The English Youth Ballet are back to charm audiences, after the Covid pandemic drastically changed everything for performers around the world and canceled performances, including for a ballerina from Chesham.

Eleven-year-old dancer Naomi Gillett can finally take the stage with the English Youth Ballet’s performance of the Swan Lake classical ballet.

The highly anticipated Swan Lake features three shows at the Waterside Theater in Aylesbury from March 22-23.

After a large online audition for the show, she was selected from 150 applicants to join the cast of six international principal dancers and 90 young dancers.

Ms Gillett – dancing the role of ‘Royal Courtier’ – said: ‘I am very happy to perform Swan Lake with EYB as it is one of my favorite ballets and to be part of it is just brilliant.

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“I love the exhilarating rush of waiting backstage at a theater ready to play, then committing and putting smiles on the faces of the audience.

Her dancing career began aged three at Maggie Monks School of Dancing in Chesham, where she is still learning tap while studying at Ley Hill School and training at Tring Park School of Performing Arts .

Ms Gillett added: ‘I’ve always loved music and remember spinning around the house dancing to whatever we were listening to.

“So once the opportunity to start classes came up, I jumped for joy!”

Naomi Gillett was selected from 150 applicants. (Ben Garner)

The 90 young dancers trained for 60 hours over 10 days during their weekends at Aylesbury High School to make every balanced move look effortless on stage for Swan Lake, a dramatic love story, of rivalry, greed and murder against the backdrop of 1985 Imperial Russia.

English Youth Ballet Director Janet Lewis MBE said: “The actors showed great enthusiasm and excitement during their rehearsals at Swan Lake.

“The children are obviously delighted to find dance again and to take part in a ballet that they love.

“Since the last year of confinement with the many restrictions, they display a feeling of freedom which reinforces their self-confidence and their well-being.

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“The actors work hard not only on their ballet technique, but on the quality of their performance which expresses the part they are dancing. The incentive is to perform in the theater again

Talented young dancer Ms Gillett dabbled in other types of performing arts as she recently took part in the Chesham Arts Festival, where she came second in the poetry speech class and joint first in a string class for grades 5-6.

She said: “Alongside my passion for dance, where I now study ballet and musical theater at Tring Park School of Performing Arts, I love to sing, play cello and act.”

Bucks Free Press: Swan Lake rehearsals (Credit: EYB) Swan Lake rehearsals (Credit: EYB)

During rehearsals, the young team experienced the work-life balance of a professional dancer by running three company classes to warm up and keeping an eye on the complex daily practice schedule.

Notably, young Kent-based former EYB dancers have gone on to perform with the world’s leading ballet companies, such as the Royal Ballet.

Tickets for Swan Lake at the Aylesbury Waterside Theater can be purchased from the box office on 0844 871 7615 or at