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By Alex Winter
The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald
July 14, 2012

A real-life Billy Elliot has been accepted onto a prestigious scholarship with the Royal Ballet School – despite only having ballet lessons for just over a year.

Corey Macdonald, eight, who attends King’s Lodge School, Chippenham, won his place on the ballet school’s junior associates programme after a gruelling audition, taking on hundreds of other children for the place.

The young star from Pewsham, who has always loved dancing, was encouraged to take on the challenge by teachers at the Fitzgraham Academy of Dance, in Chippenham.

Mum Laura Newport said Corey has done fantastically. “It is very exciting, and I’m very proud of him,” she said. He’s done so much in such a short space of time. He’s gone from not doing ballet at all to being accepted as a junior associate.”

The junior associates programme is aimed at young talented students between the ages of eight and 15 to support them in pursuit of classical ballet training. The course is designed to add to a child’s existing training, while also introducing them to the Royal Ballet School’s curriculum, alongside other gifted children who aspire to be dancers.

Pupils will continue to study with their regular dance teacher in addition to the associate classes. Corey will be taking his extra classes every other Saturday in Bristol.

Miss Newport said: “This is really the first rung on the ladder for Corey. He has always been a dancer. He studied modern first, then hip-hop, and then his teachers at the academy thought he should look into ballet classes. He’s been completely dedicated to them, and he’s now dropped hip-hop so he can focus on his ballet.”

Corey auditioned in May, and the family waited anxiously to hear the results, which were expected around seven weeks after his performance. But Miss Newport said the school was so excited about his talent that they got in touch earlier than expected. “The change in him has been huge since he started ballet – it’s physical and mental as well,” she said.

© Copyright 2012 Newsquest

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