Skip navigation

The Telegraph
Photographs by Central Scotland News
June 2, 2010



Hamish Gornall, from Dunblane, Perthshire, is a fleet-footed winger with leading Scottish rugby team Stirling County, who he captains on Saturday afternoons.

The quick feet and fine balance that help him bamboozle his young opponents on the rugby pitch are also honed twice every week at his local ballet schools in Dublane and Gleneagles.

Now Hamish, who took up dancing three years ago after watching his sister perform ballet on stage, has been rewarded with a place on Scottish Ballet’s junior associate programme.

Hamish, who passed a tough audition, will begin the two-year course, which sees young starlets being taught by the company’s dancers, in August.

The boy, a pupil at St Mary’s Primary in Dunblane said that he could not choose between the rugby pitch and the ballet barre because taking part in each helps him perform in the other.

He said: “I love playing rugby with all my team mates at Stirling County and winning medals all over the country – I’m the team captain in my age group and we won every tournament we entered this year except one when we were second.

“But I also love dancing and leaping across the stage, which is really good fun. I love both the same and they both help me.



“Rugby makes me strong and fast, but you also have to be very strong and flexible to be a ballet dancer. And ballet helps me spin out of tackles and leap for the ball when I’m playing rugby.

“The boys at rugby think its ok for me to dance. We were at a tournament recently and I was spinning out of tackles – my friends all said it must be because I do ballet.

“And the girls at ballet are glad I play rugby because I can lift them up.”

His mother Fiona, 41, said Hamish was in his first year at primary school when he started to pester her to let him start ballet lessons – just like his sister Alice, 12.

Now his remarkable success has spurred his younger siblings, George, seven, and Phoebe Rose, four, to take up dancing too.

She said: “It was Hamish who wanted to go to ballet lessons and pushed me on it when he was in P1. I thought he was joking at first and he would soon change his mind, but he loves it.

“As the years have passed it’s become clear he’s very talented. In his shows, he is usually the only boy on stage surrounded by girls dancing but it doesn’t faze him.

“In fact, in his first show, he came out at the end in his Stirling County top just to show everyone that he likes rugby as well. He’s equally talented at both.

“Rugby will make him strong for ballet – and ballet will make him light on his feet on the rugby pitch.

“He has lots of friends at Stirling County and they never tease him about dancing, while I think the girls at ballet quite like having a boy in the ranks and are really chuffed for him getting in to Scottish Ballet.

“But it will be up to him which he chooses to pursue when he’s older – he’s also very good at golf. Whatever Hamish chooses, his dad Paul and I are very proud of him.”

Hamish usually takes ballet lessons with a tutor in Gleneagles and at the Stages Dance Academy in Dunblane, with whom he is performing this week during its annual show at Stirling’s Albert Halls – alongside 30 girls.

His Scottish Ballet education will involve monthly five-hour lessons under teachers at the HQ in Glasgow. But it will also mean being in a class with other boys, for a change.

Natalie Garry, who teaches Hamish at Gleneagles, said she was thrilled that Hamish had made it into Scottish Ballet’s prestigious group – and predicted he could one day be a star professional.

She said: “He is a very talented young man. Getting on to this programme is a huge step — it’s the ballet equivalent of the Scotland rugby team picking you out as a player to watch. I’m really pleased for him.”



© Copyright 2010 Telegraph Media Group Limited


One Trackback/Pingback

  1. […] Related Article: Young rugby star wins place at ballet school […]

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: