Celebrity choreographer Arlene Phillips gave Uckfield dancer Gabriella Antrobus her first professional role after auditioning her for a place in Monty Python Live (mostly) at the O2 arena.
The choreographer, who created the hugely popular dance group Hot Gossip and more recently became a household name as a judge on Strictly Come Dancing.
The icing on the cake for Gabriella, aged 20 from Piltdown, was the fact that the show was broadcast live around the world and also at the cinema in her home town, the Uckfield Picture House.
In the audience on Sunday night and savouring every moment was Deborah Lamb of Debs Dancers who has watched Gabriella’s progress as a dancer from the age of seven.
She did all her training with Debs Dancers, including Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD) Tap and Modern from Grade 1 to advanced, Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) ballet up to Intermediate and all medals Bronze, Silver and Gold in Jazz and Tap.
Gabriella, who attended St Philip’s Catholic Primary School, Uckfield, and St Paul’s College in Burgess Hill, qualified as a finalist in each section, junior, intermediate and senior of the ISTD Janet Cram Modern Dance Awards and won numerous festivals with her modern solos.
She also attained her Diploma in Dance Instruction in Modern and Tap with Debs Dancers, an approved ISTD Dance centre.
Gabriella auditioned successfully for London Studio Centre and attained a 2:1 dance degree.
Deborah said: “It was a fabulous achievement to audition for Arlene Philips.
“I am extremely proud of what Gabby has achieved with sheer motivation and dedication to fulfil her dream of performing professionally. To get such exposure, and her first professional job with Arlene Phillips, is going to be hard to top.
“I had a wonderful moment of immense pride in the cinema as the credits rolled and her name appeared on the big screen.”
The performance was also captured on DVD for future generations.
Gabriella is now auditioning for West End and touring musicals.
Deborah summed up: “Gabby has a special sparkle, she is a testimony to hard work and is a fabulous dancer/singer. She is a wonderful role model to the rest of Debs Dancers to be the best you can be.”