County’s ‘Billy Elliot’ treads in the footsteps to stardom

Banbury Cake: Bobby Ratcliffe Buy this photo Bobby Ratcliffe

A BALLET dancer who dreams of dancing the world’s stages is set to join a top London performing arts school.

Ten-year-old Bobby Ratcliffe will follow in the footsteps of super model Naomi Campbell and the lead singer of Genesis Phil Collins when he starts lessons at the Barbara Speake Stage School in London.

The Banbury youngster has also landed himself a second audition for the hit London musical Billy Elliot.

Bobby said: “I used to be the only boy in my class. People say ballet is not for boys, but it is. I just ignore them and just get on with it. I would like to prove them all wrong and I am very excited to go to dance school.

“I want to be a professional ballet dancer. I love singing as well. I like to sing ballet songs and pop songs and any songs that just come to me as I sing them.”

Bobby was one of 180 young people at the first audition at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, He was thrilled to get a callback to play the role of Billy Elliot’s best friend Michael and will be one of 25 young hopefuls at auditions at the end of the month.

The St John’s Priory School pupil has regular lessons at the Susan Taylor Dance Academy in Banbury, where for a long time, he was the only male pupil in attendance.

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He said: “I started dancing when I was three years old.

“It is really exciting news. I think Billy Elliot is really funny. The dancing is really good and the acting is great.

“I would like to travel all over the world and dance.”

Bobby is one of two pupils who has been awarded a scholarship for the Barbara Speake Stage School in East Acton, and will start classes in September.

Pupils study at the performing arts school until the age of 16.

Proud mum Hayley Thompson, 31, who works in child protection at the Warriner School in Bloxham, said: “He has always been a dancer.

“He does ballet and modern and he just really enjoys it.

“He is constantly watching the movie of Billy Elliot which I now regret buying for him. He has the CD as well and he has started watching the film again to prepare for the audition. I am really proud of him and try to encourage him with his dancing.”

Bobby dreams of starring in the stage production of the film and joked that his favourite moments were watching Billy in his boxing gloves take on his first dance lesson.

He said: “It makes me laugh and it is very funny.”

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