Emily Harrington, age 14, talks about her life and dreams of being a professional ballet dancer.  

‘It gives me happiness every day, and I don’t know what I’d do without it’ says Harrington, who trains as a ballet dancer within the Associates of the Northern Ballet Company, which she started in September of this year. Beginning her dancing career at just two years old, and now training for about 4 hours a day or 30 hours a week, her passion for her sport has clearly had a massive impact on her everyday life, especially as she still attends Secondary School full-time. ‘I still concentrate on school’ she says, but also admits that ‘I’m constantly thinking about it. It’s like my two different lives, my dance life and then a childhood, kind of thing.’  

Harrington believes that one of the most common misconceptions about her sport is that ‘it's all about elegance and it’s quite an easy thing’ but her strict schedule and work ethic should certainly turn the tables on this kind of outlook - ‘it takes years of training, and pain and frustration and everything just to get to one simple thing.’ ‘Some exercises you have to do daily’ she says, ‘you have to be really passionate and involved in it, and committed, you can’t just turn up some days.’ When asked what her favourite thing about ballet is, Harrington says that ’everyone doing it is just like one big family, and that we all learn together, and that we fail together and persevere together, and that we all succeed in one group.’  

In the future, she hopes ‘to become a professional dancer, to move away when I’m sixteen and then go to professional school when I’m eighteen.’ Currently, Harrington trains at the Associates, and she hopes that when she is sixteen, she can move onto a ‘Graduate Course’. ‘They [the Graduates Course] teach you how to get there’ she says, before then expressing her dream of ‘when I’m eighteen, if I get into the school, I can start that process of becoming a professional dancer. It takes years.’  

Harrington’s dedication and perseverance has led to her becoming a truly inspirational young person, and I can only say that I wish her good luck for the future she is so close to achieving.