February 22. 2011
Three ballet dancing brothers from Liverpool feature in a new children’s BBC series.
Jamie, 14, and his brothers Michael, 11, and Adam, nine, have overcome taunts from bullies to train to become dancers.
Jamie is currently studying away from home at ballet school and his younger brothers are facing important auditions that could change their lives.
They star in the CBBC programme My Life, which looks at the lives of extraordinary children in the UK.
Jamie, the eldest of the brothers from the city’s Norris Green, is a boarder at the Elmhurst School for Dance in Birmingham.
He told BBC Radio Merseyside how his mother wanted him to take up a hobby to keep him out of trouble at school. “I was in and out of the headmaster’s office and my mum said ‘right, you’ve got to do something to get you out of trouble’.
“So I started doing kick boxing, but didn’t really like it. Then I did football but I got put in goal and got bored. Then I tried an after school dance club. It wasn’t just ballet I was going for, it was general dance, but I gave ballet a go and I just loved it and I’ve been going ever since.”
Jamie says learning ballet was not the easiest choice and he was mocked by other people his age. “When I first started I got quite a bit of stick. Lads going ‘ballet boy, ballet boy’ and it does get to you and upset you, but you’ve just got to get on with it.
“I know when I do the ballet I absolutely love it and so I forget about all the bullies. If they went to one ballet class they wouldn’t know what hit them because you have to be so strong.”
They began dancing after seeing his success. “They were waiting outside for me all the time and they just got bored and then started joining classes as well.”
“When I was doing the TV programme I thought if I get one boy that is dancing to go ‘hang on a minute, if he’s done that and got through all the bullying then I might give it a go’ I’d be really pleased with myself.”
Jamie is approaching the end of his first year at ballet school and says balancing dance sessions and normal school lessons has been tough. “The days are challenging. As soon as you walk into the building it’s overwhelming, with all the studios and everything.”I have dance lessons and academics from 8.30 to 6pm and then dancing again from 7.00 to 8.30pm.
“It is so much more than jumping around with your arms in the air. I love the thrill of the challenge. I love the energy you have to put into it.”
Watch the brothers on the CBBC programme CBBC My Life: The Ballet Boys
© 2011 BBC