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Royal Ballet to honour the Hull dance school that turns out stars

A backstreet in Hull might seem a world away from the bright lights of the Royal Opera House. But one unassuming dance school in a converted church has discovered more ballet stars than any other in the UK.

The Skelton Hooper School of Dance has sent what is believed to be a record 24 pupils to the Royal Ballet School, including the current head of The Royal Ballet, Kevin O'Hare.

As a tribute to the city's dance heritage, O'Hare is taking his company to Hull for the first time in 30 years. He will stage a gala performance starring Xander Parish, star soloist with Russia's Mariinsky Ballet and another former pupil.

The show on September 16 will form part of Hull's UK City of Culture programme, and will be preceded by a day of activities that includes taking to the streets to teachmembers of the public how to perform the cygnets' dance from Swan Lake.

"For me, Hull born, bringing the Royal Ballet up to Hull for this special opening performance is fantastic," said O'Hare.

"Over van cleef and arpels sweet alhambra earrings fake the years, so many male and female dancers have trained there and gone on to have great careers across the world." The gala will re open the Hull New Theatre, which has undergone a 16 million refurbishment.

O'Hare and his brother, Michael, who is now senior ballet master with Birmingham Royal Ballet, studied at Skelton Hooper. "It was very imitation van cleef butterfly earrings professional. In other schools it was more about enjoying yourself, but there it was much more focused," he recalled.

The school was founded by the late Vera Skelton and is now run by her daughter, Vanessa Hooper. "My mother trained most of the teachers we have. She was quite extraordinary the first person to get someone into the Royal Ballet imitation van cleef and arpels alhambra earrings from the provinces," said Hooper, who charges just 3.75 a lesson.

Other former pupils include Natasha Oughtred and Joseph Caley, both principal dancers with the Birmingham Royal Ballet. Caley will perform at the gala. Parish's sister, Demelza, also studied there and is now first artist at the Royal Ballet, alongside soloist and Skelton Hooper alumnus Elizabeth Harrod.

Liam Mower, one of the original stars of the Billy Elliot musical, trained at a different ballet school but is also from Hull. Hooper said there is something special about the city.

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