The Countess of Wessex set to open new ballet studios named in her honour

The royal is known for her love of dance

The Earl and Countess of Wessex have enjoyed some time off from their royal duties, spending the February half-term skiing in St Moritz with their children Lady Louise Windsor and James, Viscount Severn. It's back to business next week and Sophie has a particularly exciting engagement to look forward to.

On Thursday 27 February, the mum-of-two will open the Central School of Ballet's new studios, named in her honour, on the South Bank in Southwark. The Countess of Wessex studios in Paris Gardens will feature seven studios, a fully equipped studio theatre, study and resource centres, as well as a state-of-the-art health suite.

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Sophie with the Central School of Ballet in 2004

The Central School of Ballet unveiled plans to move to the new premises in 2017. The Countess said at the time: "This is a momentous time in Central's history. Their planned move to Paris Gardens will allow a greater engagement with young people who don’t currently get access to dance classes, building on their activities with junior schools in Southwark. This organisation was founded on the principle that talented young dancers should get the opportunity to pursue dance as a career independent of financial circumstances or background. The new premises will allow the school to work with local communities to ensure this founding principle is followed."

Sophie became patron of the Central School of Ballet in 2003 and is renowned for her love of dance. She and daughter Lady Louise were spotted in the audience for Strictly Come Dancing in 2018 and Sophie even showcased her skills at Blackpool’s iconic Tower Ballroom last year!

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It was a special anniversary for two of Blackpool’s iconic attractions this week. 💃🕺 The Countess of Wessex visited both The Grand Theatre and Blackpool Tower, to celebrate their 125th anniversaries! At the Grand Theatre, The Countess watched performances by local children, and learnt about the restoration of the historic landmarks. Later on, The Countess put on her dancing shoes! HRH was invited to dance the waltz alongside local performers at Blackpool’s iconic Tower Ballroom. Her Royal Highness made a visit to the Tower Eye, and unveiled a plaque marking the building’s historic anniversary. Finally, The Countess visited local charity, N-Vision which creates talking news for visually impaired listeners. Her Royal Highness recorded a short extract of news and spoke to listeners.

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Last week, the royal held a reception for 100 Women in Finance, travelled to Germany in conjunction with her work with Women, Peace and Security and visited the Shooting Star Children's Hospices in Hampton. It was a heart-lifting engagement for the Countess, as she helped children at the hospice decorate Valentine's Day biscuits and read them a story That's Not My Princess.

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