Toby gains place at Royal Ballet School

HE stops short of calling Billy Elliott his idol, but if his career in ballet follows the fortunes of the film character it would be the fulfilment of a dancing dream for Toby Mallitt.

HE stops short of calling Billy Elliott his idol, but if his career in ballet follows the fortunes of the film character it would be the fulfilment of a dancing dream for Toby Mallitt.

The 14-year-old from Ipswich hopes to become a professional dancer and is celebrating gaining a prestigious placement at the Royal Ballet School in London.

Toby, of Britannia Road, impressed in auditions last month and starts a course of 18 classes in September.

"There are only a certain number of places so I was amazed when I found out I had got in – I just thought 'wow'. I'm really looking forward to it," he said.


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Toby began learning ballet six years ago and has four classes a week at the Linda Shipton School of Dancing. He is a former member of the Co-op Juniors and hopes to forge a full-time career in ballet.

"I've seen the film Billy Elliott a few times and, although I wouldn't say he was my idol, that's what I want to do. I'd like to be like that. My dance teacher thought I was good enough to put me through the audition and now hopefully I can improve my ability further."

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The teenager, a pupil at St Albans High School, Ipswich, will travel to London for two-and-a-half hour classes every other Saturday when the placement begins.

He hopes to build on that by progressing to the upper school of the Royal Ballet, which is soon to move to Covent Garden from Barons Court.

Toby said he had feared his friends might have poked fun at his interest in ballet. "I used to think they would take the mickey – but they don't mind at all. They are really good about it," he said.

Following his audition triumph, it promises to be a summer of eager anticipation for Toby, who lives with his parents Jillian and Lee and has an older brother, Oliver, 18, and older sister, Lucy, 20.

"I've always wanted to have a career in ballet and I can't wait to get started at the Royal Ballet," said Toby, who added he was keen to see more of his peers show an interest in the female-dominated style of

dancing.

"Despite the success of Billy Elliott, it's still different for boys than it is for girls and there are not many boys – certainly not of my age – who take up ballet. I think it's definitely a good time for more boys to get involved."

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