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Karen Pearson

Karen Pearson is an associate producer with Diverse Productions who for the past 18 months has been shooting Ballet Hoo! for Channel 4. She reveals that there are specific challenges when it comes to trying to record ballet.

'It can be very hard to film ballet. It's difficult to capture on film the sheer speed of it. When I first saw a ballet, it was much faster than I'd imagined. With big pieces where the stage is filled with lots of people, you can't do justice to the entire production, but we'll be trying our best on the night of 28 September, I can assure you!'

Karen, who has clearly grown very fond of the participants in Ballet Hoo!, says that she has found the personal development classes run by Youth at Risk just as difficult to film.

'When they're making tough revelations about their lives, it's hard. At the beginning, when there wasn't the same level of trust that we have now, it felt strange. But now it feels really natural. It's like we just happen to be there with a camera in our hands. I'm forever checking that the youngsters are happy to have us there, but they really are. They simply see the cameras as an integral part of the process.'

However, the downside has been that not all the youngsters completed the personal development course. 'When you see a young person who could really benefit from the project fall away due to circumstances beyond their control, that's very disappointing,' Karen sighs. 'You just wish you could pull something out of the hat to help them.'

On the plus side, Karen has found it truly gratifying to be on hand to observe the progress that the young people have made over the past year and a half. 'When you see a young person who was chronically shy pluck up the courage to ask for something, thatís really nice,' the associate producer enthuses.

'At other times, they'll make a really discerning comment, and you think, 'they wouldn't have done that a year ago'. Itís great!'

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