Ballet dancer

Leeds mum’s plea for help to fulfill her daughter’s ballet dancing dreams

A Leeds mum is crowdfunding to raise £30,000 so her daughter can fulfill her dream of becoming a ballet dancer.

Constance Bailey, 13, from Seacroft, has been dancing since she was ‘in nappies’, and her flair for ballet has earned her a place at one of the country’s most prestigious performing arts schools, the Hammond School, Cheshire.

But the elite school’s tuition is too high for her mother, Laura Bailey, 45, to afford – so, as a ‘long shot’, she set up a GoFundMe page in the hopes that the kindness of strangers will help make Constance’s dreams a reality.

Talk to Leeds live, Laura, who works as a PA for the NHS, said: “It would be life changing for Constance. She has the talent but not the money.

“Unfortunately I’m not rich, on a low income and the cost of tuition, boarding, insurance, uniforms and everything else comes to over £30,000 a year.

“It’s just impossible for me to afford. I live in a council house and now have to pay three dance lessons a week for Constance.

“I know it’s long because I know people are very broke right now. But even sharing the call would help.

“This is a real chance to change my child’s life.”

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Laura also thinks sending Constance, who has autism, to school would help her thrive.

She said: “It would be life changing for Constance.

“She has autism but is incredibly creative – besides ballet she loves to write poetry and plays. But she doesn’t fit into ‘regular school’ and she needs education and professional training.

“I have no qualms with the school she is currently at, but she wants to be around other kids who have the same passions, goals and dreams.”

Constance began her dancing career at the age of two when she joined the Janina School of Dance in Crossgates.

“It became apparent pretty quickly that she was very good at dancing,” Laura said.

She then joined the Yorkshire Ballet Academy, where at age 11 she learned pointe – the ballet technique where dancers support their full body weight on the tips of their fully extended feet in pointe shoes.

Since then, Constance has won many dance competitions and won many gold medals.

She also started her own YouTube channel, Constance Crazy Bailey.

“When she got her spikes, she couldn’t take them off,” Laura said.

“So his YouTube channel is Constance performing little ballet snippets in all sorts of places.

“I can’t believe how popular this is – one of his videos has had 20,000 views.”

Then, when she turned 12, she auditioned for The Hammond School, and earlier this year received the brilliant news that she had been offered a place.

“It’s an incredible achievement in itself to even be offered a place,” Laura said.

But getting accepted comes at a high cost.

Laura is currently looking into any grants or scholarships she may be eligible for that could help pay for Constance’s costs – but she still doesn’t know if she will qualify.

“I’m doing everything I can to secure the money,” she said. “I email charities and tell people about grants, discounts and scholarships, but it’s hard to get them and it’s not guaranteed.

“For now, I’m trying to raise funds as much as possible. It’s a lot to ask, but you never know.

Laura thinks this would be the opportunity of a lifetime for Constance – and help her continue to build her confidence.

“Being on stage and performing has helped Constance gain confidence,” Laura said.

“When she was younger she was so shy, but through dancing she developed her confidence.

“It would be life changing to do something that satisfies her and pays the bills.

“She would love to be a ballet dancer and author – I just hope I can make her dreams come true.”

To donate, visit the “Help Constance Go to Ballet School” fundraising page on GoFundMe.