‘Passionate’ dancer leaps into her new life at Urdang

Marianna Macari Ferris
Marianna Macari Ferris

A ‘DETERMINED’ dancer has beaten thousands of applicants to gain a place at a prestigious performing arts school in London.

Marianna Macari-Ferris, 19, of Greenacres, Shoreham, was accepted into The Urdang Academy three weeks ago and began a three year musical theatre course.

Marianna began dancing at the age of three shortly after her mother, Gloria Ferris, adopted her from an orphanage in China.

Gloria said she remembers taking the long journey to Beijing and then catching another plane to the ‘middle of nowhere’ to the orphanage and flew back with Marianna on the same trip.

The former Blatchington Mill School pupil started her dance training at the Rox School of Dance in Hove moving onto the Arabesque School of Performing Arts in Chichester.

Marianna comes from a theatrical family with both her mother and brother appearing in the West End and her grandparents in the theatre in the 1930s.

Her brother, Dominic Ferris, who was a ‘great teacher for her’, is a pianist and conductor and currently works in musical theatre.

Gloria Ferris said: “She has had a good family grounding from a very theatrical family. She is loving the new chapter in her life. We were absolutely ecstatic she got in. You hope for the best but have to wait for the letter and it’s a chance in a million but we were thrilled.”

Marianna said she is passionate about Les Misérables and Blood Brothers and aspires to perform in the West End or go on tour when her course is finished. She said: “The competition was tough there were thousands of people. I was so shocked to get in, I was so scared at the auditions, it is the biggest thing I have ever done in my life and performing is one of my biggest focuses and determinations in life.”

“I’ve been at Urdang three weeks and I’m loving it. It’s amazing that I get to do something I love every day. The dance side of it is my favourite part as I am predominantly a dancer but I’m also enjoying learning new things and becoming a better performer.”

Marianna said she couldn’t have succeeded without her teachers and the true and honest opinions of her mother and brother when she was practising for auditions.