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The Star
Photograph by Bill Cooper
January 10, 2013

Talented Connor is delighted to win coveted place on dance degree course.

Ballet student Connor Taylor[South Yorkshire, England] – A Real-life Billy Elliott is making big steps in the world of ballet by following his dancing dream. Talented Connor Taylor is tipped for the top after winning a place at London’s Central School of Ballet.

And the Denaby Main teenager’s tale bears striking resemblances to the hit film about a youngster from a northern mining village who makes it big in the world of ballet.

Former Wath St Pius School pupil Connor, aged 17, was one of just 39 pupils – out of 350 who auditioned – to win a coveted place on the school’s unique degree course in Professional Dance and Performance.

Connor, of Alvaston Walk, was put through his paces in rigorous auditions, that take place over five months in London, Glasgow, Leeds, Italy and Japan.

He has danced since the age of 10 and built on his ability at the Northern Ballet Academy in Leeds.

He said: “I’ve completed the first term and it’s hard work but fun. We train at least six hours a day during the week and take classes on Saturday mornings. You have to be dedicated to make it to the top, but it’s my ultimate dream to be at one of the leading ballet companies and to play the prince in Swan Lake.

“The training is similar to that of the best athletes, but we are all motivated by the rewards of performing in front of an audience.”

Connor said his family initially balked at the idea of him becoming a ballet dancer, but he now has their full support – his dad John was an accomplished tap dancer in his youth, but none of his four siblings have taken up ballet.

Sara Matthews, Central School of Ballet director, said: “Only the most talented and dedicated students are accepted here, but ballet is no longer an elitist profession. We have a long history of accepting students from a range of social and economic backgrounds.”

For his third year of study, Connor will join the school’s touring company Ballet Central.

Sara said: “We are the only vocational ballet school able to offer our students an honours degree and this level of touring experience. Ballet Central continues to be a springboard into the top international dance companies. Dancers live to perform so touring is a much anticipated part of our three year curriculum.”

Recent CSB students are currently dancing with the most prestigious ballet companies, both in the UK and internationally.

In the hit 2000 film, youngster Billy, who hails from the north east, defies his tough working-class mining family to become a ballet dancer, landing a place at the Royal Ballet School and eventually starring in Swan Lake.

© 2013 Johnston Publishing Ltd

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