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Sunday, 14 April, 2002, 11:04 GMT 12:04 UK
Boys 'inspired' by Billy Elliot
Jamie Bell won a Bafta for his performance
Jamie Bell won a Bafta for his performance
For the first time ever the Royal Ballet has taken in more boys than girls thanks to the success of the film Billy Elliot, according to reports.

Two years after the story of a miner's son who becomes a ballet dancer hit movie screens, this year's intake at the Royal Ballet's junior and senior schools comprises 14 boys and 10 girls, reports the Sunday Telegraph.


People have realised that male dancers can be equally stunning to watch

Gailene Stock, Royal Ballet
Billy Elliot was set in a northern town during the 1984 miners' strike.

It told the story of a young working class boy who chose not to follow his widowed father's instructions that he should train to be a boxer.

The BBC-backed film was a box office hit on both sides of the Atlantic and star Jamie Bell earned a Bafta award for his performance.

Gailene Stock, director of the Royal Ballet School, said the increase in boys taking up ballet was down to the movie.

She said: "There has been a significant increase in the number of boys who want full-time training and are willing to take on ballet as a vocation.

'Stunning'

"A number of boys at the school have said that Billy Elliot made them feel more comfortable about telling people they are ballet dancers."

She said stars such as Rudolf Nureyev and all-male versions of ballets such as Swan Lake proved male dancers were more than mere "porteurs" (carriers) for ballerinas.

Julie Walters was Oscar-nominated
Julie Walters was Oscar-nominated
"People have realised that male dancers can be equally stunning to watch," she told the paper.

John Bottomley, 12, in his first year at the Royal Ballet School, told the newspaper the film had a powerful effect on him.

He said: "Up until that film came out many boys had this view of a male dancer which was wrong.

"I love football and rugby but when I started doing ballet I realised that doing it was more masculine than anything else."

See also:

05 Mar 02 | Education
'Billy Elliot' access scheme widened
14 Dec 01 | Reviews
Royal Ballet's moving Onegin
27 Sep 00 | Real Time
Who wants to be a boy dancer?
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