Cleckheaton’s very own Billy Elliot has danced his way into a school for talented performers.
Rhys Williams may only be eight years old but, after his dance teacher noticed his potential, he was given the chance to impress judges at the Royal Ballet in Leeds.
He was then picked from a number of young hopefuls to train weekly at the prestigious dance school.
Rhys, who specialises in tap and modern dance, began dancing two years ago at the Elaine Howarth Centre Stage Dance School, and Elaine said he stood out from an early age.
She said: “He showed a lot of potential when he started and we could tell he was gifted.
“We don’t get boys in this dance school too often, but I would say he’s among the most gifted boys I have ever taught.
“Rhys is just so full of energy, and is able to do a really diverse range of styles because he dances so well. I am sure he will go really far.”
Rhys also sings and takes part in gymnastics, and his mother, Claire, said it was testament to Rhys’s personable and energetic nature.
She said: “I am very proud of Rhys. He has never been one of those lads who was into football – he has a natural ability for dancing so I am so pleased he has gone for it.”
“He is very energetic and full of beans – he loves to talk and he likes to let everyone know he is there!”
Rhys will be put through his paces at the Royal Ballet School in Leeds every Saturday afternoon from September.
The Heaton Avenue Primary School pupil said: “I’d love to be a dancer when I am older, and I am excited to get into the Royal Ballet, because I will get a chance to learn dance moves I haven’t done before.”
Rhys is determined to succeed and added: “I would like to make sure I stay with the Royal Ballet – I think it will be really hard work, but I like a challenge.”
Rhys also plans to continue his training at the Elaine Howarth Centre Stage School of Dance.