'Beyond proud:' Kendal schoolgirl heads for Royal Ballet School

Lillie Wade, who began dancing aged 4, will start at the prestigious school in September

An 11-year-old schoolgirl from South Lakes is set to take up a place at the prestigious Royal Ballet School in September, after a gruelling, multi-stage audition process.

Lillie Wade, who is from Kendal, attended auditions in Leeds, Manchester, and London, alongside hundreds of other ballerinas competing for a place.

The Royal Ballet School takes secondary-aged children to train at its White Lodge campus, in London, where they combine regular schooling with daily dance classes.

Its alumni include Jonathan Cope, Antoinette Sibley, and Darcey Bussell, along with other stars of stage and screen. Lillie can expect to be trained by some of the best teachers in the industry, alongside classmates who will go on to appear in major productions across the UK and around the world.

Lillie faced a difficult audition process to win her spot

"I can't wait to meet loads of new friends and do ballet every day," Lillie told ITV News, "But my most challenging thing is leaving family."

Her dad, Fergus, does not dance himself - but suggested that Lillie's talent might have been passed down from her grandfather.

"It seems to have skipped a generation, and my dad went to ballet school in London when he was 14."

"I'm excited and proud," he added. "A bit worried because she's 11 and she's off down to London, but she's so excited and I can't believe how excited she is, really. That's helped me because she's so chilled about it and looking forward to going."

The student ballerinas work to an intense schedule, with two hours of dancing every day on top of lessons, as well as homework and rehearsals. But Lillie's dance teacher back home in Kendal is confident she will rise to the challenge.

"When Lillie arrived at four, she was a bundle of joy and she bounded into class and she had a great love of dance. As she grew and developed, she had a beautiful potential, which I spotted."

"I'm proud - beyond proud."

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