A TEENAGER with childhood dreams of becoming a prima ballerina beat more than 250 other dancers to pirouette into a sparkling role in audiences’ favourite The Nutcracker.

Emma Goudge, 15, delighted theatre-goers as a Sugar Flower in the English Youth Ballet’s interpretation of the classic ballet this weekend.

The Appleford-on-Thames resident joined three exclusive performances at Nottingham’s Theatre Royal after going through a gruelling audition process involving hundreds of hopefuls.

Her appearance was all the more poignant, as she was returning to the Nottingham theatre 11 years after watching her first ballet there – The Nutcracker.

Emma said: “It makes me feel like I have achieved something that I have wanted to do in life. I never thought I would get to this point. It’s just an unreal experience and I’m just living in the moment.”

The grade six ballet dancer currently trains at Abingdon’s Amanda Alder Dance Company and has been dancing since the age of three.

The Oxford Times:

  • Emma Goudge aged three

Emma began dancing with Derby’s Tiptoe Dance School, travelling to Disneyland Paris to peform at the resort.

She auditioned for The Nutcracker after featuring in the English Youth Ballet’s production of Swan Lake at New Theatre Oxford last year.

The teenager travelled to Nottingham in March for the two-hour audition against other dancers aged between eight and 18. She said: “The audition was really tough. I’m pretty sure that everyone came out a bit flustered.”

After being cast in the production on Thursday, June 19, Emma frequently travelled to Nottingham for rehearsals.

She worked with the ballet company’s principal dancers at West Brigford’s The Nottingham Emmanuel School during the 10-day intensive rehersal programme.

The cast rehearsed for a total of 60 hours for the ballet.

Emma, a pupil at Faringdon Road’s St Helen and St Katharine Independent Girls School, said: “I was a bit overwhelmed when I found out because I had enjoyed it so much in the Oxford one and I really really wanted to do it again. It’s that little bit more special than the average dance show.”

The cast of 120 young dancers took to the stage three times between Friday and Saturday.

The ballet follows the magical dream of young girl Clara who receives a nutcracker doll for Christmas.

But she is amazed when the doll transforms into a handsome prince and they embark on an adventure to an enchanted land.

The musical score composed by Tchaikovsky in 1892 included Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Waltz of the Flowers.

Mother Dawn Goudge, 47, said: “I’m so proud of her, she has really worked hard.

“When I watch her I feel really emotional. To see her perform is such a proud moment and I’m just amazed at how good she is.”

The teenager is also a competitive synchronised swimmer, training five times a week with the Reading Royals.