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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

Ballymena ballerina to attend prestigious summer festival in Italy

Georgia Crawford performing a variation from The Nutcracker Suite at YGP Barcelona in December 2022.

Georgia Crawford performing a variation from The Nutcracker Suite at YGP Barcelona in December 2022. Photo by LK Studio, Inc.


Georgia Crawford, a 17-year-old aspiring professional dancer from Ballymena, has received a scholarship to attend the Youth Grand Prix International Summer Workshop at the Nervi Music Ballet Festival in Italy in July 2023.


Here she will dance in two gala performances alongside top ballet students and professional dancers from around the world.



In Nervi, Georgia will study classical technique and character dance, as well as have the opportunity to learn and potentially perform contemporary repertoire by world renowned choreographers, including had Naharin from Israel and Mauro Bigonzetti from Italy. She will also have the opportunity to be cast in the Paquita Grand Pas Classique, one of the classical ballet repertoire's most revered jewels, which she recently performed with High Points Youth Ballet at The MAC Belfast on 4th June 2023.


Georgia Crawford at the Grand Opera House Belfast. Photo by Arts Council Northern Ireland for their 2022 Christmas Advertising Campaign.

Georgia Crawford at the Grand Opera House Belfast. Photo by Arts Council Northern Ireland for their 2022 Christmas Advertising Campaign.


The Festival is carefully designed to give young dancers the experience of dancing in a professional ballet company, with daily classes and rehearsals with some of the most respected ballet masters worldwide.


All dancers will perform in the Grand Defilé (a large ensemble number) in gala performances that will conclude the experience, with select dancers being cast in additional pieces during the festival week.



The famous Stars of Today Meet the Stars of Tomorrow Gala on 8th July 2023 will feature professional dancers such as Natalia Osipova of The Royal Ballet, Kimin Kim of the Marinsky Ballet, and Valentine Colasante and Paul Marque of the Paris Opera Ballet.


Georgia has been dancing since she was three years old, first with Ballymena Dance Academy and now in High Points Youth Ballet (HPYB) CIC's pre-professional training programme.


Georgia Crawford performing "Lost Youth" by Ruadhri Maguire, a choreographer from Northern Ireland, at YGP Barcelona in December 2022. Photo by LK Studio, Inc.

Georgia Crawford performing "Lost Youth" by Ruadhri Maguire, a choreographer from Northern Ireland, at YGP Barcelona in December 2022. Photo by LK Studio, Inc.


HPYB was founded in 2011 by Turkish ballerina Rana O'Brien, who recognised the need for intensive ballet training in Northern Ireland. HPYB began by hosting masterclasses and performances in collaboration with other organisations, such as the English Youth Ballet. With support from Arts Council Northern Ireland, HPYB became a year-round pre-professional training programme under the Artistic Direction of American dancer Jacob Allison in 2018.


Georgia joined HPYB in its inaugural year-round season. She said:


"I heard about HPYB through performing Swan Lake with the English Youth Ballet in 2017 and so I decided to attend their Fairy Doll variation masterclasses [led by Jacob Allison and Anna Carapellottil in April 2018.



"I loved it so much that I auditioned for HPYB's training programme that September. Until I joined HPYB I would never have realised what could be achieved in ballet, especially here in Northern Ireland."


Georgia and the other members of the HPYB youth company train up to five days per week in Vaganova-based ballet and pointe, classical repertoire, contemporary dance and improvisation.


More recently, HPYB started offering dancers the opportunity to enter international competitions like YGP Europe. Georgia prepared a classical and contemporary solo for this competition in Barcelona in December 2022 and received a scholarship to the Nervi Festival based on her performance.



Georgia Crawford performing in HPYB's production of Paquita at The MAC Belfast in June 2023. Photo by Sofia de Vasconcelos of Khali and Me Photography.

Georgia Crawford performing in HPYB's production of Paquita at The MAC Belfast in June 2023. Photo by Sofia de Vasconcelos of Khali and Me Photography.


Georgia continued:


"Being from Northern Ireland and seeing my name up there selected with students from so many different countries like Ukraine, Switzerland and Spain was just amazing. I can't wait to take class and perform on-stage alongside so many talented dancers, as well as getting to watch the 'Stars of Today Meet the Stars of Tomorrow' performance.


"It's a real privilege to get to learn from the most inspirational dancers and I'm sure it'll be an unforgettable experience."



To follow Georgia's journey in Nervi, you can follow HPYB on Instagram and Facebook - @belfastballet


High Points Youth Ballet on Instagram


High Points Youth Ballet on Facebook



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