Phoenix rising for dancer Rebecca

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TEENAGER Rebecca Manning is living the dream after being accepted by one of the country’s leading contemporary dance companies.

The 14-year-old from Hightown has successfully auditioned for a place at the Phoenix Dance Theatre Youth Academy, and will attend twice-weekly classes with them until she is 19.

Rebecca has been dancing since the age of seven and is a pupil at the Stuart Stage School in Heckmondwike.

Her dance teacher Sally Bemrose, said: “In the short time I have taught Rebecca she has shown me her dedication and commitment to dance, She has the perfect physique for a dancer and has the attributes to succeed in dance.”

Phoenix, which shares premises with the Northern Ballet in Leeds, is one of the most prestigious of its kind and is this year celebrating its 30th anniversary.

Rebecca’s mother, Lorraine, said: “We are immensely proud of her. Young people are given such a bad press these days, but there are a lot who do achieve things and are a credit to society.

“She is so passionate about dance and her determination has paid off.

“The world of dance is very tough, you psyche yourself up for auditions which are an ordeal and you have to face rejection. Rebecca has auditioned for things in the past and not got through, but she just picks herself up and carries on to follow her dream.

“We are just so pleased for her. She will now train with choreographers and work on her technical ability and performance. The youth academy dancers will also prepare pieces which they will perform.”

Rebecca, who attends Whitcliffe Mount School, said while she loved all forms of dance, she preferred contemporary, which Phoenix specialises in.

“I love performing. I focused on ballet for a long time, but felt it was a bit restrictive because it’s very technical,” she said.

“Contemporary dance allows you more freedom to be expressive and really show your emotions.

“I’m really excited about going.”