In January 2019, four lucky young local dance students took part in company class with the Russian State Ballet of Siberia at Darlington Hippodrome. Read about Rowan's experience below.

'I found the experience incredibly interesting and beneficial for my training. It was really good to be thrown in the deep end and just expected to do the exercises without time to think first because this is what the professional world is like. It was so really interesting to see what the dancers go through on a daily basis and to be able to be in the environment with them to see how a professional company works.

'My biggest takeaway from the class is that classes move much faster in a professional world rather than weekly studio lessons and that it’s really important to listen to everything the teacher is saying so you don’t miss anything.

'To have a class directed partly in Russian and partly in English was quite challenging as it would be a little bit of a guessing game sometimes to work the exercise out. However, I think it was helpful as it made me concentrate much harder and if I ever work abroad, it will be like that so it was good to be able to do.

'Overall, I think it was a really good experience to just be thrown into as you just had to do the exercises without a moments thought and it showed me the fast-paced environment. I am really grateful to have been selected and I really enjoyed it.'

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