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Suffolk's answer to Billy Elliott

PUBLISHED: 16:46 04 February 2002 | UPDATED: 15:25 03 March 2010

MEET Shane Button - Suffolk's answer to Billy Elliott!

At just 12, the Ipswich youngster, a Copleston High School pupil, has already proved himself as a talented ballet dancer.

MEET Shane Button – Suffolk's answer to Billy Elliott!

At just 12, the Ipswich youngster, a Copleston High School pupil, has already proved himself as a talented ballet dancer. Now he has won a £5,000 bursary to help develop his skills over the next five years.

"The money will mean I can carry on with dancing and go to summer school in Yorkshire where I'll be able to train with other boys," said Shane, whose ambition is to become a professional dancer.

He has been awarded the grant by Hadleigh-based company Curriculum Publishing, who wanted to support a gifted local youngster and asked schools to put in applications.

Around 50 names were put forward but the expert panel decided on Shane, and Suffolk's director of education, David Peachey, presented him with his award, "He has shown he has talent and commitment, and, with all the support he is already receiving from his parents, we know he will make the most of our money," said the firm's managing partner, Roger Cleeve.

Shane's form teacher at Copleston, Mike Froud, was delighted with his success. "Shane puts his heart and soul into his love of ballet," he said.

"He has worked very hard to achieve his present success, has a strong ambition and knows where he would like to go with this."

He added that Shane was a lively lad who got on well with his classmates, and a keen football fan - although he supports Manchester United rather than Ipswich Town!

Shane goes to dance classes four times a week. He at tends classes run by the Angela Rowe Dance School at Alan Road Methodist Church and also trains at Northgate Arts Centre under the Suffolk Dance scholarship scheme.

"I've seen Billy Elliott - I thought it was quite true to life and I am looking forward to seeing the school which Billy goes to in the film," said Shane.

Shane has been dancing for eight years, since he was only four, and has already danced with the National Youth Ballet in London, where he met superstar Wayne Sleep.

The youngster also appeared at the famous Sadlers Wells theatre in their production of Toad, based on Kenneth Grahame's classic Wind in the Willows, and he has danced at theatres in Croydon and Manchester and at London's Royal Albert Hall.

He has also appeared on Blue Peter - and is the proud possessor of two of the show's famous badges!

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