27 Feb Teenage Ballet Hopeful Sells Life-size Bronze Sculpture to Pay for Lessons
The life-size bronze sculptures of Florence Barker, 13, was made free of charge by family friend Brian Alabaster so it could be sold to pay for her to attend the Royal Ballet School.
Locals held an auction of promises last year to raise her first year’s fees at the exclusive boarding school in Richmond Park, Surrey.
Florence is showing such promise as a gifted young ballerina that she has been offered another two years tuition at the junior school which turns out Britain’s top dancers.
Mr Alabaster, 55, a professional bronze sculptor for 18 years, stepped in to say he would make the sculpture of her to pay her fees and other costs for the next two years.
Florence posed for more than 100 hours so he could make a lifelike clay model of her standing with her heels raised and arms outstretched in a ballet pose.
All the proceeds will pay for Florence’s fees with the extra being used for her additional costs like ballet shoes which cost $85.00 a pair and have to be replaced every two weeks. Mr. Alabaster, plans to make another two of the statues to keep one for himself and sell the other to help him recoup his costs. He said he had wanted to help Florence as he had made two statues of her when she was five-years-old and sold several copies of them all over Europe.
Florence started ballet classes at the age of three because she did not enjoy playing games.
Mrs. Barker said, “I can’t overstate how generous he has been. It is fantastic if anyone offers their time, money and effort to help someone who is not their child – but what he has done is a hugely magnanimous gesture. It is rather humbling”.
Florence added, “Attending the Royal Ballet School has always been an issue for me because it is so much money.”