Daniel has the world at his feet

Being accepted into a national ballet school or the UK's oldest theatre company has turned into a dilemma for Daniel Clelland '“ which one to choose!

Saturday, 26th March 2016, 11:00 am
Daniel Clelland dancing Alain in a production of La Fille mal Gardée at the Maltings.

Sixteen-year-old Daniel has been accepted by both the Northern Ballet School and the Italia Conti school.

So he now faces having to make a decision about which will offer the best opportunity for him as he stands on the brink of a professional career in dance.

Of course, it is actually a dream come true forDaniel, who has been taking ballet lessons at the Jane Keenan School of Ballet since he was six years old.

His passion for dance has seen him perform in the English Youth Ballet production of Coppelia in 2011 and Swan Lake in 2012 in Newcastle – he even won the Janet Lewis (the founder of English Youth Ballet) special prize for his Spanish dance in Swan Lake.

Daniel also took part in Scottish Ballet’s Hansel and Gretal at the Festival Theatre, Edinburgh, after which he was invited to audition for Scottish Ballet Senior Associates.

So for the past two years, as well as continuing his Berwick classes with Jane, Daniel has been up at 5am every Saturday for extra classes at Scottish Ballet in Glasgow alongside other students chosen from all over Scotland.

Daniel, a student at Berwick Academy, said this week that he was still mulling over the amazing opportunity.

“Obviously, the Italia Conti School is very famous, and it offers so many amazing chances to dancers, being in London,” he said. “But then the Northern Ballet is in Manchester, which is a great place to be a student.”

Most of all, though, he says he is grateful for the help from his school, which has allowed him time off to rehearse and travel.

“They’ve been really great about everything,” he said.

He also appreciates the efforts of his teacher Jane, who said: “Daniel has been an absolute pleasure to teach and his complete dedication and total commitment augur a stunning future.

“I send him on with great confidence and joy.”

Daniel first started dance classes in 2006 at Paxton Village Hall with former dance teacher Gemma Gillie. He loved it so much that he started going to ballet lessons with Jane.

Daniel, who lives in Paxton, has also helped change the face of dance in the area.

The number of boys taking ballet classes has been steadily increasing in recent years and having been the sole male representative in the early days of his dance classes, Daniel can take some credit for leading the way and making ballet an acceptable choice which can lead to a career on the stage.