Gymnast joins the boys from the ballet

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Forget Billy Elliot, as Ryan McMurtry discovers the BalletBoyz do dance a little differently.

IT’s a little over 10 years since Michael Nunn and William Trevitt left the Royal Ballet and the comfort of being leading dancers in a world renowned company.

BalletBoyz was an assault on the traditional world of dance and a decade on, the pair are now passing the baton on to a new generation of male dancers.

One of the company’s new shining lights is Yorkshire’s Anthony Middleton, a former Great Britain gymnast who won a bronze medal in the 2003 World Championships, but became inspired by the prospect of a career in dance.

“I saw a production by a company called DV8 and I was blown away by it,” he says. “The strength they required and the movement was like nothing I had ever seen before. ”

Born and raised in Pontefract, Anthony attended Barnsley College before moving on to the School of Contemporary Dance which eventually led to the BalletBoyz audition. He was chosen, along with seven others, as the foundation for the company’s next generation. Current show Talent, which comes to Yorkshire for the first time this weekend, has already received impressive reviews.

Their unforgiving training has set the group in good stead to deal with the show’s three routines. The first is Russell Maliphant’s Torsion, initially Nunn and Trevitt’s signature routine which has been reworked for six dancers. The second is Alpha, by Britain’s Got Talent choreographer Paul Roberts, who has also worked on videos for the likes of Robbie Williams and Diana Ross and the third, Void, is by debut Czech choreographer Jarek Cemerek.

“Rehearsals are very strict,” says Anthony. “Everything here is very rigorous. Sessions are so precise and that is actually quite refreshing in comparison to my traditional ballet training at the Contemporary School of Arts, where everything is more free and loose.”

Aside from the tour, Anthony is also developing his own work through the Middleton Corpus. He has big plans in the world of dance, but for now he is more than happy to be part of one of the most talked about young dance groups in the country.

“I’m really enjoying being part of BalletBoyz at the moment. I’m happy to just take it as it goes, but obviously I’m always looking around. When I feel I have learned everything I can from BalletBoyz, then I will think about moving on, but I suspect that will be quite a while from now.”

BalletBoyz will be performing at York Grand Opera House tomorrow. 0844 847 2322.

On the lookout for performers

BalletBoyZ is once again looking for experienced dancers for a new show, which will begin in May and run to 2013.

Those interested should send a brief CV and one headshot only to The closing date for submissions is May 6. For full details visit the website at