Ballet is just as tough as any sport says Cheltenham dancer James Tibbles
BALLET is perhaps not every boy's pursuit of choice.
But for 16-year-old James Tibbles, from Charlton Kings, it is something which requires just as much passion as dedication.
The Balcarras School sixth form pupil has been practising ballet at Corraine Collins dance studios since he was 13. And with the Balletboyz coming to the Everyman Theatre tonight for a one-night performance, James admitted that his love of ballet had started with a love of theatre too.
He said: "Originally I wanted to get into musical theatre, and I thought ballet would give me a good grounding for any type of dance I might have to do in the future.
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"I've always been interested in the performing arts and going to lots of shows, and most performances have really good dancers.
"I had just gone to see Lion King at school, and thought I wanted to start to learn dancing, so I approached Corraine.
"The last few years have been really good, and I have seen massive improvement since I started.
"I've moved up the grades really quickly and I'm now doing some intermediate dancing."
He insisted the stereotype of boys doing ballet was something that was misunderstood.
He said: "I do think it's an unusual hobby for boys, but it should be encouraged because it is really tough exercise.
"It's great for developing core strength, and you have to be strong in order to do ballet.
"It was really different, and the first thing I realised was how strong you had to be and how much you had to train to get there."
James is planning to continue his interest at university level.
His teacher, Corraine Collins, who has eight male students in her 300-strong school, said James had come on in leaps and bounds and had a bright future ahead.
She added: "When James first came to us he was just a young lad who was quite interested in training in dance. We normally get little boys coming to us, when they follow their sisters to classes, but James was different. He came to us because he had an active interest in ballet, and although he started late, he has done really well."
Balletboyz are a London-based dance company comprised entirely of male dancers.