An 11-year-old girl from Leicester has bagged herself a much coveted admission to the Royal Ballet School – a place that only 12 girls from around the world have a chance to land. Anisha Yadla, who is Indian, says the position will finally fulfill her dream of being a representative for people of color within the industry.
The Royal Ballet School, based at the Royal Opera House in London, receives over twenty thousand applications every year. Admission to the school is based purely on dancing talent and potential, regardless of academic ability or personal circumstances, and 90 per cent of current students rely on financial scholarships to attend the school.
With a £ 40,000 annual tuition fee, Anisha, who attends Abbey Mead Primary School, managed to gain a partial scholarship based solely on her talent. Her parents, Surya and Jayasree Yadla, said their daughter opened their eyes to the world of ballet, having never even watched it on TV before.
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Proud dad, Surya, said: “Me and my wife came from India 17 years ago and for us, being a ballerina wasn’t something we ever imagined for Anisha. When she was three years old, she would watch Angelina Ballerina on the tv and we had never come across it before.
“We thought it was a phase but after six months she was still walking around on her tippy toes. We’re so proud of her and all of her accomplishments are based on her own ability, without any extra help from us.”
Francesca Hayward, a Kenyan-born English dancer inspired the 11-year-old’s journey. Her dad said, seeing a person of color do so well in the industry made Anisha think she could be the same representation for Indians; vowing: “I want to be just like her.”
Surya continued: “She has already performed nine shows at the Birmingham Hippodrome and even got into the Dance World Cup as a soloist representing England before it was canceled because of the pandemic.
“Right now, she’s super excited, trying to prepare and learning to do her hair in the proper way. She opened our eyes to ballet. So from here, we’ll leave it to the professionals to guide her as we won’t know. the difference! “
The school is based at two sites, White Lodge in Richmond Park for students aged 11–16 and Covent Garden for students from 16 to 19. Anisha will be staying in White Lodge from September as she starts her secondary education at the boarding school.
The Royal Ballet School has produced dancers and choreographers of international renown, including Dame Margot Fonteyn, Dame Beryl Gray, Sir Kenneth MacMillan, Dame Darcey Bussell, Alessandra Ferri, Viviana Durante, and Sergei Polunin, as well as the current director of The Royal Ballet. , Kevin O’Hare.
Gary Aldred, Principal of Abbey Mead School, said: “All staff and pupils at Abbey Mead are incredibly proud of Anisha’s achievements in dance. As well as being incredibly talented, Anisha has shown resourcefulness, resilience and a readiness to follow her dreams.
“She is a very special person and is an inspiration to us all. We wish Anisha all the best for her future training and hope to see her one day on a London stage.”
To follow Anisha’s journey, check out her Instagram page, where she shares her training with her 5,291 followers.