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Fijian girl in London ballet production

Torika Tokalau
Sunday, December 15, 2013

A YOUNG girl with a Fijian connection will be part of a ballet production of British actress Emma Thomson's popular film Nanny McPhee.

Her dance moves would not make one believe that she was born eight weeks premature and was sickly when a toddler.

Joeley, 10, is no longer the frail and tiny figure she once was but is instead quite enthusiastic and bubbly with a lot of passion for ballet.

Her Fijian connection is through her father Jimmy Gibson who was born and raised in Lami Village and has ties to Rotuma.

She is one of 62 children between the ages of nine and 15 years who will be part of the ballet production secured by the London Children's Ballet (LCB) Company.

"Joeley spent the first month of her life in the Neo-Natal Unit of St George's Hospital, London after being born eight weeks premature," her mum Michelle said.

"She started dancing at the age of three in order to help her asthma, stamina and balance."

Joeley has been a part of an LCB production twice already and this latest production of Nanny McPhee will see her play one of the children of Mr Brown — the main male character which was played by Colin Firth in the movie.

"Joeley secured a place to perform with London Children's Ballet in their 20th anniversary production. There are 62 children in the show and each dancer has three auditions to secure a place. There were over 600 applicants each year.

"She will start rehearsals for the show every Sunday from January through to April next year, when the show opens at The Peacock Theatre in London."

Mrs Gibson said she could not be more proud of her little girl and excitement was brewing in her home as they look forward to what will be one of London's biggest children's ballet productions of 2014.

LCB, which was founded in 1994, is a performance company for talented young dancers. Past LCB members include Henry Perkins, the first Briton to graduate from Russia's Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow and Anna Rose O'Sullivan named as Young British Dancer of the Year 2011.