TALENTED young dancer Hattie Stocks from Skipton is heading for London after beating off hundreds of others from all over the world to win a place at the prestigious Royal Ballet School.

Ten year old Hattie, a pupil at Carleton Primary School, is described by the principal of the Skipton based Northern Dance Centre , where she is a pupil, as a ‘pleasure to teach’ and a ‘very natural dancer’ with something ‘very special’.

Each year, The Royal Ballet School conducts an intense worldwide audition which sees 1,000 young girls compete for just 12 places. Hattie attended her final audition at the ballet school’s White Lodge in London at the beginning of March and was offered a full-time place straight away.

She began dancing when she was just three years old at the Northern Dance Centre, and joined The Royal Ballet’s junior associate programme in Leeds when she was nine years old.

She has gained distinctions for every ballet exam she has taken, and in her last exam, achieved a mark of 90 per cent, she is currently studying for her Intermediate Foundation Royal Academy of Dance exam.

Hattie will begin her training at The Royal Ballet’s lower school, for 11 to 16 year olds, at White Lodge, Richmond, in September.

Amy Addison, principal of the Northern Dance Centre, Sackville Street, said “Hattie has always worked extremely hard and is a real pleasure to teach, learning in a particularly careful and intelligent way, and improving visibly in each class.

“She is an outstanding student not just in her physical ability, but also her musicality and intelligence. Watching her dance is joyful, and her gentle personality draws the audience in. She is a very natural dancer and there is something very special about her. To have her potential recognised by one of the world’s greatest ballet schools means everything to her and makes us all very proud indeed. A huge thank you to all of her loyal and hardworking teachers at Northern Dance Centre, and to her particularly supportive family.”

The Royal Ballet School was started in 1926 by Dame Ninette de Valois and is regarded as one of the world’s great centres of excellence in dance training. Admission is based purely on talent and potential and about 95 per cent of its students receive financial support from the Government’s Music and Dance Scheme or from other sources.