Co-op Juniors' girl makes good

LEIGH Daniels is dancing to the beat of her own success after the Suffolk-born dancer made her West End debut in hit show Contact.From the age of ten Leigh became involved in theatre in Suffolk and this is where the seeds of her success were first sewn.

By Victoria Knowles

LEIGH Daniels is dancing to the beat of her own success after the Suffolk-born dancer made her West End debut in hit show Contact.

From the age of ten Leigh became involved in theatre in Suffolk and this is where the seeds of her success were first sewn.

Her very first show was in Pinnochio for the Co-op Juniors and she went on to perform in many more of their shows, including, Robin Hood and the Wizard of Oz.

Now at the age of 25 her dreams have finally come true and she is stepping out in her West End debut.

"This is the accumulation of all my dreams and I am having a wonderful time. Apart from West Side Story this is the best role I have ever had," said Leigh, who now lives in London.

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Contact, on at Queen's Theatre, Shaftsbury Avenue, is an original production described by The Guardian as, "not quite a musical, not quite a play and not quite a ballet".

It is the stylish, slick brainchild of Susan Stroman, one of the most successful choreographers in musical theatre.

It is a series of short pieces using dance and minimum words to tell the story.

Her proud mother Sandra Tyte went along to the premiere and said it was all her daughter had ever wanted to do.

"It was wonderful and the audience really loved it. I just felt so proud to see her dancing up there and I wanted to turn to the person next to me and say, "that's my daughter".

Leigh started dancing quite late and joined the Linda Shipton School of Dance in Ipswich where she learnt her technique. She also became a member of the Co-op Juniors and spent many happy years with them. She then went on to study at Laine Theatre Arts in Epsom, Surrey.

Pauline Walker, from the Co-op Juniors said they are delighted to see Leigh's career progressing so well.

"Leigh was a member with us for many years and we are very pleased to see her making such a success of her dancing career. Her sister Rachel was also a great asset and now we have the youngest member of the family, Elizabeth, following in her sister's footsteps," she said.

After leaving drama school, Leigh, who now lives in London, played many different roles including Thelma in a touring production of Westside Story.

"It was just wonderful to see her up there and her time learning her technique in Suffolk really stood her in good stead. It was here she made the decision that she wanted to become a dancer," added Mrs Tyte.

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