Being accepted into a national ballet school or the UK’s oldest theatre company would be a dream come true for most aspiring performers but for Daniel Clelland it’s a dilemma - which one to choose!
Sixteen-year-old Daniel has been accepted by both the Northern Ballet School and the Italia Conti School and 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.
Daniel, who lives in Paxton, goes to Berwick Academy, and 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 which presents full-length classical ballets in regional theatres, bringing opportunities to young dancers outside of London to perform within a professional setting) special prize for his Spanish dance in Swan Lake.
Daniel also took part in Scottish Ballet’s Hansel and Gretel 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 Keenan, 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 said this week that he was still mulling over the amazing opportunity. He told us: “Obviously, the Italia Conti School is very famous, and it offers so many amazing chances to dancers, being in London, but then the Northern Ballet is in Manchester, which is a great place to be a student.”
Most of all, he says he is grateful for the help from his school, who have allowed him time of to rehearse and travel.
“They’ve been really great about everything,” he said.
He also appreciates the efforts of his teacher Jane Keenan, who this week 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 has also helped change the face of dance in the area. The number of boys taking ballet classes has increased in recent years and having been the sole male representative in his dance classes Daniel can take some credit for making ballet an acceptable choice which can lead to a career onstage.