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Jenna's ballet dream comes true

PUBLISHED: 13:29 01 July 2009 | UPDATED: 21:36 07 July 2010

It is something that most young girls can only dream of.

But for Jenna Coates the dream became reality when she danced with members of the award-winning Northern Ballet Theatre (NBT) during rehearsals for their acclaimed production of Romeo and Juliet.

It is something that most young girls can only dream of.

But for Jenna Coates the dream became reality yesterday when she danced with members of the award-winning Northern Ballet Theatre (NBT) during rehearsals for their acclaimed production of Romeo and Juliet.

And Jenna refused to let her profound deafness stand in her way as she performed gruelling lifts with the professional dancers.

The 12-year-old, from Watton, has been unable to hear since she was three and has always longed to be a ballerina.

Thanks to the Essex-based Kids In Need charity, which organises wishes for young people, for one day she had a taste of what life as a ballerina could be like - and admitted it was not all tutus and tiaras.

Jenna, who has attended Jingles dance school in Dereham since she was seven, took part in workshops, watched warm-ups and learnt some moves with the NBT performers.

She admitted she had been nervous before taking to the stage to try a couple of lifts, which are as taxing for the female dancer who needs to remain poised in a difficult position, as they are for the male.

But she said: “It's really exciting, the dancers have been really friendly.

“It's very hard work though, I don't know how they cope.”

Jenna's mum, Andrea Coates, said: “I am really proud of her, ballet is not traditionally a discipline for deaf people and she is showing others that you can overcome it.

“It can be difficult for her as she is practising pirouettes at the moment which require a lot of balance but she has never let her deafness become a hurdle.

“She is very determined and it is that determination that makes her special, not her deafness.”

Joy Neville, of Kids in Need, said: “Jenna has always wanted to do ballet and when she was seven, got a place in a local dancing school which she has attended ever since performing on stage with the group and passing two ballet exams.

“This is a fantastic achievement for a girl who has now been deaf longer than she has been hearing.

“She has always wanted to meet ballet dancers and recognise some of the positions when they are performed. She is usually mesmerised when she watches ballet and sees how professionals dance.”

The charity worked with the ballet company and Norwich Theatre Royal to make sure Jenna's dream could be fulfilled.

t Romeo and Juliet is being performed at 7.30pm tonight and tomorrow with a matinee tomorrow at 2.30pm. Tickets are from £6 to £30.50, with discounts for over-60s, under-18s, schools and groups. Call the box office on 01603 630000. For more info or to book online visit www.theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk.


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