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By Mhairi Macfarlane
This is Local London
March 12,  2010

 

LEYTONSTONE’S very own Billy Elliot is living the dream after being chosen to attend one of the world’s greatest ballet schools. Ten-year-old Wesley Branch, of Peach Grove, has been selected as a junior associate at The Royal Ballet School – after studying ballet for just two months.

The St Joseph’s Catholic Junior School pupil had been learning street dance for two years when he joined a ballet class at the Leyton-based youth organisation, Kreative Culture Klub (KCK). Wesley said: “I wanted to help with my street dance and started ballet here – I loved it straight away.”

His proud mum Wendy, a teacher at Buxton School in Cann Hall Road, Leytonstone, suspects her son got the idea for applying for the Royal Ballet School after watching his favourite film, Billy Elliot, in which a Lancashire boys succeeds in ballet against the odds.

The 37-year-old said: “He loves that film and I think that is where the idea of the ballet school came from. I had seen him training, but I didn’t have an idea of how good he was. Then I felt I had to prepare him for disappointment because there were so many people applying.”

She said her son found out about the company on the internet and decided to apply.

He underwent a nerve-racking audition alongside hundreds of hopefuls and found out two months later he had been selected.

He said: “When I opened the letter and found out I had got through I was pale faced and shocked. But I had told my mum they kept looking at me in the audition, so I thought I was in with a chance.”

Wesley attends classes every two weeks at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, and even got to shake hands with his idol, world renowned Cuban ballet dancer and permanent member of the Royal London Ballet, Carlos Acostas.

He is now in rehearsals for a small part in Cinderella at the Royal Opera House in April, but has already experienced treading the boards in a 17th century repertoire at the school.

Mrs Branch said: “What’s really good for me as a parent is that he really went for it. It is one of the best ballet schools in the world and he got it. I want to teach him to aim high, even if he doesn’t go into ballet, I want him to have aspirations.”

Wesley said he will be applying to go to full-time ballet school next year and hopes to turn professional, or to become a contemporary dancer if he does not succeed in ballet.

 

© Copyright 2010 Newsquest Media Group

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