New dance challenge for Wath Big Ballet star

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A Wath ballet star, who defied convention to fulfill her dancing ambitions, has set up two dance schools in the region.

Jessica Bell, of Winfield Road in Wath, was one of the stars of Channel 4 reality show, Big Ballet, through which she broke a long-held idea that ballerinas must be petite.

At size 14, the 25 year-old was considered too big for ballet, but after impressing choreographer Wayne Sleep among others, Jess went on to star in the show and perform Swan Lake at the Alhambra Theatre in Bradford.

And now, the single mum says she wants to offer ‘inclusive dancing’ to women across the Dearne. “No matter your age, ability, weight, size or colour I want to show that ballet is for everyone,” said Jess.

She added: “A few men have shown some interest, but none have signed up yet but I want to get a class full of men doing ballet.”

Following her stint in Swan Lake, Jessica has named her dance school Black Swan Performance Academy, and classes began last week for adults and tots.

“I forgot to mention it was me teaching, so I think a few people were surprised to see me! All the feedback has been really good,” she said. “The kids have really been enjoying it too.”

Jessica is training up the children in her ballet class for a show on May 24 to raise money for the cancer unit at Western Park, after her grandmother sadly passed away from the disease . Her sessions take place on Tuesday evenings for adults at Pius X Catholic School for adults and at Wath Library on Thursdays for youngsters. Visit for more details.