BALLET dancers from the York area are leaping for joy after winning places at prestigious ballet schools and companies.

Several girls from the Rebecca Davies School of Dance in Huntington have secured places at the Royal Ballet School and Northern Ballet, while 19-year-old Joseph Poulton has been awarded a contract with Ballet Black, which provides a role model for aspiring black and Asian dancers.

School principal and teacher Rebecca Davies hailed the achievement of her pupils in the face of stiff competition for places as “absolutely fantastic”.

She said Jazmin McNiff, 11, from Acomb, Olivia Rippon, 11, from Osbaldwick, and Aimee Thompson, 12, and Alex Copley, 12, both of Haxby, had won places at both the Northern Ballet in Leeds and Louise Browne Yorkshire Ballet Scholarship Centre in York, which both involved regular lessons at weekends.

Chloe Good, ten, of Huntington, had become a junior associate of the Royal Ballet School, and Georgia Hunt, 13, of Haxby, had become a mid-associate of the Royal Ballet School and an associate of the Northern Ballet, which meant travelling to Leeds and Manchester for lessons every weekend.

Sophie Reynolds, 13, of Huntington, had won a place at the Louise Browne Yorkshire Ballet Scholarship Centre.

Joseph, from Huntington, who has British and Trinidadian parents, will graduate this month from the Central School of Ballet in London with a BA (Hons) in Professional Dance and Performance and will join Ballet Black in September.

Sara Matthews, Director of the school, said graduate employment of dance students had been severely affected by the challenging economic climate, so she was particularly delighted that so many of the school’s students, like Joseph, had found jobs in the world’s top ballet and dance companies.

“This is an excellent opportunity for Joseph, one of our most talented students,” she said. “We will follow his progress with interest.”