An Ellesmere Port mother has been talking about her son's ambition to become a professional ballet dancer and how it lead them to Cheshire.

Jane and William Roberts had been living in Lancaster but moved to Ellesmere Port after her son achieved a music and dance scholarship to The Hammond School for Performing Arts in Chester, but their journey actually began some years before.

"It’s always been as soon as he hears a bit of music, he starts moving. It’s very natural to him, we followed his lead rather than planning to get into all of these things. He’s just a natural.

"My Dad remembers a friend saying to him ‘oh he’s a little music and dance man that boy’ when he was about four."

Ms. Roberts remembers her son performing to Walk Like An Egyptian by The Bangles as one of his earliest dancing memories.

"He went for it. You could just tell, he was in the moment. He [then] started lessons when he was about six for ballet and tap."

Chester and District Standard: William's mum says that his talent was evident from a young age.William's mum says that his talent was evident from a young age. William, who is now 13, settled at Rigney Bank Ballet School in Milnthorpe, Cumbria where he began to excel. It was there that Principal, Jayne Mills, suggested he consider the prestigious Chester specialist school.

"Without her, I don't think we'd be here now," Ms. Roberts said. "I could see straight away that he'd come on leaps and bounds."

"We went for The Hammond when we were in Lancaster, and only applied to there. He wasn't on the waiting list, but because of his talent he got offered an MDS, which is a Music and Dance Scholarship. I mean that was amazing, we couldn't believe it."

Whilst his mum was delighted that he could continue to pursue his dream, William's time there has not been without challenges. William had initially boarded with the school but the distance, together with the difficulties of the pandemic meant serious disruption to his routine. Ms. Roberts said that the choice was either to move closer to her son or to take him out of the school, and so she made the difficult decision to leave her friends and family in Lancaster.

He has since been offered a place on a Masters of Ballet Easter Course, and has been invited to Kings International Ballet Company to see their facilities with a view to attending their sixth-from in future.

As a single-parent family, even with William's scholarship, it has been difficult at times to afford the training and classes needed to progress. So his mum began a gofundme page for other expenses like extra lessons and travel and accommodation for seasonal Ballet schools.

"The money worries come in because it is so expensive, [we] can’t afford lots and lots of lessons. It was very stressful thinking about what I could do for him to make sure he gets what he needs.

"He’s such a lovely boy. He’s humble and he’s not a showy child, which is lovely because when he dances he just comes alive, you see this part of him that you may not [see]. He loves it."

Having now settled in the area, William is one of only four male dancers in his class, and one of only two likely to go on to do classical ballet. Whilst his mum says that he is reluctant at times to dream "too big" his ambition is undoubtedly to become a professional.

"He wants to be the best that he can be, he knows that there’s opportunities to travel the world. I know that he would love to be in the American Ballet Theatre Company, that is a little dream of his."

William's gofundme page can be found here.