By Terry Collins
The Daily Telegraph
November 23, 2015
[New South Wales, Australia] – When he was five, Thomas Dilley started a dance class with his older sister. A year later, she left the class, but he kept on and now, the Bateau Bay 16-year-old is set to move to Melbourne to study fulltime with the Australian Ballet School.
Thomas will feature as one of just 51 selected artists from all over the state in this year’s Schools Spectacular on Friday and Saturday [November 27th & 28th 2015] ahead of his move to Melbourne early next year.
“Thomas was offered a scholarship to study with the Australian Ballet when he was 13, but at that time, we couldn’t relocate the entire family to Melbourne and we felt he was too young to live so far from home,” his mum Julie Dilley said. “But now the ballet school has a boarders’ residence for its students and we feel the time is right.”
Thomas, who studies via distance education, has applied for a scholarship, but will attend the school next year with or without one. “He will go even if we have to beg, borrow or steal the money to send him,” Mrs Dilley said. “Thomas only started to take ballet seriously when he was 12 after his teachers saw his potential and now it is his sole focus.”
Since his original scholarship offer, Thomas also excelled at the Youth America Grand Prix ballet competition in New York last year, making it to the final 12 from a field of thousands. “He was offered several scholarships at that time to the US, Russia and Monaco, but he was too young at the time and we could not afford fares and accommodation for him,” Mrs Dilley said. “Even so, it was an amazing achievement.”
Thomas can’t wait to further his ballet experience. “I am so excited to be studying at a ballet school with such amazing teachers and facilities,” he said. “My ultimate goal is to join a well-known ballet company, either in Australia or overseas. To be paid to do something I love so much is my dream.”
Thomas looks well set on his path to a professional ballet career.
The young dancer, who trains at least six hours every day, will feature in an ensemble ballet piece and perform a contemporary solo piece at the Spectacular at Qantas Credit Union Arena in Sydney. The show was this year opened to distance education students and it will be his first Spectacular experience. “I’ve wanted to do it for so long, but never had the opportunity before,” he said.
It will be televised on Channel 9.
Copyright 2015 News Limited
Read more about Thomas: Thomas Dilley, 15, to compete in the Youth America Grand Prix