A ten-year-old dancer from Banbury has beaten competition from hundreds of others to earn a place at a dance school in London.
Bobby Ratcliffe attends St John’s Priory School but has now been awarded one of two available scholarships at the Barbara Speake Stage School. He will start in August and will be there until he is 16.
Hayley Thompson, Bobby’s mum, said: “I am really proud of him because he has worked really hard for such a long time.
“The school has been really supportive in everything Bobby has done and he really deserves this opportunity.” Bobby started dancing at Susan Taylor Dancing on Calthorpe Street, Banbury, when he was three and is now competent in ballet, tap, modern and body conditioning.
While at the Barbara Speake School, Bobby will complete his academic studies three days a week and do performing arts for two days.
It has already been a busy year for him because as well as earning a full scholarship at Barbara Speake, Bobby is one of 25 dancers battling it out for the part of Michael in the West End production of Billy Elliot The Musical. He has also been asked to audition for the role of Charlie in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Ms Thompson added: “Bobby is constantly watching the Billy Elliot film and learning all the songs and practicing all the routines.
“He really wants this part and I’m really proud of what he has achieved in such a short space of time. It has filled him with lots of inspiration and he keeps saying he wants to dance all around the world!”
Despite his young age, Bobby has ambitions to one day became a ballet dancer and this summer will attend a programme with the Royal Ballet School in London. He is also training with the London Russian Ballet once a week after being invited in January.
Ms Thompson added: “The last Billy Elliot audition was really tough as Bobby had to sing and dance to a panel of five judges, including Mrs Speake herself.”