That’s the way to Tutu it! Lily-Mae dances her way to Royal approval

A SCOUTHEAD youngster, described as possessing “special and natural ability”, has taken a significant step towards a career as a professional ballet dancer.

Lily-Mae Gould, who attends Christ Church Primary School in Denshaw, is only nine.

But she is an outstanding pupil at Lydgate-based Saddleworth Ballet School and has now been recognised for her ability by one of the world’s most celebrated centres for classical ballet.

Lily-Mae, who currently trains twice a week with Saddleworth Ballet School founder Emily Turner, successfully auditioned to receive a Junior Associate position with the Royal Ballet School (RBS).

Emily with Lily-Mae

From September she will train on Saturdays at the RBS’s regional centre in Manchester.

Ex professional dancer Emily explained: “There were 800 applicants for one of these spots so this is a fantastic achievement by Lily-Mae.

“You can go to the Royal Ballet School at Richmond Park in Surrey from the age of 11 and to their full-time boarding school called White Lodge.

“The Junior Associate programme is a feeder system towards getting a full-time slot. It is also a way to be seen by them but trained in the Royal Ballet School way.

“The dream is if you spend two years doing the Junior Associate programme and you get to be trained by them, hopefully you will be good enough to go to the school full-time.”


Emily, who recently moved from Delph to Holmfirth, trained at the Royal Ballet and Covent Garden.

“That’s why I am keen for my students to go through the same system and training,” she explained.

Her professional classical experience took her on tour throughout Europe with repertoire including Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and Bolero plus premieres of new work with Switzerland-based Cinevox Company.

She established Saddleworth Ballet School in June 2019, initially at Saddleworth Leisure Centre but now based at Lydgate Parish Hall. Emily’s students range from three to 18.

“You could see from the very first dance lesson Lily-Mae had a special and natural ability,” said Emily.

“She is quite remarkable, very resilient and doesn’t give up. She had a maturity about her and the right work ethic from when I first met her.

“The way she moves is something you can’t teach; you are born with that very special something.”

Lily-Mae isn’t the only talent under Emily’s tuition.

“We take it quite seriously,” she added.

“We are not saying lessons aren’t fun because they are full of fun. But you will find our students are completely dedicated to the process because they want to improve.

“My aim was to introduce professional level ballet training in Saddleworth or at least a ballet school that was going to allow students opportunity to progress into it in a vocational manner. We are trying to raise the bar.”

• Find out more about Saddleworth Ballet School at:

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