A NEWPORT schoolgirl has made it to the senior tier of training for youngsters at London’s Royal Ballet School.

Amy Payne, 14, who attends St Julian’s school, has been accepted onto the Royal Ballet School’s senior associates programme for 14 and 15-year-olds, having completed a year studying at mid associates level for 11 to 13-year-olds.

The associates programme introduces young students to the Royal Ballet school’s system while they continue to study with their regular dance teacher.

Associates sometimes have the opportunity to perform with the Royal Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet and other ballet companies and many have progressed through the school and into the Royal Ballet companies.

“I’ve been doing ballet since I was two,” explained Amy, who also studies modern and tap dance and at school enjoys music, drama and art.

“My older sister started so I wanted to as well. It was just a hobby then but I started to enjoy it more as I grew up. I moved to my current teacher, Carol Goode, and she encouraged me to do more auditions.”

Amy, who performed in dance shows as a former pupil at Glan Usk Primary School, is now qualified up to what’s known in the ballet world as Standard 7 and hopes to progress to intermediate foundation level so she can teach others.

She recently starred in a school production of Alice In Wonderland and is a member of acting group MyUK at Newport’s Dolman Theatre, as well as being an associate with Ballet Cymru at their new Rogerstone base where she dances with a partner.

As part of Amy’s Royal Ballet School classes she travels to Bath, one of the school’s nationwide centres, every other weekend for three hours of lessons.

“I was shocked that I was accepted as there are so few places,” she said.

“There are around 13 people in my class in Bath. The audition was a normal ballet class but a panel of judges look at every detail and it’s quite scary.

“I just want to be on the stage,” said Amy. “I would like to be in the West End in the future. My idol is Darcey Bussell, she’s amazing.”