August 23, 2008

Dancer Faces a Big Next Step

By WILLIAM TELFORD Herald Reporter

Gotta dance! Talented Lewis Calcutt will be doing the hot shoe shuffle all the way to a brand-new theatre school this autumn.

The teenager from Crownhill is just one of 30 budding stage stars to land a place at the pounds2million Performers College, in Essex.

Lewis, aged 16, was selected from 800 hopefuls at a rigorous audition and is stepping out on a course he hopes will lead to a career in West End musicals.

The former Eggbuckland Community College pupil is a star at ballet, tap, modern, jazz and street dancing.

From next month he will study for a one-year vocational foundation course in the performing arts, mostly learning dance but also acting and singing.

"I can't wait to start," he told The Herald.

"You get to meet famous choreographers."

After completing the course he says he hopes to take a three- year national diploma, either at Performers College or a top London dance academy, and aspires one day to perform in top West End musicals, such as Wicked, Hairspray or Mamma Mia, which he names as among his favourites.

After that, he'd like to work as a choreographer.

It's a career path which began when Lewis was just three, after watching his aunt tap-dancing in a Dell School of Dance production.

"I said to my mum: 'I want to do that'," he recalled.

"My aunt bought me my first pair of tap shoes.

"Then I saw people doing ballet and wanted to do that as well."

Lewis danced with Plymouth's Dell School, the Debra Bond Dance Academy and Stagecoach Theatre Arts, where he added singing and acting to his repertoire.

He put in hours of practice, and said: "Most nights I was dancing after school."

Lewis has already been seen on stage in Plymouth, performing in this year's Music of the Night show and in the Millennium Spectacular which was put on at the Theatre Royal in 2000.

He was also one of just 15 Stagecoach students chosen to entertain at Her Majesty's Royal Theatre in London.

Performers College, in Corringham, near Stanford-le- Hope, is a purpose-built independent further education college for the performing arts, which features eight dance and drama studios, three music studios, a Pilates studio, a library/computer centre and a physiotherapy department.

The course fee is pounds6,000 and Lewis still needs to raise half of this. If you can help him with sponsorship ring him on 01752 701624.

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