A STOCKSFIELD ballet dancer is flying high after being offered a place at one of the world’s most prestigious ballet schools.

Seventeen-year-old Rachel Armstrong was over the moon to find out she had been selected to start training with the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow in September.

Starting on September 1, Rachel will complete a one-year traineeship and, if she passes her exams, she will go on to complete another three years of training before she can graduate.

She will be training full-time with classes also in gymnastics, acting and make-up, and she will be expected to learn Russian while she is there – which she has already begun to learn in order to get a head start.

“I couldn’t quite believe it when I found out I had been accepted – it was like a dream,” said Rachel, who began ballet classes when she was six.

“It’s quite daunting thinking about going out there but it’s really exciting that I will be doing something new and I feel ready for full-time training.”

Hilda Affleck, who has taught Rachel through her school of dancing, Affleck Academy of Ballet, for around six years, said that Rachel would be only the seventh dancer from the UK to make it into the school since it was founded in 1773.

After Miss Affleck encouraged Rachel to apply, they put together an audition DVD which included barre, centre and pointe work.

Miss Affleck, who in the past has sent another of her students off to train with the Bolshoi Ballet Academy, said: “I am very proud. She’s a very hard-working girl and since she came to me she’s a completely evolved individual. She has so much potential. As well as physical strength, her strength of character tells me that she has a chance of surviving such difficult training.”