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Sanderstead dancer wins West End role in Billy Elliot

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REBECCA White may have been practicing her dance moves for years, but it was her way with words that landed her a part in the West End on Friday. The aspiring performer won a walk-on role in Billy Elliot the Musical, after answering a question posed to the fictional star: "What does it feel like when you are dancing?" The 18-year-old performed in two group scenes in the hit show by Lee Hall and Elton John, which sees a boy from a mining family fight to become a dancer, amid the pit strikes. Former Reigate College student Rebecca beat more then 1,300 entrants to the part and was still "buzzing" on Monday. She said: "I have yet to have a good night's sleep from it. "It was so overwhelming - when I came off stage after the first sequence I had tears running down my face. "For me it is such a dream because that is what I want to go into." Rebecca danced and sang during the opening sequence and during the miners' song Merry Christmas Maggie Thatcher. The Sanderstead resident was also introduced to the audience at the end of the sell-out show at London's Victoria Palace. She said: "When I was performing I could blank out the audience and concentrate on performing. "But when I did the bow that is when I was looking around the auditorium and it really hit me - Oh My God everyone is staring at me. "I like performing but I don't actually like all the attention being on me." The lucky performing arts graduate also got to hang out backstage with cast and crew including Ali Rasul, 12, playing the lead role of Billy Elliot. Rebecca said: "He is just loving life; he is so young and so talented -and he was not scared at all . "It was so nice to talk to everyone back stage - they kind of felt like family. They were lovely and they were just looking after me and asking me how I felt." Rebecca, who entered the contest on Facebook, had two rehearsals before taking to the stage in costume and wig for her one-off role. She said: "It was nice to be on stage as someone else. "The lady was like, "What can you be called?' - and I think we went with Barbara." Rebecca says the show has fuelled her ambition to work in musical theatre - and she will be watching the film of the show. She said: "I know I am going to watch it and be thinking, "Why did I do that? I am so critical of myself." Her winning answer to the question was: "It makes me explore my artistic side and emotions through movement - it makes me feel happy and alive and it makes me feel more passionate about the career I want to do."

Sanderstead dancer wins West End role in Billy Elliot


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