Ballet has been a popular pastime in south Essex for a number of decades.

South Essex boasts a number of dance schools which specialise in ballet, but their classes were put on hold during the coronavirus pandemic due to restrictions put in place by the government.

Ballet is not just the epitome of elegance, it can have multiple health benefits too.

This has inspired us to dig out some nostalgic ballet photos that have appeared in the Echo through the decades.

Among them are a host of up-and-coming ballerinas showing off their skills, while Thorpe Bay High School had a special guest in 1992.

Andrei Burov, of the Bolshoi Ballet, paid the south Essex school a visit and passed on some tips to talented pupils during their classes.