Budding Sidmouth ballerina celebrates top exam mark

PUBLISHED: 11:17 26 January 2009 | UPDATED: 12:20 17 June 2010

A BUDDING ballerina from Sidmouth celebrated achieving more than 90 per cent in a dance exam last week.

A BUDDING ballerina from Sidmouth celebrated achieving more than 90 per cent in a dance exam last week.

Sidmouth Ballet School student Grace Blackburn, 13, saw hours of hard work a week pay off as the Royal Academy of Dance examiner awarded her 92 per cent for a "nerve wracking" grade six ballet performance.

Dance ace Grace, of Sidford Road, who goes to Sidmouth College, had to overcome nerves amidst unfamiliar surroundings to bag the mark.

The exam, held in Torquay in November, saw her perform in front of a single judge and pianist in a studio she had never danced in before.

Grace, who has a ballet bar in her room and has been attending the Sidmouth Ballet School since she was seven, said: "I was hoping for a good result and thought it went quite well, but was very surprised an delighted at how high the mark was."

The top score won't look out of place with the 84 and 86 per cent marks Grace notched up on her grade five and six exams respectively.

She added: "I'd love to pursue a career in dance-it is my dream profession. I am hoping to do an English National Ballet summer course in West London this year, to see what life would be like at a ballet school and get more get more classical training.

Grace, who hopes to take a dance GCSE and is already preparing for her grade seven exam, reserved special praise for her Sidmouth Ballet School teacher Lucie-Grace Welsman who travelled to Torquay with her.

Lucie, 30, praised her student's "exceptionally good" and "well deserved" mark.

She said: "Usually judges come to us, but because Grace took the exam early we had to go and perform in a studio she had never danced in before. She went in on her own which is hard enough because of nerves."

"Grace is a talented young dancer and a good student who always listens and always improves. She has a lot of promise, she could do it as a profession if she keeps up the hard work."

Grace's proud and "absolutely thrilled" mum Anne said: "This is what she wants to do and she has put in a lot of home practice.


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