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By Katy Islip
The Echo
January 31, 2011

 

A dancer is toasting success after winning a place at a prestigious dance school.

Tom Broderick, 17, is starting a three-year degree in Professional Dance and Performance at the Central School of Ballet, in London.

The youngster, of Danesleigh Gardens, Leigh, started ballet at seven and went on to learn a range of styles before pursuing his passion full time. He said: “I’ve always known I loved dance, but I didn’t decide until last year to specialise in ballet.”

After scoring five A*s, five As and one C in his GCSEs at St Thomas More High School, Westcliff, Tom auditioned and won a place at the school, beating 400 fellow applicants.

Tom said: “I did the English Youth Ballet at the Cliffs Pavilion, and some of the principal dancers told me to start doing Royal Academy of Dance introductory classes, and then I won a place to study full time.”

Now his days are filled with dance as he works towards his degree, which will see him join the school’s own touring company during his final year. Tom said: “We start in the studio at 8.15am and do a half-hour warm up before two hours of ballet. Then we do lessons in different areas of ballet with the girls. We also do contemporary dance two or three days a week, as well as doing pilates, which helps keep us very flexible and strong.

“It’s great to be with so many other dancers. We all live together, so it’s really social.”

Although Tom now spends term-time living in London, his home with mum Tina, dad Paul, sister Kate, 20, and little brother Joe, four, is still where the heart is. He said: “It was a big leap to come away from home, but more for my family than it was for me.

“Not seeing Joe is the hardest, but my family are so supportive and it only takes an hour to come home so I can visit as much as I like.”

Once he completes his studies, Tom hopes to go on to join a professional dance troupe.

He said: “I love ballet, but I think I’m better at contemporary dance, so I would love to join a contemporary company after my time here. That would be amazing.”

School director Sara Matthews said: “Only the most talented and dedicated students are accepted but ballet is no longer an elitist profession. Bursaries are available to students who need financial support to complete the course. The course here has degree status so the fees are set for EU students at the same level as other universities.”

 

Copyright 2011 Newsquest Media Group

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