Dagenham’s own ‘Billy Elliot’ in TV debut
PUBLISHED: 12:11 01 July 2011 | UPDATED: 12:25 01 July 2011
»An 11-year-old ballet dancer from Dagenham has appeared in a documentary about inspirational young people in Britain.
Sam Lee featured in last Wednesday’s The Kids are Alright, a one-off ITV programme focusing on the lives and extraordinary achievements of youngsters.
The former William Ford pupil has been a full time student at the prestigious Royal Ballet School since September 2010, when he beat competition from around 1,000 youngsters to land one of 12 places in his year.
Sam had previously taken part in the Royal Ballet School’s primarySTEPS programme in Dagenham, an initiative designed to introduce young people to dance for the first time in parts of the country where access to the arts is difficult.
He is the first ever primarySTEPS participant to join the school full-timel.
Speaking on the documentary, Sam said he loves ballet and wants others to realise it is “fun and enjoyable”.
“And it’s for boys,” he added. “Some friends didn’t seem to like me after they realised that I wanted to do ballet. But it’s just like football.”
The youngster lives at the school in Richmond during the week and spends two hours every morning dancing, before normal lessons.
At the end of each year all of the dancers must audition for a place the following year, so Sam knows he must work hard if he wants to stay on.
His ultimate dream is to become a professional ballet dancer like his hero – renowned Cuban Carlos Acosta – who paid a visit to the school during filming.
A spokesman from the Royal Ballet School said: “From the start, Sam’s natural talent and passion for dance clearly stood out and, as such, The Royal Ballet School’s primarySTEPS programme encouraged and supported his family to finds ways of developing this talent.
“He made history in September when he became the first young person ever to gain a full time place as a result of being introduced to dance via primarySTEPS.”
For more on primarySTEPS go to the Royal Ballet School website, www.royal-ballet-school.org.uk.
To watch The Kids Are Alright go to www.itv.com/itvplayer.
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