Real-life Billy Elliot takes on the world in prestigious competitions
The Black Country’s answer to Billy Elliot is taking his dancing worldwide for the finals of a prestigious competition.
His namesake Billy Ellitts, from Wednesfield, Wolverhampton, has overcome bullying to follow his dreams in ballet.
The 12-year-old studies at Coppice Performing Arts School in Wolverhampton, trains at Jordon School of Dance in Halesowen, and is a member of the Birmingham Royal Ballet and the next stage of his career is taking him to Portugal for a worldwide competition.
But his journey started in Wolverhampton when the youngster was taken from school and introduced into pantomimes at The Grand Theatre with his un-identical twin Kane.
He was part of the ensemble alongside Julian Clary in 2014 for Cinderella and then went on to perform in a production of Aladdin and Peter Pan, which starred the Chuckle Brothers.
His father Craig, aged 48, said: “He was just dancing at home and someone mentioned he should go to a school to do it and before we knew it, he was performing in panto’s at The Grand.
“He fell in love with it, he gets up and dances, and goes to bed dancing, it’s all he does.”
Now, Billy goes through a gruelling schedule of around 19 hours of training a week that has set him on his path towards a world final.
The youngster will perform against some of the world’s best in his age group when he travels to Braga, Portugal for the World Finals 2019 of the Dance World Cup.
He’s set to compete in two solo dances, showdance and ballet, and in a group dance as a team of four performing a jazz number, and his father Craig Spencer is hoping he’ll return to Wolverhampton as world champion.
He said: “We’re massively proud of him, how great will it be for him to get a job in something he loves, to follow his dreams, it must be fantastic.
“It’s snowballed over the last 18 months and his name is getting out there now in the dancing world, I’m in tears when I see him go and perform and what he’s done.
“He loves to dance, I’ve never seen a passion like it, he’s so dedicated.
“We weren’t sure if he’d make it through to the competition finals, but he got straight through, it was unexpected.
“I want him to come back as world champion but all the other children want the same thing too, but to represent his country is something special in itself.”
His mother Anita Babb, aged 47, added: “To be asked to represent his country his amazing, it’s all happened so fast and the dance school have done an excellent job in bringing him on.”
Billy’s journey to the top hasn’t been a smooth ride however, as he’s had to battle with bullies targeting him for being a boy who enjoys to dance.
And much like the famous story of Billy Elliot, Wolverhampton’s Billy overcame the name calling to follow his dreams.
Craig added: “It was tough for him being a lad, he’s overcome bullying and horrible things being said about him on social media.
“Some people have called him gay for dancing, but he takes no notice and carries on.
“He’s been places before where he’s had to get changed in the toilets if he’s the only lad and there’s no provisions for him, it’s tough.
“Me and my wife Anita run two jobs each to fund him and his dreams are our dreams now, hopefully he can go far, he was born to dance.”
Anita added: “We still get it now but at one point the bullying was horrendous, but it’s just made him stronger.
“He’s following his dreams, we’re so proud, he’s something else.”