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Critics: ‘Boys don’t dance’

Rilee Scott had to decide whether to play rugby or do ballet next year. PHOTOS/ALEYNA MARTINEZ

Next stop: Royal New Zealand Ballet

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A group of dedicated dance teachers have turned a rep rugby player into a “versatile” classical ballet dancer many say is Masterton’s “Billy Elliot”.

Rilee Scott, a year 12 student at Kuranui College will leave one year early to embark on the next step toward his dream career at the New Zealand School of Dance in Newtown, Wellington.

Last week, Scott learned he had been accepted along with 24 others from around New Zealand and the world.

Switching to ballet from hip hop dance at 14 years old, he said the audition made him more nervous than usual.

The institution is known as a feeder school to the Royal New Zealand Ballet and drew applications from dancers from all over the world, Scott’s main ballet tutor, Nicky Madden said.

The journey to being accepted into the prestigious school had not been easy for Scott, Madden said.

Rilee Scott, right, with Geraldine Inder, 92, who is still teaching dance at her Colombo Rd studio.

She compared him with Billy Elliott, which is a story of an English boy who falls in love with ballet one day on the way to his boxing class.

Now the director of the school, which was started by her mum Geraldine Inder, Madden said Scott had become a role model for other boys there.

Madden and Inder both said a lot of Scott’s success had to do with his attitude to excel in ballet and withstand criticism at the same time.

“When I was younger, a few older guys in my family didn’t think it was manly as such.

Attending Wairarapa College and then Kuranui in Greytown, Scott said he got flak for choosing to be a ballerina instead of a rugby player.

“But he doesn’t care, he loves it,” his mother Haley-Marie Scott said.

“My advice for other boys is just to ignore what other people say and if you really like something like this just push for it.”

Now focused on his career, Scott said, “I want to be able to join a company whether that’s the Royal New Zealand Ballet to become a principal dancer in the future, after years of training obviously”.

“I’ll be getting paid for doing what I love or just becoming any kind of dancer would be amazing.”

Scott will play Mr Darling in the Geraldine Inder School of Dance and Drama’s rendition of Peter Pan.

On for three nights at the Carterton Events Centre, tickets are available on eventfinda.co.nz for October 17, 18, and 20.

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