Shannen steps up to play her part in a royal celebration

Shannen Redmond danced for the Queen
Shannen Redmond danced for the Queen

When 18-year-old Shannen Redmond left Hemel Hempstead’s John F. Kennedy Catholic School she was described in the yearbook as the pupil ‘most likely to meet the Queen’.

And it hasn’t taken the Boxmoor dancer long to fulfil that prophecy – in fact, she’s taken it one step further and danced for Her Majesty at a star-studded Coronation Festival at Buckingham Palace.

Held in the gardens of the royal residence, the gala was staged to celebrate the cultural life of the nation during the Queen’s 60 years on the throne.

Shannen danced with One Youth Dance under the umbrella of East London Dance along with the Dhol Foundation, courtesy of WOMAD.

Welsh choir Only Boys Aloud, Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures, Katherine Jenkins, Russell Watson, Katie Melua, The Feeling and the National Youth Orchestra were also on the programme.

Shannen said the rehearsal schedule was intense but really good fun.

“Some days I had to leave home before 6am and was back at midnight but the experience was amazing,” she said.

Shannen has secured a place at prestigious Ballet West in Scotland on a three year course, where she will study classical ballet alongside jazz and tap dancing.

She attends Spotlight School of Dance where teacher Gopi Keilman has just got her through an advanced tap dancing exam in which she gained top marks with a distinction. She also took ballet classes at Central School of Ballet.

Shannen has already danced in professional pantomime alongside Cilla Black and with the National Youth Ballet at Sadlers Wells and the London Palladium.

She hopes to pursue a career as a professional dancer with a company such as New Adventures which combines ballet and contemporary dance.