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Leon Metelsky, 11, wins one of 12 places at RBS (2016)


By Kate Wilson
The Daily Echo
March 21, 2016


[Ferndown, Dorset, UK] – Aspiring ballet dancer Leon Metelsky is [in step] to fulfil his dream of dancing in The Nutcracker. Leon, who is in Year 6 at Ferndown Middle School, beat hundreds of other young performers to gain a place at one of the world’s most prestigious ballet [schools].

After starting dance classes at the age of three it quickly became clear that Leon had both the feet and passion for ballet. And now after years of training he has become one of just 12 boys from across the world to secure a place at the Royal Ballet School in London for the upcoming school year.

Leon Metelsky, 11, wins one of 12 places at RBS 2016-02_resizeThe school, which has a campus in Richmond Park and Covent Garden, has produced some of the world’s greatest ballet dancers including English darling Darcey Bussell. And Leon hopes that after attending the school he too will become one of the greats.

“I’m really excited to start at the school it’s going to be brilliant,” said Leon, whose favourite ballet dancer is Steven McRae. “My parents were both dancers and my two older sisters are dancers so it was always in my blood. I’m just glad that after all the work both them and I have put in it has paid off.”

Leon had to audition twice before getting the letter to say he had secured a place at the school. “I wasn’t really nervous about it as I am already a junior associate with the Royal Ballet School so I knew what they were looking for and was well rehearsed.

“I just can’t wait for September to come so I can start there.”

Leon’s parents Tanya and Vitaly took him to Prompt Corner Academy of Dance in Ensbury Community Centre when he was three. “From when he could walk he would tell us that he wanted to take dance classes,” said mum Tanya. “So when he was old enough we took him along to the same school as his sisters and he just loved it. That’s the thing with Leon, he has always had such a passion for dance and it comes out when he performs.”



“As a parent it’s scary to think of him going off to live away for school at only 11 but he spent a week at the school over the summer last year and said it was the best week of his life so we know he will be happy.”

Katy Chaldecott-Gill, who runs Prompt Corner Academy of Dance, said it’s Leon’s passion for ballet that has managed to get him so far. “You have students that come in with the right body and feet but if they don’t love dance then it just looks like hard work,” she said. But Leon always looks like he is loving every second and is a pleasure to teach. We are so thrilled for him and he is an inspiration to the younger dancers who look at him and realise it can happen and your dreams can come true.”

Speaking of dreams, it is Leon’s to one day perform in one of the world’s most famous ballets – The Nutcracker


Copyright 2016 Newsquest Media (Southern) Ltd



Cristian Bratu (Leicestershire Press) 2015


By Alexandru Bratu
The Leicestershire Press
December 15, 2015


[Leicester, England] – The spotlight is on young dancer Cristian Bratu as he looks ahead to taking on his most difficult role yet – a student aiming for life on centre stage.

“Sometimes I have a think about what life would be like if I didn’t choose ballet, but I am happy with my choices and where I am now.” Those were the words of an emerging dancer with the potential to reach amazing heights in the art of ballet, Cristi Bratu, who has recently ended his first term at the prestigious London Royal Ballet Upper School.

From humble upbringings, Cristi is a 16-year-old ballet student from Gartree in the Harborough district, a diamond in the rough unearthed by former Royal Ballet principal Graham Fletcher aged just eight, before joining the London Royal Ballet School aged 11 to polish off his skills and begin to develop into a more clear-cut performer.

In somewhat of a ‘rags to riches’ tale that is progressing soundly towards its happy ending, I ask Cristi to look to his future, and think about what he needs to do in order to complete a defining chapter in the story of his future career in ballet as he progresses through the first year at his new school.

“I need to increase my strength and confidence as a dancer; I can do this by working hard and motivating myself,” he begins, recalling the arduous journey to the stage he finds himself in at this present moment, “The standard is rising year by year. I have four appraisals every year that test all aspects of my dancing to see if I’m progressing or not, that will be tough.”

It becomes clear to me in the way he articulates his responses that this is a boy who knows exactly what he needs to do to realize his dreams, and there was no question as to whether he is motivated to face up to the unforgiving examinations. “I want to achieve things and be the best that I can be,” he continues, “auditioning for White Lodge, my teacher told me that you can’t win the lottery without entering and I’ve stood by that ever since. I use it to test my capabilities and see how far I can go. The end goal on stage keeps me and my enjoyment of it going.”

Cristian Bratu (Leicestershire Press) 2015-02Cristi hopes to one day emulate the achievements of renowned dancers such as Carlos Acosta and Graham Fletcher, and it is the latter, the very man who discovered his potential, who believes he can go all the way. Speaking in an article for the Harborough Mail, Fletcher offers a recollection of the moment Cristi revealed his potential: “I thought straight away: ‘Gosh this boy’s talented!’”

Fletcher discovered Cristi during his annual visit to Foxton Primary School, asking him amongst other potential young dancers to attend his after-school classes where the students would learn contemporary dance. From this, Cristi made the transition to ballet, a move that would determine his entire future, changing his life completely.

Fletcher is the main contributor to Cristi’s early development, and the young dancer feels he owes a lot to Fletcher’s guidance. “It’s exciting to think that I could one day become just as good as he was. It was my friend Graham who got me into this world and he is usually the first person I think of when something good happens, because I always want to make him proud.”

It’s a sentimental thought. The two often keep in contact, and Cristi has aided Fletcher in teaching summer school classes for other future dancers. And it is the future that Cristi continually looks to as he ventures towards his own destiny.

When asked about where he sees himself in years to come, he responds: “Hopefully in a company becoming a professional, I don’t imagine doing anything else.” A regular performer at the Royal Opera House during the Christmas period, it appears that a life on stage is one that he desires so greatly.

To cultivate the ability to move audiences and stir emotions with the elegance and poise which defines the art of ballet is the greatest task presented to a young performer. Whether it were to be warming hearts or moving pairs of eyes to tears, it is clear that the path to stardom is one to be walked on with pointed toes, aiming to jeté past any obstacles that stand in the way.

Standing centre stage as his future plays out, the spotlight is on Cristi. An audience of examiners, experts, family, friends, teachers and mentors look on with watchful eyes, anticipating whether the final curtain draws a close to a performance which warrants a continuation in the profession. In Cristi’s own words: “the challenge just gets greater.”



Read more about Cristian: A young dancer’s experience at RBS



The ‘Billy Elliot’ effect sees young males become the ‘crème de la crème’ of the dancing world

More boys attended Royal Ballet School than girls last year

Strictly Come Dancing judge and professional ballerina Darcey Bussell said the UK was producing more male dancers than female

Billy Elliot and TV talent shows are credited as the reason


Boys pictured at the Royal Ballet School in Richmond Park, Surrey (Lucy Ray Photography,The Daily Mail) 2015


By Antonia Hoyle
The Daily Mail
December 11, 2015


Toes pointed, arms aloft, the ballet dancers balance perfectly on one leg and lift the other high behind them. The delicate grace of their flowing movements is captivating. With backs ramrod straight, they smile serenely as they glide and twirl across the room. These youngsters are the crème de la crème of the ballet world. Only the best are good enough — and they are intent on perfection.

To help them attain it, instructor Hope Keelan barks instructions as they dance. The smallest indiscretion is noted and brusquely corrected. ‘Fingers and thumbs away,’ she raps. ‘Teeth, teeth! Come on! That was torture.’

It’s astonishing to watch such talent and relentless discipline in ones so young. More astonishing, though, is the fact there’s not a tutu in sight. The leotards of the dancers are blue. And their hair isn’t scraped back into buns, but slicked down in short cuts.

Sacha Barber, 12, Stanley Young, 12, and Isaac Martin, 13 are students at RBS (Lucy Ray Photography,The Daily Mail) 2015

We might be at the mixed-sex Royal Ballet School — Britain’s most prestigious dance training institute — but in this rehearsal studio there are only boys. While little girls still comprise the vast majority of those clamouring to study ballet, boys are increasingly choosing it over ball sports. Last year, there were 112 boys and 109 girls at the Royal Ballet School’s junior and senior branches.

This week ballerina and Strictly Come Dancing judge Darcey Bussell — herself an alumna of the Royal Ballet School — highlighted the remarkable rise of the boy ballet dancer. ‘Every dance school I went to there was only ever one little boy,’ said Darcey, 46. ‘Suddenly, we’re producing more male dancers. Apparently, the problem now is that we’re not producing enough women! How is this possible?’

How indeed?

Some boys have admitted relating to Billy Elliot due to teasing and bullying from other boys (Lucy Ray Photography,The Daily Mail) 2015

Some boys have admitted relating to Billy Elliot due to teasing and bullying from other boys

The ‘Billy Elliot’ effect is a factor. After the film — which charted the plight of the fictional 11-year-old miner’s son who won a place at the Royal Ballet School — was released in 2000, much of the stigma around boys and ballet was removed. That shift has been reinforced in recent years by the captivating performances of male ballet stars such as Cuban Carlos Acosta, 42.

‘Shows like Strictly Come Dancing and X Factor have also made dancing more acceptable for boys,’ says Hope, a youthful-looking 60-year-old who seems to inspire both respect and affection from her male students in equal measure. She is artistic teacher and programme manager at White Lodge, the junior wing of the Royal Ballet School. Based in Richmond, South-West London, White Lodge was created in 1955 to produce professional dancers for the Royal Ballet Company.

It is home to 130 boarders aged 11 to 16, one of whom is 11-year-old Blake Smith from Gloucester. He wanted to be a dancer at five, after watching children’s television show Angelina Ballerina.

And he harbours a true passion. He admits he initially encountered opposition to his dreams. ‘I was the only boy in my ballet class and at first my friends would tell me ballet is for girls. But eventually they got used to the idea.’

Blake’s mum Siobhan, 37, was, nonetheless concerned when her little boy started ballet classes. ‘Within two months he’d completed his first competition. I was amazed and proud, but worried he’d be picked on,’ says Siobhan. ‘But Blake says he doesn’t care what anyone else thinks.’

The Royal Ballet School fees cost £30,000 per year and only the best dancers are accepted (Lucy Ray Photography,The Daily Mail) 2015

The Royal Ballet School fees cost £30,000 per year and only the best dancers are accepted

Two years ago, Blake was spotted at his local dance class and invited to audition for White Lodge. Competition is fierce. More than 1,000 youngsters vie for two dozen places at the boarding school each year. And the fees — £30,000 a year — are as substantial as the talent.

Like 80 per cent of White Lodge’s students, Blake is given a government grant. ‘Without the grant, there’s no way I would have been able to afford it,’ says Siobhan, a cleaner who split up with Blake’s father while she was pregnant.

She admits the prospect of sending her boy across the country for weeks on end filled her with anxiety. ‘I didn’t want him to go. I know it is an amazing opportunity, but I felt physically sick as I left him for the first time. I’m still struggling.’ She and Blake Skype each other each day. ‘As soon as we’ve finished speaking I cry,’ she says. ‘He’s always been focused, but I worry about how he’ll handle the pressure.’

Boys sandwich four hours of ballet practice a day on either side of their academic studies (Lucy Ray Photography,The Daily Mail) 2015

Boys sandwich four hours of ballet practice a day on either side of their academic studies

Indeed, the pursuit of excellence here is relentless.The boys sandwich four hours of ballet practice a day on either side of their academic studies. Their warm-up alone is characterised by ‘blood, sweat and tears’, says Hope, without hint of apology.

‘Assessments’ are held at the end of the year to boot out underperformers. Less than half of students will progress to the upper school, and fewer still will be accepted into the Royal Ballet.

While the boys insist the girls — who train separately because of their different physical strengths — don’t begrudge their increasing dominance, 11-year-old Caspar Lench lets slip that relationships between the sexes can be strained. ‘At the start of the year the boys and girls didn’t exactly get on,’ admits Caspar, also in his first term. ‘The girls didn’t want to be friends with the boys and the boys were a bit shy around the girls.’ Fortunately, things picked up. ‘After a few weeks we made friends and it’s not awkward any more.’

Caspar started ballet lessons at three after his mum Yasmin spotted his potential while he was playing a sheep in his nursery nativity play. ‘He smiled all the way through, showed no nerves and made everyone laugh,’ says Yasmin, 42.

Like her husband Tristan, 44, Yasmin is a doctor, and their son’s talent came as a surprise. ‘Dancing definitely doesn’t run in the family, but Caspar has always loved performing,’ she says.

Yasmin credits competitors on shows like Britain’s Got Talent with inspiring boys’ ballet dancing ambition, as well as footballers such as England star Rio Ferdinand, who have been open about practising ballet as youngsters.

What about Billy Elliot? ‘I do sort of relate to him, but feel like it was easier for me because I had my parents’ encouragement,’ says Caspar.

Yasmin acknowledges her son was lucky to only receive a couple of barbed comments from peers who described his hobby as ‘girly’. And she adds: ‘I think Tristan being supportive helped. We know of other boys who have dropped out because their dads didn’t approve.

‘I knew it would be sad for us to say goodbye to him but, by the time he was seven, he was showing such promise we had an inkling he would go to ballet school.’

Annually, more than 1,000 youngsters vie for only two dozen places at the Royal Ballet School (Lucy Ray Photography,The Daily Mail) 2015

Annually, more than 1,000 youngsters vie for only two dozen places at the Royal Ballet School

Auditions for Royal Ballet School are held at the beginning of the year, with staff scouring the country for the best of the best. Every aspiring student is invited to take part in a dance class where their talent is assessed. Caspar’s audition was at a church hall near his home city of Bristol with a final audition at White Lodge this January. A week later, he discovered he’d been accepted.

As the term started in September, he managed to maintain a stiff upper lip, despite the fact he faced weeks without his mum, with all visits pre-arranged. ‘He made it very clear he didn’t want me to cry and embarrass him,’ says Yasmin. ‘But the school prepared us for the fact the children can get homesick.’

In fact, says Hope, the boys are more susceptible to homesickness — or more likely to show it. ‘Girls are a bit more able to mask their feelings,’ she says, adding that despite the discipline, she would never tell a lad missing home he wasn’t entitled to feel sad.

‘We talk about their feelings. I think boys show pressure differently if they’re angry or upset. They cry or they’ll fight. I say they need to see a nurse, and we have psychology workshops.’

Caspar admits he’s found his first term heavy going. ‘When things have happened — I’ve had injuries and arguments and stuff — I’ve wished Mum could be here to sort it out and I call her and cry.’

They speak for half an hour every evening. ‘If I’m feeling sad, she will say she is hugging me down the phone.’

Yasmin doesn’t find his homesickness quite as easy to brush off. ‘I know Caspar bounces back quickly, but I still feel anxious,’ she says. ‘I worry about the pressure and how he would cope if he lost his place. I like to think he is strong, but it would be a blow for him.’

Sacha Barber, 12, Stanley Young, 12, and Isaac Martin, 13, training at school's Pavlova Studio (Lucy Ray Photography,The Daily Mail) 2015

While all the boys have a certain air of vulnerability, it’s also striking how composed they are. ‘There is an emphasis on professional behaviour here,’ explains Isaac Martin, 13, from London, who is in his second year.

Isaac, whose dad Leo, 49, is a company manager and mum Catherine, 45, a museum curator, was a gymnast before discovering ballet a couple of years ago. He admits that at the end of a hard day’s practice, everything aches, but he wouldn’t dream of complaining: ‘We’re taught to respect our elders, that we’re here to learn and not to make a fuss. It’s a good motto to live by.’

Stanley Young, 12, Sacha Barber, 12, and Issac Martin, 13, the Royal Ballet School (Lucy Ray Photography,The Daily Mail) 2015-03

And it is quite extraordinary that despite being in stiff competition with each other, the boys show no signs of jousting or one-upmanship. Are there really no squabbles? ‘Only in our dorms,’ chips in 12-year-old Stanley Young, who has also just entered year two. ‘And mostly over things like the shower rota. But it’s always sorted out.’

It sounds like Stanley, from Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, whose parents are Sarah, 49, and Steve, 45, an engineer, has found an acceptance through ballet school he previously lacked. ‘Because I didn’t like football I felt isolated and different from the other boys,’ he says. These days, Stanley shares his section of the boys’ dormitory with Sacha Barber, 12, from Eastbourne.

You always have to be better than you were the day before' is the mantra boys are taught at the RBS (Lucy Ray Photography,The Daily Mail) 2015

You always have to be better than you were the day before’ is the mantra boys are taught at the RBS

Sacha admits he is finding his second year more stressful than his first and that his dad Daniel, 48, a carpenter, is ‘still surprised’ by his love of dance. ‘You don’t get pushed as much until second year,’ says Sacha — the only boy permitted to sport a longer hairdo, because he is playing Fritz, the lead role in the Nutcracker at the school’s annual performance now taking place at the Royal Opera House. Apparently, he needs longer locks to look suitably Victorian.

But he refuses to buckle under the increased pressure of the second year: ‘I just try harder.’ And it is this which is the unspoken mantra of all the boys at The Royal Ballet School. Without exception, they handle mounting pressure with remarkable grace.

‘It is stressful,’ says Caspar as rehearsals end. ‘You always have to be better than you were the day before and I don’t always achieve that. But you have to work hard and hope for the best.’


Copyright 2015 Associated Newspapers, Ltd.

Tom Waddington, 8,  has secured a place as a junior associate at the Royal Ballet School (The Folkestone Herald) 2015


By D. Kilpatrick
The Folkestone herald
June 23, 2015


[Hythe, Hampshire, England] – A young boy from Hythe has secured a place as a junior associate at the prestigious Royal Ballet School in Covent Garden – and now hopes to perform in front of the Queen!

Tom Waddington, a pupil as Saltwood Primary, was handpicked from a large number of candidates last week and will now go up to London every Saturday to train at the country’s most famous ballet school.

Proud mother Karen Bridges told the Herald: “He has been doing ballet since he was four and has always wanted to do it after watching Angelina Ballerina on the television. It’s the top ballet school and it’s just fantastic news. We are quite gobsmacked because it doesn’t usually happen to people like us. He’s always been very energetic and I can see him making a career out of it.

“He constantly dances around the house and at school, trying out new steps and challenging himself further and always on the lookout for an audience to perform to.

“When they are aged eleven, he will be invited to do a summer course and from that group, they pick who is put forward for the White Lodge School. As a family, we are all very excited.”

The eight-year-old currently trains twice a week, including in Ashford where he is the only boy in the class.

He added: “I am really excited and am looking forward to the day I perform at the Royal Opera House and meet the Queen.”

Copyright © 2015 Local World.

Gearoid Solan will be attending The Royal Ballet School this September 2015


By Laura Larkin
The Evening Herald
April 27, 2015


Geriod Solan and Aoibh Ni BrionIreland’s answer to Billy Elliot can’t wait to begin his studies at the world-renowned Royal Ballet School in London. Gearoid Solan (15), from Dunboyne, is the first Irish male in 30 years to attend the school in Covent Garden.

He has been dancing ballet since he was five, but said he didn’t take it seriously until he turned 12.

Gearoid will be the youngest student in the dancing academy when he starts classes in September. “I’m a bit nervous, but I’m also excited. I couldn’t really believe it when I got accepted,” he told the Herald.

“One of the things I’m looking forward to most is having more boys in my class. In Ireland there are not that many guys doing ballet. It’s unusual for a guy to do ballet here, so when I tell people they’re usually very interested and have a lot of questions.”

Gearoid is balancing his dance commitments with his Junior Cert exams which are fast approaching.

He has big ambitions for his ballet career and announced his intention to study at the Royal Ballet School on television two years ago. “He told Miriam O’Callaghan that he was trying to persuade us to let him go to London,” his mum Ann Marie recalled. He “lives, eats and breathes” ballet, she said, adding that if he isn’t rehearsing or doing his stretches he will be studying performances on his computer or his phone.

Gearoid SolanGearoid is the first ballet dancer in the family, but Anne Marie said he has always been drawn to it. “I have memories of him even as a two-year-old and he would just be mesmerised by music and dancing,” she said.

By the time he was nine, she recognised that “he had something special” and turned to Katherine Lewis, one of Ireland’s best-known ballerinas, who runs the Irish National Youth Ballet (INYB). Through his work with INYB and with Grainne McArdle in Celbridge, Gearoid has really progressed, his proud mother said.

He trains for 14-and-a-half hours a week, but those are his scheduled hours – in reality he spends much more time perfecting his craft.

“I’ve often gone to bed at midnight and I know that Gearoid will still be up doing his stretches,” said Anne Marie. “I’ve given up telling him to go to bed.”


Copyright 2015 The Evening herald


By Shaun Moore
The Gloucester News
April 13, 2015


Blake Smith, 10,  has been accepted as a full-time student to the Royal Ballet School (Gloucester News) 2015[Gloucester, England] – Blake Smith, who lives in Kingsway with his mum Siobhan and brother Ashton, has been a student at the Linda Virgoe Dance Studios for the past 5 years. From his very first dance lesson he was branded a boy with “immense natural talent”.

He did not attend the usual round of auditions for the Royal Ballet School, but was hand-picked at a separate audition by the Artistic Director of the school. His natural ability was immediately recognised and he was invited to the final round of auditions.

Blake was offered a place at Severn Vale Secondary School in Quedgeley, and due to begin as a year 7 this coming September. It was immediately after this letter arrived from Severn Vale in March this year that Blake and his mother Siobhan received the offer of a place at The Royal Ballet School.

Blake’s mother Siobhan commented; “we are over the moon that Blake has been accepted to The Royal Ballet School this September. Ever since he started dancing he has been so successful and won so many awards, that this is the ultimate recognition of his talent. We are thrilled for him as it’s such a life-changing opportunity and all his hard work has paid off.”

During the 5 years of his dancing career Blake has won countless awards and trophies, including; securing the Paul Watson Bursary two years in a row from Tring Park Performing Arts School, winning the ‘Most Promising Boy’ at the Longwell Green dance festival, winning the ‘Highest Ballet Score’ in the 10 years and under category at the Cheltenham Performing Arts Festival two years in a row, performing in Swan Lake with the English Youth Ballet, being asked to audition for Bodyguard the Musical, becoming a Junior Associate to the Royal Ballet, getting through to the Janet Cram Finals in London, and receiving 100% in his ballet exam, as well as the endless medals he has won at dance festivals for his solo and duet routines.


Copyright © 2015 Gloucester News Centre




The Gazette
April 4, 2015


George Jennings, 11, has won a full time place at the Royal Ballet's school (The Gazette) 2015A Blackpool [England] schoolboy who first danced just three years ago has won a place at one of the country’s top ballet schools. George Jennings will move to London in September to attend the Royal Ballet’s White Lodge School – where famous ex-students include Darcey Bussell and Wayne Sleep.

The 11-year-old was picked out three years ago when he took part in Royal Ballet’s primarySTEPS workshops at Bispham Endowed Primary School, where it was suggested he audition for the Royal Ballet’s Junior Associates training scheme in Manchester – after teachers recognised the potential in his physique.

With lessons at Sylvia Conway Dance Academy, in Anchorsholme, George began to hone some classical ballet technique too and was able to join the associates two years later. ‘Immensely proud’ mum Jaki said: “Sylvia is really picky about technique, she really installs good technique in her pupils and they said his was strong. But he absolutely loves it, he lives to dance, which is quite strange as a mum and not what you expect to be the case when you have boys.”

This time last year George was appearing on stage in Matthew Bourne’s Lord Of The Flies at The Lowry in Salford. But it’s Cuban dancer Carlos Acosta who’s his main inspiration. “I feel very excited about going to White Lodge,” George said. “It’s something I really want to do, and I would like to be Carlos Acosta – he is, like, wow. I think I’ll miss my family for a couple of days but I’ll get on with it and enjoy myself while I’m there.”

And he said seeing Acosta, and other dance stars, in ballets screened at cinemas has helped inspire him to work hard to achieve his dreams. “It makes me think ‘I hope I can do that one day’,” he added.

The tough regime at White Lodge sees pupils combine regular school work with classical ballet classes, as well as character, contemporary, Irish, Morris and Scottish dancing, plus gymnastics.

George has been assessed by physiotherapists from White Lodge since he started associates classes, and his development will be monitored throughout his time at the school.

Jaki added: “They only offer 12 places, so we never imagined it would be George considering he’s only been dancing since he was eight. Sylvia’s really taken him in, and semi-adopted him – he has three lessons a week with her and her son is his best friend. She deserves so much credit.

“Since doing Lord Of The Flies, George has realised it’s OK to be a dancer because he saw how many different kinds of people were involved. He’s always been quite confident but even more so since taking up ballet, especially after Lord Of The Flies, and he has a very healthy attitude towards his ballet.”


© 2015 Johnston Publishing Ltd



A 10-year-old ballet dancer has followed in his brother’s footsteps by performing with some of the world’s top performers at the Royal Opera House.


Barking and Dagenham Post
March 21, 2015


Zayaan Rashid age10 has followed in his brother's footsteps by performing in a Royal Ballet School production 2015[London, England] – Zayaan Rashid, from Dagenham, is currently midway through an 11-night run of Swan Lake, playing two roles – a page boy, and a minion to evil sorcerer Rothbart.

A Royal Ballet School junior associate with Primary Steps, in Dagneham, Zayaan follows older brother Amaan, who performed in Sleeping Beauty last May.

“It’s been really exciting, not many people get to perform at the Royal Opera House,” he said. “I’d love to dance there professionally one day.”

Proud mum Ghazala watched the performance at a special cinema screening and was amazed by the spectacle. “The performance was mind blowing, breathtaking and pure class,” she said. “I would like to thank The Royal Ballet School and The Royal Ballet Company for giving my son a fantastic opportunity.”


© 2014 Archant Community Media Ltd


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