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Kent and Sussex Courier
June 20, 2009
 Oliver Cooper, Elmhurst School of Dance, 2009

HEATHFIELD’S answer to Billy Elliott is kicking his heels in anticipation of studying under one of England’s finest dance teachers. Oliver Cooper, 12, of The Oaks, has been dancing since he was a toddler and it was at a Hailsham Easter dance programme he caught the eye of teacher Mary Goodhew.


The former Royal Ballet dancer, artistic director at Elmhurst School for Dance in Birmingham and current artistic director at St Bede’s School, was instantly impressed and offered him a place at the school in September.


“Looking at it with a hyper-critical eye for what the future might hold for this boy, he has a tremendous amount of raw talent and had some excellent schooling behind him. He was very disciplined, very positive and a real gentlemen,” she said.


“We had some very talented and knowledgeable people at the Easter course. Everybody commented about how talented Oliver was.”


Oliver’s mother Karen was delighted with the offer of a place and a scholarship, which comes at the same time he has been accepted into the National Youth Ballet.


Ringmer Community College pupil Oliver, who trains for 10 hours a week with Dance Consortium in Pembury and London Senior Ballet, completed a rigorous audition process for accolade.


Signed up for the coming season, Oliver will travel to Tring in Hertfordshire for 10 days in August to train before performing at the Assembly Hall in Tunbridge Wells and at Saddler’s Wells in August and September. He was also recently voted most promising ballet dancer at the Tonbridge Festival and performed in the All England finals.


“For me the interest that has been taken in him for the last few months is incredible,” said Mrs Cooper. “The pair of us are really overwhelmed, but he is so passionate about his dancing.”



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