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Lauren Cuthbertson is both the principal ballerina for the Royal Ballet and also the patron of the National Youth Ballet. She achieved her position with the Royal Ballet aged just 24 in 2008. Born in Devon, she decided to become a classical ballet dancer and took part in the Junior Associated Program of the Royal Ballet School. Eventually, in 2002, she joined the Royal Ballet and became a soloist the following year. She became first soloist in 2006 and finally reached her role as principal in 2008.

Having already had a successful career, Lauren is in her thirties and helps younger ballet dancers to do what she has done. Here are some of her tips to help you succeed as a ballerina.

Never look back

For Lauren, she first realised she wanted to be a ballerina when she read about Margot Fonteyn. She started going to ballet lessons to calm her down with a strict teacher and her love blossomed there. She never looked back and never doubted that she would succeed, become a professional ballerina.

Work extra hard

There’s no doubt that there is a lot of work involved with reaching the levels that Lauren has reached and this starts at a young age. At 11, Lauren realised that she had around 8 years work ahead of her until she had a chance of getting a job in a ballet company. This means she had to work extra hard to achieve her dreams, but she did and showed that others can too.

Use practice and imagery

Lauren is keen to emphasise that practice is all important but another tool that she used was the art of imagery. She envisioned the finished product in her head then worked towards it in practice. Sometimes her mother would think she was simply watching the TV – but she was working through a piece in her mind!

Don’t over obsess with body shape

There’s no doubt that body shape plays a part as a ballerina and for some, this will come naturally. But as a child, your body changes and grows so it is important not to obsess over body shape too early. Working in the studio, activities such as swimming and then yoga have helped Lauren maintain her shape.

Learn to take criticism

Criticism is a part of developing your skills, so it is important to learn to take it from a young age and use it to fire you up to do better. Sometimes it can be strict or seem harsh but even then, there are things to learn.

Understand success means sacrifice

If you want to be a top ballerina, you are going to have to make sacrifices. Sometimes this might make you at odds with your friends or make you seem different from others. But by understanding what your goal is and working towards it, you know those sacrifices are for a reason.

Don’t be afraid to fail

The final tip from Lauren is never to be afraid to fail – it is a natural part of the learning process. You can fixate on the things that didn’t go well or competitions that you didn’t win. Or you can learn from them, get better and win the next one!

Find out more about Lauren and her ballerina tips here: