Bishopbriggs ballerina stages successful defence of her Scottish title

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A LIGHT-FOOTED schoolgirl has been crowned Scotland’s best young ballet dancer for the second consecutive year.

Ellis Derrick (12), from Bishopbriggs, travelled to Helensburgh recently to defend the Junior Scottish Ballet Championship she won last year.

The Turnbull High School pupil once again pirouetted her way past around 40 other talented competitors - who had all qualified by the championships by winning contests throughout the year - to land the sought-after trophy for the 10-13 age group.

It’s just the latest success for Ellis, who has won numerous titles since starting to dance before she could even walk.

Mum Janice, who is a dance teacher, explained: “She was dancing from the moment we put her in a baby walker!

“Then, when she was five she started going to the Linda Lowry School of Ballet which is such a fantastic school which is highly regarded. Everybody there is so supportive of her there - it’s great.

“You do your best as a parent to encourage your kids but it eventually comes down to how talented they are. We’re very proud of Ellis for winning one of the biggest competitions of the year.”

Now Ellis hopes to win the title for the third time next year, knowing that the last person to achieve that feat went on to achieve her dream - landing a place at the Royal Ballet School.

Janice said: “She has her heart set on the Royal Ballet and others from the Linda Lowry School have won a place there.

“We applied for their summer school this year but about 1,500 apply for only about 350 places and she missed out. She’s been asked to join the waiting list though which is a positive sign.”

Even if her dream of the Royal Ballet has to wait, Ellis has been offered a place at the summer programme for the English National Ballet School - although, being a non-funded place, her family are currently looking for sponsors to help out with the costs.

In the meantime, she’s set to continue practicing for around 17 hours a week in her bid to take her place among Britain’s finest dancers.

If you would like to sponsor Ellis contact Herald reporter David Hepburn on 0141 775 0040.

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