Rebecca just tutu good for the rest

Rebecca Chester, 12, from Leyland
Rebecca Chester, 12, from Leyland

Twinkle-toed youngster Rebecca Chester is in dance heaven after setting a new record for her dance school.

The 12-year-old, from Leyland, has just become the first pupil in the 60-year history of the town’s Mavis Berry and Helen Allen Dance School to win the Maud Anderton Award from the prestigious Elmhurst academy in Birmingham.

The Wellfield Business and Enterprise College pupil has been dancing since she was three, but only joined the Leyland school, run by mum and daughter Mavis and Helen, when she was nine.

Apart from her dance teachers, Rebecca was the only pupil from the school who took part in the three-day workshop at Elmhurst during the Easter holidays, which culminated in pupils putting on a display for parents.

Rebecca said: “There were 198 pupils at the dance course and I was so shocked when they called my name out as the most promising student.

“I wasn’t expecting it. The other dancers were a lot older and were really good. I was just so happy because, besides the trophy, I got a free place to go on the course again next year.”

Helen Allen added: “Elmhurst is a vocational school which trains students to go to the Birmingham Royal Ballet. While we go as British Ballet Organisation teachers you can also take pupils as well and Rebecca wanted to go. Teachers come from all over the country.

“This was a real achievement for her. Only seven trophies are presented, and she got one of them. It is brilliant. Dancing is what she wants to do.”

Rebecca has an older brother James, 15, brother Adam, 10, and five-year-old sister Katie, who has just started dancing. Mum Lucie used to dance but now works as a make-up artist.

She said: “Rebecca dances six days a week and doesn’t tire. Dancing is her dream. It’s what she wants to do as a career.”

When she is not dancing, she does ballet, tap, modern and street dance. She belongs to Blackburn Youth Theatre, where she has appeared in panto.

Although only 12, Rebecca is already looking up dance schools and colleges to move on to after she leaves school.

She said: “I want to be a professional dancer and, although there are a lot of good colleges, they are expensive.

“Hopefully, I can get on to a dance course with a scholarship.”