By Emma Herd
Central Coast Gosford Express Advocate
February 12, 2014
[Bateau Bay, New South Wales Australia] – Thomas Dilley has capped off an incredible comeback from injury with selection in the finals of the Youth America Grand Prix ballet competition in New York. Dilley, 15, of Bateau Bay, who was unable to walk for four months last year after breaking a bone in his foot, has rebounded to be in better form than ever.
But even he was blown away when he was informed of his selection in the top 350 dancers from 7000 entrants worldwide for the prestigious competition. His application DVD – which included a performance of Le Corsaire – was submitted in November, with emails checked frequently in the ensuing months.
Dilley received the news by email on his birthday on February 15 – the ultimate present for the aspiring professional dancer. “I was really shocked and just really excited,’’ Dilley said.
While he has been dancing since the age of five, he didn’t move into classical ballet training until age 12, which is when he started working with dance instructor Kahlia Mehmet, of Premiere Elite, Tuggerah. Mehmet said the potential was always there with Dilley and his dedication to his craft has been constant.
“He’s put in a lot of work – he’s now full time and home schooled – the effort has been huge to get him to this point,’’ she said. “It’s been all his hard work and dedication.’’
With his trip to New York less than two months away, Dilley is preparing to take on the best in the world, while his parents work out how to secure the funds to make it happen.
Julie and David Dilley couldn’t be more proud of the youngest of their six children. “When the acceptance came through I just started shaking,’’ Mr Dilley said. “I know how much this means to him.’’
While Mr Dilley needs to stay on the Central Coast to work and look after the rest of the family, Mrs Dilley is hopeful of making the trip with her son and Mehmet.
The Dilleys are hopeful of support from individuals and Central Coast businesses. A family friend has also set up a fundraising website.
Details: www.gofundme.com/thomasdilleyYAGP or