Tala Lee-Turton: Only the 9th British girl ever in 239 year history accepted to the Bolshoi Academy.

From Barnsley to Bolshoi: Schoolgirl, 16, wins place in world famous Russian ballet academy – only the NINTH Brit to be given honour in 239 years


Teenager Tala Lee-Turton is dancing for joy after being offered the chance of a lifetime to take up a place at the world famous Bolshoi Ballet.

Tala, 16, will swap the streets of her home town of Barnsley for Moscow in September when she begins a four year training programme at the Bolshoi’s Academy.

While she is there Tala, who started dancing when she was four, will have to learn Russian to help her settle in the country and to continue the rest of her academic studies.

She is one of the elite few ever to be accepted at the prestigious ballet company and only the ninth British dancer ever to have been offered the chance in its 239 year history.

Tala began dancing at a local ballet school when she was still at infants school and her talent was quickly spotted by her teachers who advised her to apply for scholarships.

She attended programmes of the Royal Ballet, Northern Ballet and the Yorkshire Ballet Scholarship Centre and for the last five years Tala has attended Tring Park School for the Performing Arts in Hertfordshire, after winning a coveted Music and Dance Scheme scholarship.

More recently she has been personally coached by the Bristol Russian Ballet School, which is where she found her love for the Russian method of training.

Tala has also performed with both English National Ballet and American Ballet Theatre at the Coliseum in London in performances of Nutcracker and Le Corsaire.

During a stint in Bristol, Tala realised that the Russian style was for her.’ It’s expressive, free, dancey, it’s different from the English style and I love it.,’ said Tala.

‘I’m a bit apprehensive about going to Russia but at the same to time I’m excited and looking forward to going. I’ve researched the Russian culture and I’m looking forward to embracing it and learning a new language and a new way of life.

‘It’s a dream come true. I think if you want to achieve something you will get out what you put in, if you want it that much and you work hard enough the chances are you’ll get there. That’s what’s happened to me and it’s the best advice I can give.’

Tala’s mother Sara added: ‘It’s not an easy life and it’s not for everyone, but it’s what Tala wants to do and it will help her become the best ballet dancer that she can possibly be.

‘It’s the ultimate award for all the hard work she has put in for so many years and and it’s an incredible achievement. I am very proud of her.’

Chika Temma and Yury Demakov, of the Bolshoi Ballet Academy, said: ‘We are delighted that Tala has been offered a place at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy to be able to continue the Russian method of ballet training.

‘Tala works extremely hard and we are very confident that this opportunity will help Tala to become a professional ballet dancer. We enjoy teaching Tala. She is very controlled, physically and mentally, and is a very intelligent and talented young dancer.’

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