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Ballet Hoo! index

Countdown to the performance

Project timeline

Programme 1 summary
Programme 2 summary
Programme 3 summary
Programme 4 summary

Meet the BRB team
Meet the participants

What the project has meant to me

Denise Pullian
Denzil Peart
Desmond Kelly
Karen Pearson
Keith Horsfall
Laura Purkiss
Margaret Williams
Marion Tait
Michael Waldman

A day in the life...

The story of the ballet
How you can get involved with dance
BRB's project partners

Press and media coverage of the project

Click here if you would like to support BRB's work in the community

Laura Purkiss

Laura Purkiss, a dancer with the BRB, had very personal reasons for wanting to help out with Ballet Hoo! The ballerina reveals that 'I came from a disadvantaged background. I grew up on a council estate in Southampton. I was in the doctor's surgery one day dancing around to the radio and a lady there said to me, 'would you like to come to my dance classes?' I did, and when I went on to study ballet, the local council paid for my training. It was a kind of Billy Elliott story!'

Laura adds that 'I'm not stuck-up, I never understood about the arts. All I knew is that I loved ballet but never had the opportunity to learn about it. So I wanted to pass on to the youngsters on this project my experience of having no options and then suddenly being given one.'

The dancer, who has been with BRB for seven years, carries on that ballet can bring its practitioners immense joy. 'Once you can do the steps,' she beams, 'itís the greatest feeling.'

In addition, Laura believes, the programme can also help overturn some misconceptions about ballet. 'It is perceived as cissy and also has the stigma of being posh. But times have changed. Ballet is not just for one class of person anymore. Look at my fellow BRB dancer Christopher Larsen. He's not at all what you might expect from a ballet dancer. He's very macho and he likes football. The youngsters look at us two and say "you two are ballerinas - it canít be all bad!"'

Laura has high hopes for the outcomes of Ballet Hoo! 'I hope it helps to keep them out of trouble and gives them a focus in life. If at the end, the kids turn round to me and say, Ď"this has really helped me," I'd be happy to carry on as a mentor - even if it's nothing to do with ballet. I've just found this whole scheme so rewarding.'

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