A BALLET dancer from Chapelford was en pointe as she clinched a gold medal at a world championship.

Jenny Hackwell, of Liberty Drive, has been crowned the winner of the Cecchetti International Classical Ballet Competition after competing against the world's elite at the finals in Richmond, Virginia.

The 18-year-old KS Dance pupil wowed the judges with her performances over a range of performances demonstrating her classical and contemporary skills.

Jenny becomes the first person from the UK to win the internationally renowned competition and was a unanimous pick for the judging panel made up of American and Canadian ballet stalwarts.

Jenny started training at the dance school, based at Centre 21, on Bridge Lane, Woolston, when she was just four-years-old and is now a full time student of the upper school about to start her third year.

She said: "It's like an addiction in a way, especially if you do get rewarded at the end.

"There's nothing like that feeling of being on the stage performing.

"I was more nervous for the classical solo because I wasn't expecting to get through to the final. I was just happy with getting to the final and wanted to enjoy the performance."

Jenny competed against 40 other budding ballet stars from around the world and was one of only five students from the UK selected to compete after impressing UK judges including David Bintley, director of Birmingham Royal Ballet and former director of the Royal Ballet Dame Monica Mason.

And once she was selected Jenny worked up to ix days a week perfecting her medal winning performances.

"We started coaching the solos at the end of March time and that meant just as much training as we could," she added.

Founder and director of KS Dance Kate Simmons said: "Jenny is extremely hard working and talented and is a wonderful example of 'British training' - she is now ready to join a ballet company so that a wider audience can enjoy her unique talent and qualities."

Now Jenny is preparing to make the move to look to achieve her dream of playing Kitri in Don Quixote.

"Hopefully I want to be in a top ballet company in this country," added Jenny.