POPPI Eccleston's ballet career is forging ahead in leaps and bounds.
The 14-year-old from Peregian Springs will soon be gracing the stage as a lead dancer in the Ballet Theatre of Queensland's production of The Little Mermaid.
Poppi is one in a cast of 57 young dancers from across Queensland selected to perform the haunting Hans Christen Anderson fairy tale at QPAC from January 17.
While it's her third time performing for the Ballet Theatre of Queensland, Poppi said she's excited to be chosen for a lead role this time.
"This is my third BTQ production,” Poppi said.
"I successfully got through the auditions this year, and this year I'm a senior (dancer).
"I'm the Moldavian Princess - that's one of the lead roles.
"I do pas de deux (ballet dance with a partner), so it's a whole big dance with a prince, there's a lot of lifts.
"It's all very well put together.”
Poppi said she has been dancing and performing for almost half her life.
"I love performing,” she said.
"I started when I was seven, I started with jazz and musical theatre. My long legs didn't really suit the jazz dancing I was doing.
"So since then I focussed on ballet. I love ballet.”
Poppi said she's hoping to pursue a career in ballet dancing, with dreams of working for a European company.
"I definitely would (pursue a career) with an overseas company, in Germany or Denmark,” Poppi said.
"I have family over there, and I saw the nutcracker when I went to Denmark, that was four or five years ago.
"Since then I knew I really wanted to do ballet overseas.”
For now, Poppi is focussed on perfecting her form for The Little Mermaid, before the big performances next week.
"We do intensive training until the performance in a week, and then the show will go for a week,” Poppi said.
"I'm moving to the Gold Coast next week but I'll be coming back to the Sunshine Coast to see my family.”
This year will be the 81st year the Ballet Theatre of Queensland has supported youth arts, with The Little Mermaid showcasing the talents of dancers aged 10 to 19 years from twenty-eight dance schools across south east Queensland, as far afield as Bundaberg and Runaway Bay.
Artist director Timothy Brown said the dancers all show a dedication to the art of ballet beyond their years.
"It has been a joy and a privilege to be working with these talented young dancers,” he said.
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