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By Kate Stenhouse
The Nottingham Post
May 7, 2013

William Smith, 11 has won a place at Northern Ballet Academyl after dancing for only six Months 2013

[Nottingham, England] – A schoolboy who was bullied about his dancing has won a place at a prestigious dance school – after only six months of training and without taking a single exam.

William Smith, 11, of West Bridgford, had never set foot in a ballet studio before last September but will start training at the Northern Ballet Academy at the start of the next school year.

His course will be part of the academy’s Centre for Advanced Training’s professional division, which prepares children to go on to full-time vocational training at other schools.

Mum Helen Smith said: “We’ve got to drive all the way up to Leeds three or four time a week to go to those classes but it’s a sacrifice that I’m willing to make. He was bullied at school and I had to take him out of mainstream schooling.

“This has given him a lot of confidence.”

William is following in family footsteps. His mum was a professional dancer and still taught dance until recently, older brothers Alex and Henry were competitive gymnasts and older sister Juliet was involved in rhythmic gymnastics.

Ms Smith said: “My eldest three children could do backflips before they could ride tricycles. I think one of William’s biggest inspirations was watching his sister dance but he has always been quite captivated by ballet. We’d always said that he had got really lovely, long legs, and we’d say to him, ‘oh William, you’ve got dancer’s legs!'”

William attends Rollini School of Dance, in West Bridgford. Teacher Lesley Rollini said: “He’s a pleasure to teach. He’s a very hard-working young man and he’s going to do very well. He’s going to be doing around 22 hours a week of training with the classes there and the ones he does with me as well. He’s going to be one tired little boy but it’s an amazing opportunity for him.”

William, who wants to go on to full-time dance school, said: “I just love dancing. When I saw it, I just thought ‘I want to do that, it looks really amazing’.”

The academy has won a number of prestigious awards, including the Audience Award for its ballets three consecutive times.

William’s training will be Government-funded.

Academy programmes manager Faye Cardwell said: “He has great ability, showed loads of potential and picked things up really quickly, and even though he hasn’t danced for long, we recognised that he really did have raw talent.”

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