BUDDING Billy Elliots have leapt to glory in a new dance show which has taken the stage by storm.
Young Wearside dancers are appearing in legendary choreographer Matthew Bourne’s production of Lord of the Flies.
Many artists see it as the pinnacle of their career to appear in a Bourne show, which are famed for their fantastical take on classic tales such as Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty..
And now fledgeling dancers Joseph Wright, 20, from Roker, and Jack Hindmarch, 13, from Washington, have been given the chance of a lifetime.
Over the next week, they’ll be taking part in intense rehearsals with professional dancers from the show ahead of opening night at Theatre Royal, Newcastle.
After a lengthy selection process, they were selected from hundreds of auditionees for the Tyneside leg of the tour.
Joseph, a former St Aidan’s School pupil, said: “I’ve been dancing since I was 17, in ballet and contemporary. Matthew is a big name to live up to, but it’s a great challenge. I read Lord of the Flies in school, but Matthew has set it in a theatre, instead of a desert island.
“When I was at school I never used to say I danced, but there seems less of a stigma about boys dancing now, and shows like this really help.”
Jack, from Washington Village, said: “I dance with the theatre school at Gala Durham in everything from contemporary to ballet to jazz and tap. I heard about this and thought it would be a great opportunity. My mam couldn’t stop texting when she found out I’d got through.”
The St Robert of Newminster pupil added: “We had the initial audition workshops in July and we’ve been rehearsing for about a month now.”
In total, sixteen boys, aged ten to 21, from across the region have been chosen to appear in the collaboration between professional dancers and young people, including John Hansford, 19, from Peterlee who taught himself to break dance.
The show features author William Golding’s famous characters Ralph, Piggy, Jack and the boys who, after being deserted, create their own rules and civilisation.
Matthew Bourne said: “Lord of the Flies is a project never before mounted on the large-scale. This unique collaboration between my production company, New Adventures, and charity, Re:Bourne will enable young people and their families across the North East to experience dance at close hand, and for many, for the very first time.
“Our outstanding company of professional dancers will inspire and nurture the young cast which will not only be exciting, but for some, life-changing”.
Kate Pilbeam, one of two Lord of the Flies ambassadors who have led workshops to unearth the young talent, said: “We have met so many talented boys and young men over the last few weeks.
“It has been amazing watching them dance and we’ve been so impressed by the level of talent. This has made it very difficult to make a final decision, however, we are confident that we have found 16 brilliant young dancers who will be excellent cast members.”
l Lord of the Flies appears at Newcastle Theatre Royal from November 5-8. Tickets are from £11.50 from Tel. 08448 112121.