Boys only ballet school in Islington goes nationwide

Members of the school

Members of the school - Credit: Archant

The UK’s first boys only ballet school, which opened its doors in Islington 18 months ago, is expanding UK wide.

James Anthony, 34, the founder of the London Boys Ballet School expressed his pride, and said he hopes that eventually ballet for boys will be as common a hobby as football.

He said: “It’s the achievement of 100 boys coming into the ballet world. It is really quite something. In most ballet schools you would only have one or two boys, if you are lucky.”

Mr Anthony admitted that drumming up attendance for the classes, which take place at the Urdang 2 University in Goswell Road, was a struggle at first – but now attendance is fit to burst and soon calls were coming in from all around the country.

“I had lots of interest from people outside of London. I had loads of phone calls from people saying ‘I hope you can come here soon’. That’s what made me think it was possible,” he said.

Mr Anthony has already been travelling the country rounding up boys who are keen to learn the art of ballet.

“I’ve got some kids ready to go,” he said, “it’s just a case of sorting the venues.”

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The classes have already opened in Mr Anthony’s home town of Swansea. The next will be beginning in Cardiff in the next four weeks, after which the founder has his eyes set on Edinburgh, Manchester and Bristol.

Mr Anthony started ballet himself aged 28, and now he wants to show boys of all ages that they shouldn’t be embarrassed to follow their passion.

He said: “Lots of boys want to dance. A lot of them have done ballet at school and love it, but eventually they will leave because they are the only boy in the ballet class. It’s demoralising.”

He suggests that all boys’ classes are more focused than mixed gender groups.

“Girls often go to ballet classes because it’s the done thing but because it’s not the done thing for the boys they all really want to be there. It’s very inspiring.”