A CHIRK group returned to the stage shortly before the festive break.

The Ballet Pod gave a pre-Christmas pandemic comeback variety performance at Chirk Parish Hall.

Since its debut in 2007, under artistic director Richard Slaughter, the company has given at least one annual performance, even in the Covid-19 crisis.

The Ballet Pod's talent trio is Clare, Michael and Ann Wall, who are all now professional freelance performers.

Clare (aka Esme Sallnow) sings and acts at various events across the UK and has already written and directed two plays, while Michael recently completed an MA with Distinction in Dance from Chester University and is currently engaged on creative projects with Shropshire Inclusive Dance.

Ann trained at the English National Ballet School and now works as a freelance dancer and teacher in London, most recently working as a professional dancer with English Youth Ballet.

A spokesperson on behalf of The Ballet Pod explained that the performance was dedicated to the memory of Trudy Ellis and the much-loved and very much missed Marlene Jones, who was a staunch supporter of the Ballet Pod since the beginning.

They added: "The varied programme included classic pieces from Swan Lake and The Nutcracker, as well as Baroque dancing, Indian Kathak dancing and a jazzy number to Louis Armstrong. Vintage songs added to the festive atmosphere throughput.

Audience member Antje Kell said: "Wow, what an evening! West End quality of dancing and singing have come to Chirk!"

Meanwhile, Marlene's cousin, Margaret Parry, added: "We have recently been in London to see The Nutcracker at the Royal Opera House. This performance by The Ballet Pod is certainly equal to anything there.

"For the combination of talent and hard work no praise is too great.

"We are privileged to have this standard of ballet and singing on our doorstep and to have the opportunity to share it."

Heading in to 2022 The Ballet Pod is preparing for future performances, plus children's workshops.

For more visit their website.