Morley dance teacher to star in Channel 4’s Big Ballet tonight

Dance teacher Shona Stringer can be seen in Channel 4's Big Ballet tonight. (D551B404)
Dance teacher Shona Stringer can be seen in Channel 4's Big Ballet tonight. (D551B404)

A Woodkirk dance teacher will be gracing the small screen as she fulfills a life-long dream, performing as a ballerina tonight.

Shona Stringer, 36, was chosen to take part in Channel 4’s Big Ballet, which aims to encourage plus-size dancers.

The mum-of-three leaped at the opportunity to audition earlier last year which saw 500 applicants being whittled down to 200.

“I thought it sounded brilliant, but I was very nervous,” said Shona, who made the final 18 of the national television programme. Within a week of auditioning, Shona who runs the Shona Boocock Academy of Dance at Woodkirk Valley Country Club in Dewsbury Road, was deep in rehearsals with the 16 chosen women and two men, also from Yorkshire.

And the life-long dancer was in good hands as she was guided by Royal Ballet legend and famous ‘short’ dancer, Wayne Sleep alongside Prima Ballerina Monica Loughman.

Together the cast and mentors ruffled the feathers of the Ballet establishment as they pirouetted their way through Wayne’s version of Swan Lake.

Shona said that the show helped to boost everyone’s confidence: “We started out wear leggings and baggy t-shirts but towards the end we were running around Northern Ballet in leotards and tights!”

The blood, sweat and tears paid off too, as Shona fulfilled a life-long dream, by performing in Swan Lake at St George’s Hall in Bradford.

She said: “It’s what I dreamed of as a child, but now I am an adult I thought it would never happen and it has. Now I am left wondering what is next.”

Big Ballet starts on Channel 4 tonight at 9pm.