An 11-year-old boy from Harrogate has secured a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity to board at one of the most prestigious ballet schools in the world.
This September, Marcus Harvey, 11, will leave the peaceful village of Hampsthwaite to study at the lower school of the Royal Ballet, White Lodge.
But this young boy, who has been dancing for five and a half years now, only took up ballet by chance.
Marcus’s mum, Andrea said: “He got into it because it was out of the football season and he came along to watch one of his sister’s ballet classes.
“He saw there were other boys and he asked me if he could have a go at it. He just totally loved it from the very start.”
From that time, Marcus faced examinations every other year to reach a new grade.
But one year, Andrea said it was the examiners who turned to Marcus’s teacher and said he had to be sent to the Royal Ballet to become a junior associate.
Late to audition for his spot, Marcus faced 1,300 other children auditioning for just three spots available - and he secured one of them.
At the start of this year, Marcus took the next step, which was to audition to study as a mid associate, but there was a small problem.
Andrea explained: “The centre for mid associate girls is in Manchester but for boys it’s training once a week at Covent Gardens in London.
“That just wasn’t an option, there was no way we could have committed to that, so it was White Lodge or nothing.”
After an initial audition for the school in January, Marcus was invited for a final audition in March and was accepted; an opportunity afforded to just 12 boys worldwide, each year.
Now all that is left is for Marcus to do is enjoy some family time before he leaves to board at the end of summer.
Andrea said: “There was no disputing how good he was at it naturally from the very start. He just shone on the stage.
“I had people coming up to me and saying your Marcus is fantastic and I started thinking I’m not just biased he is actually really really good.
She added: “We are so proud of him and how he has taken to it so naturally and positively. We haven’t forced him at all.
“He’s my first born out of three so we are really close me and Marcus, and I will really miss him. But I know I have to put my own feelings aside because it’s a fantastic opportunity for him. I’m sad that he’s leaving but it’s a once in a lifetime achievement and he’s done so well to get here.”