A childhood dream has come true for a Knaresborough fitness instructor, who is dancing in Swan Lake as a part of a TV documentary.
Christine Longster, 52, gave up all dreams of being a ballerina decades ago, after being told she was ‘too short and the wrong build.’
She is now featuring in a Channel 4 documentary which follows a troupe of plus size amateurs realising their dreams of dancing Swan Lake.
Mrs Longster was one of only 18 people chosen from 500 to take part in the programme.
She said: “I was absolutely elated to get through. It is a lifelong dream. I could not believe it and it was a fantastic feeling. “
The dancers then trained with world-record holding British ballet dancer Wayne Sleep OBE and prima ballerina Monica Loughman at the Northern Ballet school in Leeds from June to October 2013.
Mrs Longster said: “I used to watch Wayne Sleep and then 30 years later I got to dance with him.
“Wayne is lovely and good fun, and Monica made us what we are. It was hard doing the training but my husband and son were really supportive.”
Mrs Longster has loved ballet since she was little and won a place at the Royal Ballet School as a child.
However, at 4’11’’, she was told she was ‘too short and the wrong build’ for ballet and she eventually returned home and severing all ties with ballet dancing. Now a trained fitness instructor, she has worked all over Leeds and the Harrogate district, including at The Academy in Harrogate for 19 years. Mrs Longster added: “I do not know how the world of ballet will receive this programme because ballet is a stereotyped thing. Wayne wanted to unlock the world of ballet for a wider audience.
“I know I struggled with being thin but it does not stop you having a passion. It is a really watchable programme and I think people will really like it.”
The Knaresborough mum is still getting used to the idea of fame. She said: “I picked up the Sunday paper last weekend, and there I was. Me in the Sunday newspaper, I would never have thought it.”
The series, Big Ballet, has caused controversy and choreographer Derek Deane said: “It is the iconic ballet, it’s the ballet everybody knows, but also physically it is one of the hardest.”
The series starts on Channel 4 on Thursday February 6 at 9pm.