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The Tameside Advertiser
February 16, 2012

A real-life Billy Elliot who was once bullied for his dancing has passed a prestigious ballet exam. Matthew Briggs, 14, had to leave his old school as he was picked on because of his passion for dance. But the Mossley Hollins high school pupil shrugged off the taunts to pirouette his way to success at a gruelling Royal Academy of Dance exam designed for boys four years older.

Matthew, from Ashton, said: “I used to go to another school and the situation got so out of hand I had to move to Mossley Hollins.  But I brushed it off because it’s something I love to do and I’m not going to let anybody stop me from doing it. ­I was so excited when I found out I had passed but it was a very tough exam.

“I had to learn about 65 small routines, then on the day, do about 45 which last about three minutes [each] – so it’s quite a long exam.

“They look at everything from your posture to your facial expressions.”

Proud mum Louise Morrell said: “He has put a lot of effort in and a lot of his own time. I don’t know where he gets it from because I have got two left feet. When he was younger he was always dancing around the living room.

“We would go to watch his brothers play football but he was never interested – he just wanted to dance.”

Matthew only started twisting and twirling four years ago, learning tap dancing, ballet, singing and acting at Droylsden’s Kennedy Studios School of Performing Arts. He spends at least 12 hours a week honing his talents at the performing school and practices at his Ashton home.

His dance teacher spotted the talent and put Matthew forward for the Royal Academy of Dance’s intermediate ballet exam. The tough assessment is designed for 17 to 18 year olds and is the equivalent of an A-level.

But this is just the start for the twinkle-toed prodigy who hopes one day to perform in the bright lights of the world’s best stages.

“I would love to be able to go down to London to perform. That would be my dream,” said Matthew.

© MEN Media 2012

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One Comment

    • vinnie lauten
    • Posted February 20, 2012 at 10:41 pm
    • Permalink

    This is a wonderful real life Billy Elliot story. It takes a great inner courage to ignore peer bullying and continue to believe in yourself. Did anyone support him in this-parents, teachers or a real friend?? I hope so and if they tried to discourage him, shame on them. I would love to see him on the great Ballet stages in the world some day. He can always be inspired by Liam Mower and his continued assent.


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