Young ballerina picked to dance with top ballet company after battling multiple injuries

13-year-old Emily Orchard has been selected to perform with the English Youth Ballet company. Pictur

13-year-old Emily Orchard has been selected to perform with the English Youth Ballet company. Picture: BEN GARNER - Credit: BEN GARNER

An aspiring ballerina from Finborough School has been cast in a performance by a pretigious dance group after overcoming two nasty knee injuries in the space of two years.

Emily Orchard, 13, from Old Newton near Stowmarket endured two operations after suffering a cyst behind her knee cap, and later a tear to her cartilage.

After recovering from her first operation, Emily was briefly fit enough to audition and dance with the English Youth Ballet (EYB).

However shortly after her performance she had both legs put in casts for six weeks to stretch her Achilles tendon.

Just when she thought she was on the mend, Emily began suffering from more knee pain, and had to undergo a second operation – followed by hours of physiotherapy and rehabilitation exercises.

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However despite the hurdles she has had to face, Emily has been selected again to dance with EYB and will be performing in a new production of Cinderella in Hollywood at the Norwich Theatre Royal next month.

When asked what dancing means to her, Emily said: “Everything, and it’s a release. I am not thinking about the past or future. I just think about the present.

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She said staying positive throughout her recovery was the biggest challenge.

She added that her experiences have “made me realise that I am lucky to be able to dance”.

Having discovered her love of dancing at age two, Emily now trains for four to five hours per week. She also helps with dance classes for younger children on a Saturday morning.

In Cinderella in Hollywood, Emily will be dancing as one of shoe sellers in the Shoe Dance in Act I, and as a dancer in the Charleston Cabaret in Act II. The 13-year-old was previously selected to dance with EYB in a production of Sleeping Beauty at the Norwich Theatre Royal in 2016.

English Youth Ballet (EYB) was founded in 1998 to provide professional performance experience for talented young dancers.

The company is made up of eight professional principals and 100 selected dancers aged eight to 18, from the local area. There are now ex-EYB young performers in some of the world’s best companies – including the Royal Ballet.

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