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Last Updated: Sunday, 21 November, 2004, 10:23 GMT
Rio's goal for young music stars
Rio Ferdinand
Rio won a ballet scholarship
Footballer Rio Ferdinand, who once yearned to be dancer, is auditioning youngsters for his own talent showcase.

The England and Manchester United defender says he wants to "give something back" to the community and discover talented young entertainers.

The White Chalk Talent Showcase at the Dancehouse Theatre on Sunday is open to 10 to 25-year-olds, who can sing, dance, rap or tell jokes.

One of the prizes is a contract with the star's new record label.

The showcase has been set up by Ferdinand and his business partner Courtney Richardson.

The 26-year-old - who won a five-year scholarship to the Central School of Ballet before he took up a career in football - says he can empathise with the plight of young people.

Everyone is born with a gift - something that makes them special and will set them apart from others
Rio Ferdinand
He said: "I suppose I was one of the lucky ones, because I had strong support and love from my parents and family and some good people around me.

"I feel that if I hadn't gone into football I would have definitely pursued a career in the entertainment field.

"Everyone is born with a gift - something that makes them special and will set them apart from others.

"Basically we want to help these talented individuals to recognise their talent and, in doing so, get them to channel their energies into their performing arts' skills and hopefully take them away from the possibility of getting involved in delinquent activities, low self-esteem and petty crime.

"It is sad to see so much talent go to waste."

The 30m United star performed ballet and sang and acted in school plays, after being encouraged by his father Julian to become involved in the arts.

Those performers shortlisted will take part in an performance attended by celebrities or may go through to next year's final.

Rio Ferdinand was born in London and started his career with West Ham.




SEE ALSO:
Ferdinand almost quit Spain game
19 Nov 04 |  Internationals
Rio Ferdinand's football journey
28 Apr 04 |  Features
Rio's Penalty: The Real Story
22 Mar 04 |  Real Story


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