A talented young dancer is heading to Switzerland next month to compete in an event that could change her life.
Natasha Watson is the only girl in the UK to be selected for the prestigious Prix de Lausanne.
The international competition is for young dancers hoping to pursue a professional career in classical ballet.
Many former winners, including Darcey Bussell and Carlos Acosta, have gone on to be leading stars with major ballet companies around the world.
A former pupil of St Mungo’s High School, Natasha (18) is a BA student at Ballet West in Taynuilt, near Oban.
She is one of only 39 girls from across the globe to be selected to compete.
Natasha, of Newcarron, said; “It is a tremendous honour to be selected and I am so grateful to my outstanding teachers at Ballet West for their enormous help and encouragement. They have been an inspiration to me.”
Gillian Barton, Ballet West principal, praised her pupil, saying: “Her achievements have been remarkable. It shows her passion and determination to succeed at something she really loves. She works really hard and that was highlighted by her success winning the bronze medal in the 2013 Genée International Ballet competition in Glasgow.”
As a result of that success, Natasha was invited by Scottish Ballet to appear in their production of ‘Hansel and Gretel’ where she danced the role of a cupcake.
On her return from Switzerland, she will be dancing in Ballet West’s Valentine’s night performance of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ at the Clyde Auditorium in Glasgow.
As well as being an aspiring ballerina, Natasha is a talented actress.
She played Zoe in the CBBC series ‘M.I. High’ then starred alongside David Tennant in the BBC series ‘Single Father’ and was named Best New Scottish Actress at the Scottish Variety Awards.
Natasha made her screen debut playing twins in the short film ‘Iota’, becoming the youngest nominee for a Bafta Scotland Award in 2004.
However, she decided to concentrate on her ballet training, and is in her final year of a BA (Hons) degree course. Her training is supported by the Dewar Arts Award, which helps fund the brightest and best of Scotland’s young artistic talent.
The Prix de Lausanne was founded in 1973 by the Swiss industrialist Philippe Braunschweig and his wife Elvire.
It aims to help young prizewinners embark on a professional career by giving them chance to spend a year improving their skills at one of the Prix’s partnering schools or benefit from a year’s apprentice scholarship with an international dance company.