Thurrock boy Joel wins prestigious place in Royal Opera House programme

NINE-year old Joel Tokan, a Herringham Primary School student from Thurrock, has won a place on the Royal Ballet School Junior Associate programme after taking part in the Royal Opera House’s Chance to Dance programme.

Joel has been attending Chance to Dance for 18 months. He performed in their end of year performance Still Life at the Penguin Café in the Linbury Studio Theatre at the Royal Opera House in May, and is thrilled to be starting on the Junior Associate programme.

The Junior Associate programme offers promising dance students between the ages of eight and 15 pre-vocational classical ballet training in centres across the UK, whilst they continue their academic studies at school.

Jillian Barker, Director of Learning and Participation at the Royal Opera House said “It is wonderful to see how undiscovered talent in Thurrock is now being nurtured through this programme. It’s been up and running in South London for almost 25 years and only recently have we expanded Chance to Dance to include Thurrock. Although finding the next big ballet star is not the ultimate aim of the Chance to Dance scheme, this is a delightful outcome and we wish Joel all the best in the pursuit of his dance studies.”

Chance to Dance

Chance to Dance works with 30 primary schools in Thurrock and the London Boroughs of Lambeth and Southwark to provide a creative introduction to ballet for Year 3 children through a mix of Royal Ballet demonstrations and practical workshops. Children identified with enthusiasm and aptitude for dance are invited to join the Chance to Dance Company for up to four years, going to weekly classes locally, attending family days at the Royal Opera House and working towards an annual performance alongside dancers from The Royal Ballet.

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