A DANCE-MAD schoolgirl has won a place at the prestigious Royal Ballet School.

Ella Berry, from Limes Park, Basingstoke, was one of hundreds of girls who applied for a coveted place on the school’s Junior Associates Programme.

The nine-year-old Oakridge Junior School pupil will begin on the programme in September, taking classes on Saturdays in Eastleigh, and in two years’ time will start a more intensive programme in London.

Her dad Chris Berry said he and Ella’s mother, Nikki, are enormously proud of her achievements.

Chris, a graphic designer, said: “Dancing really is her life – she is always dancing. It’s constant classes, rehearsals and performances, and she absolutely loves it.

“Even when she’s just at home or we’ve gone for a day out, she’ll always be dancing. I don’t have many photos of her when she’s still.”

Ella, who attends The North Hampshire Academy of Dance, currently does tap, acro, modern dance as well as singing, but will be focusing more on her ballet when she begins her training with the Royal Ballet School.

Chris, 41, said that Ella is “hugely excited” about starting the programme in September.

He said: “She is very understated and she didn’t jump around when she found out she had got in, but she is really excited about starting.

“She has been dancing since she was three. I originally took her as there was a class just round the corner from where we lived. I couldn’t have guessed she would now be at the Royal Ballet School.

“She is determined to make a career in the industry. I don’t know if that will be ballet or singing or another type of dancing – it can be very tough to make it as a ballet dancer.

“We are extremely proud of her, not just because of her dancing but because she is such a lovely girl.”