Aladdin dance star Katie Kedslie living her dream

Katie  Kedslie. Pic: Comp
Katie Kedslie. Pic: Comp
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CURRIE High pupil Katie Kedslie knew she had to get off the stage of the King’s Theatre as quickly as possible if she were to avoid the ultimate embarrassment.

A student dancer at the time, and mid-way through one of the Leven Street panto’s big dance numbers she had felt an ominous pop moments earlier.

Laughing, as she recall the moment, the 21-year-old who is currently making her professional debut in Aladdin at The King’s, recalls, “The ensemble were doing this big dance number and my under-skirt unclasped itself as I was dancing... I could feel it slipping down.

“I just thought, ‘Oh dear, I need to get to get off-stage quick’, so I ran off into the wings.”

Luckily, Maggie the costume lady, had spotted the wardrobe malfunction and was waiting to come to the rescue.

“Maggie got me buttoned back up and I ran back on and rejoined the routine as if nothing had happened.”

Luckily for Kedslie, her unexpected departure went unnoticed by King’s panto stars Andy Gray and Allan Stewart who, in the past have been known to highlight such occurrences by going off-script, much to audience delight and the performer’s unease.

“So far, they’ve not got to me yet, and I’m kind of keeping my fingers crossed that they don’t,” the dancer smiles hopefully.

Kedslie started dancing when she was just four years old.

“My mum took me to dance class and I just became more and more involved,” she recalls.

“As I started to do my Standard Grades and Highers at school, I realised that dancing was what I wanted to do.

“Currie High were great with me because, if I needed time off to do the panto or other dancing exams, they were always very supportive.”

Making her King’s panto debut in 2003, at the age of 10, Kedslie first appeared as what, in the panto world is known as a babe - the youngest dancers on stage.

It was a production of Jack And the Beanstalk that first introduced the Edinburgh Dance Academy pupil to her first public performance.

“I was just so excited to be going on stage in front of all these people that the excitement overtook the nerves. I just got up and did it,” she recalls. A year later, Kedslie was back in her first Aladdin.

“Every year, you had the choice of whether or not you wanted to re-audition for the King’s panto, and I had such fun that first time that I just wanted to do it again,” she explains.

Kedslie went on to dance as a babe in Mother Goose in 2005 and then, after a break of a couple of years, returned as one of four students, who worked alongside the professional dancers.

Seven pantos later, she admits there comes a time when they all start to merge into one. However, she has her favourites.

“Mother Goose [pictured left] when I was 13,” she says, adding, “Goldilocks and the Three Bears in 2007, which had a circus theme and was not at all like your average panto, and this one, just because I’m having so much fun.”

Kedslie left the Capital in 2011 to train at London’s Bird College, from where she graduated this July.

Delighted to be back she says, “The big difference I’ve noticed is that when you are a babe you only do half the shows because you still have to go to school. As a dancer you are much more involved with the cast and crew.

“You get to know everyone backstage, which gives you a better connection to the show.

“The fact that I already know the theatre - some of the stage crew guys are still the same - I felt comfortable immediately. It wasn’t new to me, although I do have a better dressing room this time,” she laughs, “much more space than when I was one of ten children crammed into one dressing room.”

Who knows, having studied dance and musical theatre, Kedslie could soon find herself moving further up the dressing room pecking order if her dream to play a principal were to come true. Snow White perhaps?

“To do the full round, from babe, to come back one day as a principal would be the dream,” she agrees, “That would be really good.”

Aladdin, King’s Theatre, Leven Street, various times, until 18 January 2015, £14-£30, 0131-529 6000