December 7, 2015
[London, England] – A 12-year-old boy who prefers dancing to fighting has landed the leading role in the West End production of Billy Elliot. Euan Garrett had been a brown and white belt in karate, rugby player and runner before taking up ballet just one year ago. But he has now landed the lead role in the London West End production which is based on a boy who would rather be a dancer than a boxer.
The youngster from North Berwick, East Lothian, went through an intensive six months of training before finally taking to the stage at Victoria Palace Theatre last month.
Dad John Garrett, 51, said Euan had initially needed some convincing to take up ballet.
He said: “Euan only started dancing when he was seven, but as soon as he did, we all knew he was born to dance.
“We used to take him to rugby and karate, which he really enjoyed, and then he started a dance class at Law Primary School where he was a pupil. He really enjoyed it and after a few sessions, the teacher told us we ought to take him to professional dance classes because she could see talent. She recommended ballet, but Euan is a typical boy and at first, he said no – in his eyes that wasn’t cool.”
But in the months that followed, the youngster fell in love with dance, and decided to seek professional training. He was a dedicated pupil of Julie Friar at the Dunbar School of Dancing and repeatedly practised his audition routine with her.
She said: “As soon as Euan started dancing at my school I knew he had something special. Euan had a goal he wanted to achieve. It’s all about the work the pupils put in. It’s amazing one of my former students is now on the West End. I’m so proud of him. He’s a very talented young man and exceptionally hardworking.”
His mum Dawn Adam, 49, added that she is very proud of her Euan after landing a big role only a year after appearing in a local dance display.
She said: “Euan and Julie spent hours preparing for his final audition together. It’s scary to think this time last year he was performing in his local dance display and now he’s on London’s West End. We are so proud of him.”
Before landing his West End role, Euan was also a Scottish Ballet Junior associate, and performed in Lord of the Flies as well as Scottish Ballet’s production of the Nutcracker.
Speaking of his debut as Billy, Euan said: “It’s just amazing because it’s always been my dream role. I feel very special because only a few boys have played the part of Billy Elliot in London. I was just so excited when I found out I had got the role.”
The musical is based on the film Billy Elliot which was released in 2000. It is set in County Durham during the miners’ strike when Billy, a young boxer, discovers a love of ballet.
Euan is expected to play the role for at least a year.
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