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On Friday 12 April, we made the second of five wishes come true as part of our 50th anniversary celebrations.

Jemma McRae, owner and dance teacher at Academy Street Dance Studio in Aberdeen wished for Scottish Ballet to visit and dance in her studio, as a way of saying thank you to her students for their support during her treatment for breast cancer.

In January, we surprised Jemma and her students, revealing that her wish had been chosen. Shortly after, Jemma very sadly passed away but we remained committed to making her wish come true and to creating a special public performance in her memory.

Following a day of workshops with Scottish Ballet, we welcomed 85 dancers from Academy Street Dance Studio to watch the Spring! dress rehearsal at His Majesty’s Theatre in Aberdeen. On Friday, together we performed a 5 minute excerpt from Elite Syncopations by Sir Kenneth MacMillan, to an audience of 600 friends and family at Aberdeen’s Beach Ballroom.

Performing with Scottish Ballet Principals Andrew Peasgood, Bethany Kingsley-Garner, Christopher Harrison and Constance Devernay, and Soloists Araminta Wraith, Jamiel Laurence and Thomas Edwards, the colourful performance paid tribute to Jemma and celebrated the human impact that dance can have on a community.

‘Jemma wanted to give every pupil and every parent something spectacular to look forward to as a thank you for their continued support over the years. Jemma’s little girl Izzy and the pupils at Academy Street Dance Studio – known as Jemma’s extended family – have gained so much from this experience and are extremely privileged to dance with a wonderful company like Scottish Ballet.’

Gillian Stuart and Joanne Milne, Jemma’s friends and colleagues at Academy Street Dance Studio

‘It was a special moment to surprise Jemma and her dance students in January and to return to work with her talented dancers this week. We had a short rehearsal period, but their performance was brilliant, and they should be incredibly proud.’

Christopher Harrison, Principal dancer and champion of the second wish

Over 400 wishes were submitted to our Five Wishes campaign, with over 100,000 votes cast by the general public. The top 50 were presented to a celebrity judging panel which includes Dame Darcey BussellSusan CalmanFred MacAulayJanice ForsythChristopher Hampson and Principal Dancer Christopher Harrison.

Special thanks to CRD Recordings for providing the music for this performance.