Dance student overcomes multiple tumours to pursue her dream
Published: 17th November 2020
A local student is a shining example of how to overcome challenges and reach for the stars.
Level 3 Extended Dance Diploma student at Cornwall College St Austell, Ellie Southwick, had a challenging time growing up. Whilst at primary school she was diagnosed with two tumours in her neck.
Ellie endured thirteen months of chemotherapy along with a high dosage of steroids to remove them and had regular MRI’s, CT scans, x-rays and checks ups until she was discharged in March last year at age 16.
“It has definitely been a challenging few years and I am so pleased now to be well again,” Ellie explained.
Ellie’s love of dance was something she tried to maintain throughout her treatment as much as she could.
Last year prior to starting college she was given the all clear by the neuro surgeon to participate fully in all dance movement as the last scans had shown the bones to be almost fully repaired and healed.
“I am really passionate about having a career in dance, I hope to go to dance school next year and when I’m older I want to be a performer,” Ellie continued.
“I attend all the College open events as a student ambassador to help inspire future students, it really is a fantastic course and I love that we do such a variety of dance styles. The lecturers at college are so supportive, it is a lovely learning environment.”
Curriculum Area Manager for the Creative & Digital Academy at Cornwall College St Austell, Jessica Leonard, said Ellie is “such a committed and engaged student”.
“She attends every single day with a quiet yet fierce determination to succeed and succeed she will,” Jessica continued.
“She’s a vibrant ambassador for the course and enjoys the challenging pace of the sessions. We are really proud of her journey so far and look forward to seeing her continued growth in the vast range of projects, workshops and performances she has yet to experience.”
Training is challenging and most days are spent in full physical activity from technique sessions in Classical Ballet, Contemporary styles, Jazz and Commercial through to rehearsals and choreographic workshops.
“Our students develop the skillset to become multi=faceted Dance Artists able in performance, teaching and choreography,” Jessica added.