A young ballerina is celebrating after becoming one of the first English girl to be accepted for a full diploma at the Bolshoi.
Natalie Carter, 17, found out last week that she had passed her first-year traineeship at the prestigious Russian ballet academy. The dancer, from Watford, Hertfordshire, said she was "shocked" to learn she had been granted a three-year place. She will continue her training in September.
Natalie was one of two Britons to to take up places at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow last summer. She joined Daniel Dolan, from Widnes, Cheshire, who became only the third British boy to study at the school in its 233-year history.
Miss Carter had not come from a specialist dancing school, so she was placed on a preliminary course to help improve her technique. Despite suffering stomach, foot and hip injuries during the year, she was one of the top five in her class.
She will become only one of two British girls to train for a full diploma at the Bolshoi, along with Hayley Stobo, 15, from Glasgow. She said: "After the year of injuries, I had many doubts, but to have achieved something I fought so hard for is both fulfilling and relieving."