Isle ballet star Emily Joy carves out top career

Ballet dancer Emily-Joy Smith, 22. Picture: Steve Omar
Ballet dancer Emily-Joy Smith, 22. Picture: Steve Omar

An international ballet star has returned to her roots by performing for friends and family in the area.

Emily Joy Smith has swapped the Isle for Austria to take up a place at the Vienna Festival Ballet.

And it was a home-coming weekend to remember for the 22-year-old who returned to the area with her company as she performed a solo in her role as the Lilac Fairy in a production of Sleeping Beauty in Grimsby, York and Retford.

Among the proud friends and relatives in the audience was Emily Joy’s mum Joy.

“One thing I love about working with the Vienna Festival Ballet is the inspiration I get from the others who I work with on day-to-day basis, “ Emily Joy said.

“And I love the fact that I get to perform in areas so close to home. Performing in Grimsby, York and Retford just knowing it’s in areas where I have grown up makes me realise how much I love my job.

“I love being able to perform to friends and family – even if it means having a very proud mum crying in the audience.”

Emily Joy’s route to the Vienna Festival Ballet began at the Joyce Mason School of Dancing in Ashby, when she was just four.

While training, Emily Joy was also an associate with the Northern Ballet Theatre in Leeds and performed in a variety of different roles for the Scunthorpe Operatic Society.

The talented dancer was also awarded bursaries by the Scunthorpe Dance Festival, the Miners’ Festival in Doncaster and the Grimsby’s East Coast Festival.

Emily Joy was able to combine studying for exams while pursuing her dancing after she left Epworth’s then South Axholme Community School.

When she was 21, she worked with the Sarasota Ballet in Florida before successfully auditioning for the Vienna Festival Ballet.

Emily Joy said: “I come from a non-dancing family – my dad is a beetroot farmer and my mum was a secretary – but when I went to the dance school I just loved it.

“I began my classical training in Scunthorpe and I would not be where I am today had it not been for the amazing teaching and experience I received there.”

Joy added: “She is so graceful and the people she dances with are so lovely, I get to as many performances as I can.”