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Young Achiever: Dancer trains at Bolshoi

  • New York trip: Leia Ratteray-Drover to study at Bolshoi Ballet Academy
  • New York trip: Leia Ratteray-Drover to study at Bolshoi Ballet Academy

Pirouettes in Paris helped Leia Ratteray-Drover to land a prestigious summer ballet placement.

The 12-year-old said: “I was really excited, because I didn’t really expect it.”

Leia’s performance of an excerpt from Sleeping Beauty caught the attention of some important people at the Youth America Grand Prix, which was held in France In November.

It was the first time she had taken part in the competition.

For her presentation, Leia was recognised with a scholarship to attend the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in New York City this summer. The six-week session runs from July 2 to August 10.

Alex Ratteray, Leia’s mom, said she was shocked by the scholarship offer.

Ms Ratteray added: “I was crying I think.

“We didn’t know that she would even be considered for something like that.”

Wil Drover, Leia’s father, described the recognition as “overwhelming”.

He explained: “I’m just happy for Leia, because she’s the one that puts in the most work.

“Getting the scholarship was a really big deal.”

The Right Reverend Ewen Ratteray, former Anglican Bishop of Bermuda, said that he was “immensely proud” of his granddaughter.

He added: “It’s an amazing achievement. I’m thrilled to bits really.”

Leia first began studying ballet in Bermuda ten years ago.

Ms Ratteray said her daughter was “always in motion, always running around, always moving”.

She added: “Dance seemed like a natural thing for her to be put into.”

Leia studied at the Somerset School of Dancing in Pembroke before the family relocated to Essex some seven years ago.

She said that today she often spends as much as ten hours a week practicing. While she might not yet be a teenager, Leia said that she has big plans for the role ballet would be playing in her future.

She explained: “I want to get into a ballet company when I’m older. You have to be quite dedicated and determined.”

Her grandfather said he had “no doubt” Leia could attain her goal.

He said: “She’s extremely determined and very committed, and what she has achieved so far speaks to that.

“I hope that I live long enough to see her professionally dancing somewhere in the world.”