickens when Franz’s jealous lover, Swanhilda, takes her friends on an adventure into the spooky house of the mad inventor to confront her rival.

Coppélia first premiered in 1870 in Paris.

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