By Mark Shales
Barking and Dagenham Post
May 21, 2014
In a Post feature last month, 10-year-old dancer Amaan Rashid, from Dagenham, explained how he was inspired by Steven McCrae, principal dancer with The Royal Ballet. [Mr. McCrae] saw the article, and was so touched by the words he contacted the Post directly, offering to send Amaan a signed pair of shoes identical to the ones he wore in the recent run of Sleeping Beauty.
Amaan was invited to the Post’s office to collect the package on Friday, unaware of the contents.
He said: “I’d like to thank Steven so much because it really means so much. It’s really motivated me to work harder. I’m going to put them in the centre of my glass cabinet alongside my other trophies.”
After telling the news to his teachers at Dagenham Park School the next day he was asked to perform in a future assembly, and proud mum Ghazala was equally delighted. “I was so overwhelmed that [Mr. McCrae] would do something so kind like that,” she said. “He’s such an inspiration for Amaan and other young dancers.”
[Mr. McCrae] said: “I was really honoured that I had inspired someone from the next generation. It’s great that Amaan has a passion for dance at such a young age. He is a great role model for other young boys by showing them how to chase their dreams.”
Amaan, a mid-associate of the Royal Ballet School, recently shared the stage with Steven in Sleeping Beauty, playing a fairy page, a mandolin boy and a monkey in 10 of the 20 performances.
[Mr. McCrae] also had these words for Amaan: “The dance world has transformed my life, but it hasn’t come easy as you have to dedicate your life to it. However, the freedom that you feel now when you’re dancing is something I still feel today when I step on stage. This feeling is why I still dance today and I hope you will get to experience this in the future.”
© Copyright 2014 Archant Community Media Ltd