A PROFESSIONAL dancer from York will be taking to the stage next week with a very special co-star - her two-and-a-half-year-old daughter.

Hannah Wintie-Hawkins, 32, has enjoyed a career as a dancer, performer, choreographer and movement director after discovering her passion for dance as a young child at the Red Shoes Dance School in York.

And now, her daughter Mabel is following in her footsteps by joining her on stage in a dance theatre performance of Rapunzel at Darlington Hippodrome.

The production by balletLORENT features a community cast consisting of three mums and toddlers from North Yorkshire and the north east, as well as 10 school children aged between seven and nine.

Hannah and Mabel will be part of a line-up of talent, which includes costumes by award-winning Game of Thrones designer Michele Clapton, a classical soundtrack by Dr Who composer Murray Gold and narration by leading British actor Lesley Sharp.

Despite the famous old adage to “never work with children or animals”, Hannah is confident that dancing with her daughter won’t present any problems.

York Press: The show will be held at Darlington HippodromeThe show will be held at Darlington Hippodrome

Hannah and Mabel will perform in a sequence as well as a second scene where they dance around a maypole - and, unusually for a professionally staged show, the trained performers will take their lead from the children – most of whom have no previous experience on the stage.

Hannah said: “Working with children and babies doesn’t work when you try to choreograph something complicated.

“It comes across as awkward. But balletLORENT’s performance of Rapunzel is very authentic and natural - and really lends itself well to the story and the setting.

“During the scenes with the children and babies there are lots of props on stage such as big balloons, ribbons and hoops. The children choose their own props and move  playfully around the stage, so it’s a very natural and relaxed style."

Hannah said she feels very comfortable about bringing her daughter with her onto the stage, as there is no pressure put on the toddlers to perform.

She said: “balletLORENT has really centred the children in the planning and rehearsals, so if they become upset they can either simply sit and watch the others dance, or there is space in the choreography and direction for them to be taken aside and comforted.

York Press: The show will feature dancer Natalie MacGillivrayThe show will feature dancer Natalie MacGillivray

“So far, Mabel has adored the rehearsals and is transfixed by the balloons. There are parts of the performance when I dance with her in my arms and obviously that’s a physical challenge.

“But she is very excited, she’s constantly chattering away about it and it’s so great for her to be an integral part of this wonderful way of storytelling.”

The show will be held at Darlington Hippodrome on Thursday May 18 at 6pm. Tickets are available on the venue's website.