Hat-trick of awards for Lancashire dancing starlets

Meg Dixon, from the Mavis Berry-Helen Allen Dance School, has been named  Most Promising Classic Dancer
Meg Dixon, from the Mavis Berry-Helen Allen Dance School, has been named Most Promising Classic Dancer
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Twinkle-toed starlets Meg Dixon and Ellie McVann are dancing their way to success after collecting a hat-trick of awards.

The teenagers, both pupils at Leyland St Mary’s Catholic High School, attend the Mavis Berry-Helen Allen School of dance in the town.

Ellie McVann, from the Mavis Berry-Helen Allen Dance School, won places at two top ballet schools - Liverpool and Royal Northern in Manchester

Ellie McVann, from the Mavis Berry-Helen Allen Dance School, won places at two top ballet schools - Liverpool and Royal Northern in Manchester

Meg, who lives in Fox Lane in Leyland, is following in her mum Claire’s footsteps by going to the same dance school and being a runaway success at the barre.

The 14-year-old scooped the title of Most Promising Classical Dance in the 11 and overs category at the prestigious Blackburn Festival of Speech, Dance and Drama. She competed against much older pupils.

Mum Claire, who won a British Ballet Organisation scholarship when she was 12, said: “She dances ballet, tap and modern jazz and also does character dancing and singing and wants to do musical theatre when she leaves school.

“She has been in a few shows at school, including the recent Sound of Music.”

I am extremely proud of her and she just loves it and has achieved a distinction in every single exam she has ever taken.

The year nine pupil has been dancing since she was four years old and despite a hefty homework schedule manages around eight hours a week, and also has singing lessons.

Claire added: “I am extremely proud of her and she just loves it and has achieved a distinction in every single exam she has ever taken.”

Dance teacher Helen Allen added: “She is very musical and this is a wonderful achievement for her.”

Ellie, 15, who started dancing before she started school, has been offered places at two prestigious dance academies from September.

Besides juggling her GCSE studies with her dancing, she has managed to impress chiefs at both the Northern Ballet School in Manchester and the Elliot Clarke Performing Arts School and College in Liverpool.

Both were so impressed with her talents they have offered her a place – and are prepared to pick up the bill for the fees to get her.

Mum Louise said: “She dances every night except Friday and Sunday and has two lessons on Saturday.

“She decided when she was two-and-a-half she wanted to do ballet but couldn’t start until she was three. She really loves it and wants to be a professional dancer.”

Helen said: “She has done incredibly well to get one never mind two offers and we didn’t know she had the second offer until she came in on Saturday and told us.

“If she accepts the Royal Northern we will have two pupils there at the same time, which is really good.

“They have done very well. Dancing is a tough world and it is getting harder and harder.”

The talented teen started dancing as a tot after Helen Allen gave her a pair of shoes when she was visiting her grandfather’s house across the road from the school.

Helen said: “Her mum used to bring her in the pram as a baby and one time I had some ballet shoes in the back of the car so I just gave them to her to play with.”

The dance school has operated from the Leyland United Reformed Church hall in Quinn Street for the past 60 years, started by Helen’s mum Mavis Berry when she was just 15. Mavis is still teaching.