A TINY dancer from Wombwell is poised to join the Russian giants of the ballet world - but to do so she needs help.
Sixteen-year old Tala Lee-Turton could become just the ninth British dancer to join the prestigious Bolshoi Ballet Academy in its 239 year history.
Her achievement is all the more remarkable as Tala, of Barnsley Road, had surgery for bone spurs at the age of 13, that delayed her training for a year.
But despite her immense courage that finally won her a place with the classical Russian ballet school, Tala will not realise her dream unless she can find financial support.
Her mother Sara has started a local sponsorship campaign that MP for Barnsley East Michael Dugher is throwing his weight behind.
It will be a wrench to see her only child travel so far from home, admitted her mum. But for five years Tala has already been away during the week, after winning a coveted scholarship at 11 to the Tring Park School for Performing Arts in Hertfordshire.
Tala’s potential was first spotted at Cudworth’s Fearons-Middleton School of Dance, when she was seven, then at outreach programmes of the Royal Ballet, Northern Ballet and the Yorkshire Ballet Scholarship Centre.
Recently Tala enjoyed personal coaching at Bristol Russian Ballet School, and ‘fell in love’ with Russian training methods.
Chika Temma and Yury Demakov from Bristol, said of Tala: “We are very confident that this opportunity will help her to become a professional ballet dancer. She is very controlled, physically and mentally, and is a very intelligent and talented young dancer.”
Her natural ability is fuelled by passion and great determination, said Sara, adding that her daughter has already performed with English National Ballet and the American Ballet Theatre in performances of Nutcracker and Le Corsaire.
“All she wants is to do her very best to secure a career dancing across Europe and even the world,” said Sara. “She’s tremendously excited at the prospect of the Bolshoi. She will have to learn the Russian language in the first year from September so she can study academic subjects with her ballet over the next four years. But she’ll do it - it’s what she wants.”
She will miss her daughter incredibly, but is keen for her to take this golden opportunity, said single mother Sara. “When she’s home we love to bake together, but I have to watch the calories, unlike Tala, who weighs just seven stone.”
Mr Dugher said: “I will do all I can to drum up support for Tala. I know she will make Barnsley and Yorkshire very proud. I would encourage people and businesses to support her in becoming a great ambassador for the region.”
Tala’s school fees alone will be £13,000 per year, plus air fares, health insurance and other financial demands.
“For four years this is quite a substantial bill,” said Sara. “I am looking to source at least 75 per cent of the costs through sponsorship and fundraising but would welcome the opportunity to meet any potential sponsors.” Sara can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org