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A DANCE instructor says more boys in Scarborough are taking up ballet to become budding Billy Elliots.

Helen Held, principal of Yorkshire Coast School of Ballet, has taken on five new boys, who want to learn to dance, in the last few months.

Xavier Smith, five, and Silas Venus, five, started towards the end of the school’s last term, while Ellis Saunders, five, Andrew Bradley, eight, and Jake Marshall, eight, joined recently.

Ms Held said: “It is wonderful to have so many new boys in the classes and as we already have boys in each age group it is easier for the new ones to take their first step into the studio.

“The older boys, who have been dancing since they were little, have found that ballet helps them with athletics, football, rugby and basketball.

“There is so much in ballet that improves achievements in sport, their stamina is great, as is their tenacity. They jump high, move fast and learn to transfer their weight from one place to another, all skills that are needed for sport as well as ballet.”

They have just started rehearsals for the school’s Magic of Dance 2008 show, which runs from March 12 to 15 at the YMCA Theatre, and the boys will perform their class dances as well as a specially choreographed piece to Prokofiev’s Montagues and Capulets.

Ms Held added: “Boys who do ballet don’t wear tutus or pink, they have six-packs and lots of stamina.

“There seems to be a growing acceptance, certainly in Scarborough and Filey, and the more boys who venture into class the easier it will become.”

Ballet classes on the East Coast are attracting more boys than ever before. Dance school principal, Helen Held, says the number of lads taking up dancing has increased in the past year.

Helen Held took over the Yorkshire Coast School of Ballet two years ago. She says “I don’t know whether it’s ‘Billy Elliot’ that’s spurred it on, but I certainly know that the boys who do dance are getting stronger and stronger. They’re finding athletics and football and things like that at school a lot easier because their balance is good.”

Ten year old Jake Marshall is definitely a budding Billy Elliot. So much so that he has already auditioned for a part in the musical – and he’s been called back to attend another session in the summer. Jake is related to Ben Ellis, the local performer currently starring in ‘Hairspray’ in London’s West End, and aspires to follow in his footsteps. Of course, as in the production, there is always a chance that boys who dance face teasing from classmates and Jake says “Some people pick on me at school but, at the end of the day, I rise above it because I know I’ve got talent.”

Another of the Yorkshire Coast School of Ballet’s boys is Nick Deller, who has been dancing since he was five – and he’s only nine now. Nick took up ballet because his sister goes along. He used to watch her going through the steps and thought he would like to try it for himself. Nick says “I am looking forward to all the shows we do. This year it was ‘Alice in Wonderland’.”

Jonathan Loades’ younger brother and sister both attend the ballet school so he’s in good company. Jonathan, who’s nine, has also recently auditioned for a part in ‘Billy Elliot’. He says his inspiration comes from going to shows and watching people dance on TV. Although he also gets teased by a couple of people at school Jonathan says “I don’t really care”.

Helen Held’s son, 11 year old Sebastian, is one of the most experienced boys, as you might expect. His mum used to take him along to her dance classes from a very tender age. Seb remembers “When I was sitting on my baby mat I used to do the exercises with all the people and ever since I’ve been very intent on ballet  – although I’ve developed quite a lot since then!” Despite going to classes several times a week, Seb doesn’t necessarily want to make a career out of it. “I’m thinking of being an accountant, mainly for the money!” he says.

Matthew Loades is Jonathan’s dad and he’s delighted that three of his children enjoy taking ballet classes. Matthew thinks that the film and musical of ‘Billy Elliot’ have helped make it more acceptable for boys to dance. He’s also noticed that his sons’ agility and coordination have improved, along with their footballing prowess. He says “Jonathan may not be the most skilful  footballer in the world but he’s light on his feet and can jump over tackles. I’m sure the ballet has helped that.”

And for anyone who still thinks ballet is only for girls, Seb Held has an excellent riposte “Don’t forget – Superman always wore tights!”

 

 

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2 Comments

    • mark myers
    • Posted April 26, 2009 at 11:42 am
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    Hello would just like to say its great that you have more boys wanting to do ballet im from bridlington and my 11yr od son as just got into the royal ballet lower school, but there is not a lot of boys who want to do ballet around here so good luck and hope they all do well

    • Tommy Batchelor
    • Posted April 29, 2009 at 9:42 pm
    • Permalink

    I think it’s cool that you started ballet, Keep it up. You too can reach your dreams.

    Tommy AKA Billy Elliot


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