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By Salina Patel
Ealing Gazette
April 30, 2010

 

A boy from Ealing who turned to ballet after the devastating news [that] his older sister was diagnosed with cancer has made it to the stage of a West End show.

Dean Rushton, 14, of St Stephen’s Road, started taking lessons at the very late age of 10 (most dancers start much younger) to help take his mind off a challenging time in his life, with the news his only sibling was suffering from leukaemia.

After four years of hard work, Dean has landed a role in the London Children’s Ballet production of Ballet Shoes at London’s Peacock Theatre.

Dean said: “Ballet has changed my life. When my sister became ill, I was very sad. My mum and sister would go to the hospital nearly every day, which meant I had to stay with friends. I decided to do something new and a friend told me to try out ballet.

“Even though it was very hard because I had to join a group where girls and boys had been doing ballet since the age of three and four, it was still a lot of fun.

“Being in the show was very good. I had a lot of fun.”

Dean’s sister Natalie, who is now 16, was aged 13 when the family received the heartbreaking news, and when she and mum Keiko began making endless rounds of hospital trips for chemotherapy, life became lonely for young Dean.

He threw himself into lessons and training to become a professional ballet dancer, and his hard work paid off when he was accepted to attend the mid-associates programme at the Royal Ballet in Covent Garden.

Despite intense training, Dean has always been there for his sister, who is now in remission, supporting her throughout her three-year treatment.

Mum Keiko, 45, said: “It was an awful situation for my child to have had leukaemia, but now Natalie is cured and has become a very strong-minded person. Her diagnosis changed all three of us.

“Throughout Natalie’s treatment Dean was very caring and he changed his life with ballet. During a tough time he has managed to turn a negative situation into something positive and I am very proud of both my children.

“We are a very happy family now.” As the teenager pursues his dream to become a professional ballet dancer, he continues to practise every day and is looking forward to starting the senior associates programme in September.

 

© 2010 Trinity Mirror Southern Ltd.

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