Tring teen wins place at top ballet school

17-year-old ballet dancer Jessica De Souza Lewis
17-year-old ballet dancer Jessica De Souza Lewis

A talented Tring teenager is celebrating her first year at one of Europe’s leading ballet schools.

Last year Jessica De Souza Lewis, 17, was one of only 36 pupils to win a place at London’s prestigious Central School of Ballet.

The former Tring Park School pupil says she “really enjoyed” her first year at the ballet school.

She said: “You have to be dedicated to make it to the top of this profession and it is my dream to be dancer at one of the world’s leading dance companies when I graduate.

“The training is very challenging, similar to the training of the best athletes, but we are all motivated by the rewards of performing.”

Jessica is sitting a three-year course in professional dance and performance, at the only school of it’s kind in the UK.

As part of her course she trains at least six hours a day during the week and takes classes on Saturdays.

Jessica added: “Our year culminates in our end of year show which takes place on stage at The Stratford Circus Arts Centre on July 12 and 13 and gives us the opportunity to perform in front of friends, family and our fellow students showcasing our progress and new skills.”

Jessica first started dancing when she was six-years-old, following the lead of her parents who were both professional dancers.

Heidi Hall, director of Central School says only the most talented and dedicated students are accepted.

She said: “Central’s degree course is one of the most comprehensive dance programmes in the country and enables our students to enjoy sustained careers in ballet.

“Central is working towards a move to a new purpose-built facility in Southwark, where Jessica will have the benefit of completing her studies.”

For Jessica’s final year she will join the school’s touring company Ballet Central.

The Ballet Central 2018 tour will have visited 20 cities across the country with choreography from renowned ballet figures.

Graduates from Jessica’s course have gone to join premier dance companies like The Lion King and Phantom of the Opera.