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March, 2014

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Title:A step forward for Jessica
Author:Doncaster College 
ID & Publication:20140311040 ~ 
 Doncaster College (6kb)

Former University Centre Doncaster Dance Student Jessica Bell has just had a starring role in a TV Ballet Documentary.

Out of hundreds of applicants, Jessica, 26, and from Wath, auditioned for and won a role in Channel Four’s Big Ballet, which featured, plus sized dancers as they attempted to realise their dream of dancing Swan Lake.

Jessica, who graduated from the BA (Hons) Dance Practice programme at the University Centre last November, along with the rest of the chosen dance troop were put thorough their passes by Dance legend Wayne sleep and Prima Ballerina Monica Loughman

The idea was to break one of the biggest taboos in Ballet: size and the programme followed them over five months as they prepared to do what many experts had deemed impossible and perform a classic ballet to a very high standard in front of a invited audience.

Jessica landed the key role of the evil black swan and went on to perform successfully in the production in front of family, friends, critics and the ballet establishment at Bradford Town Hall.

Jessica hopes that Big Ballet will help alter people’s perceptions and show that size is no barrier to good dancing.

Janine Macmillan, Programme Leader the BA (Hons) Dance Practice programme at the University Centre, and Jessica’s lecturer said,

‘Staff at University Centre Doncaster are really proud of Jessica for ‘getting out there’ and auditioning so soon after graduating. We have always known Jess to be a very hardworking and dedicated student so it’s great that she won a place on the show and did so well. We are in full support of the big ballet project and it’s brilliant to see dancers of all sizes, and ages, getting recognition for something that they do so well! Hopefully, shows like this will continue so that audiences can celebrate the skills of these individuals, regardless of their shape.’

Jessica said, ‘Throughout my time at University Centre Doncaster, Janine taught me a lot of new things about dance, as I had never done contemporary dance before. The tutors at the college were very supportive.

Jessica is starting her own dance academy and it will be open to all, regardless of shape, size, age and ability and believes she had a good grounding for starting her business at College.
‘The course was very valuable to me as I learnt exactly where to start in starting my own business within the dance sector and where to find funding etc, and I am currently starting my own dance school, focusing on inclusive dance. The Black Swan Performance Academy is for all ages and I have classes in Wath, Castleford, and Barnsley.’

Jessica can be contacted at

Doncaster College and University Centre run a host of performing arts-based courses from its Hub and High Melton sites. Further details can be obtained by calling 0800 358 7575 or visiting

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Jessica in the centre in a Doncaster College production  (83kb)2..Jess in a College production. (30kb) 
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Author: 'Doncaster College'   Area: 'Doncaster'
Title: 'A step forward for Jessica'   Category 'Education'
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