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By Mark Shales
Barking and Dagenham Post
April 16, 2014


Amaan Rashid, 10,  at the barre (Barking and Dagenham) 2014[London, England] – Keen sportsman Amaan Rashid, 10, of Dagenham is a mid-associate of the Royal Ballet School and has finished a run of Sleeping Beauty at the Royal Opera House. He played a fairy page, a mandolin boy and a monkey in 10 of the 20 performances. He talks to the Post about dancing, karate and his dreams for the future.

I’ve really enjoyed performing in Sleeping Beauty although the last night was quite sad because most of the friends I made live in different parts of the country, so I won’t get to see them as much now.

At first I got quite nervous before performances because the Royal Opera House is huge, but you just learn to get on with it. It was great to work alongside professional dancers and inspired me to go further and do more productions.

One day I’d love to star in The Nutcracker because it has a lot of meaning to it and there’s lots of great movements involved, especially with the arms. It’s very graceful and the beautiful music gives it a nice flow.

A few years ago I’d never have imagined I’d have got into ballet dancing but I really enjoy it now.

Some dancers from the Royal Ballet School came into my class one day at Beam primary as part of a primarySTEPS partnership, and after a few rounds of auditions I was selected from 969 Dagenham children to become a junior associate. I got my letter to become a mid-associate (the next stage up) last week and I was really pleased. My mum was really excited too and began jumping round the house.

I’m also a brown belt in karate, something which actually really helps my ballet because you have to be strong and totally focused. It helps to give you strength in your body and back, and the harder you can kick, the higher you can jump when dancing.

I’m really inspired by Steven McRae who’s the principal dancer of the Royal Ballet. I’d love to do what he does one day and be the lead dancer for someone like the Royal Ballet.

It’s very tiring work though. I wouldn’t get home before 11.30pm after a show, but my school have been really supportive and let me have a lie-in. My headteacher came to watch, as did my ballet teachers and loads of family which was nice. My mum came to see me three times. She never had an interest in ballet before I started but she says she loves it now


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