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By Chris Brooke
Daily Mail
July 20, 2010


Nine-year-old Keenan Faulkner, from a terraced street in a former South Yorkshire pit town, has beaten the odds to win a place at the Royal Ballet’s boarding school.

[Mrs. Faulkner] said: ‘Most of the young lads in Barnsley are into football and computer games. Ballet’s not something they even think about it, but Keenan absolutely lives for dancing. Nothing else matters at all.

‘He practises ballet, tap and jazz routines in the studio seven days a week, and he’d be doing his pirouettes at home every minute of the day and night if we let him.

Keenan started dancing at two-anda-half when he joined his sister’s allgirl group. At six he performed a Billy Elliot routine in front of Barnsley-born Royal Ballet star Philip Mosley – whose own story was an inspiration to the screenwriter behind Billy Elliot, which starred Jamie Bell in the lead role. Mrs Faulkner said the star signed Keenan’s shoes after the show and complimented him on his performance.

‘All he’s wanted to do since then is go to the Royal Ballet School in London and train to be a classical dancer like Philip,’ she said.

Keenan was one of 22 children accepted into the school out of 2,400 applicants from across the world.

Pupils pursue a rigorous training schedule, with up to eight hours of dancing lessons and four hours of general education each day.

Keenan’s success was greeted with delight by his classmates at Shawlands Primary School in Barnsley. Mr Faulkner said: ‘We were a bit worried that they might take the mickey out of him, but when the headmistress announced the news all the boys stood up and started clapping.



© 2010 Associated Newspapers Ltd<

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