An Irish teenager who has been nicknamed ‘Ireland’s answer to Billy Elliott’, is heading to Scotland to perform ballet at the famous Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Gearóid Solan, is the first male ballet dancer from Ireland to earn a place in London’s Royal Ballet senior school for 30 years.
The 16-year-old from Co Meath said that he is working too hard to be able to enjoy the summer with his friends and admits it is hard not to be outside playing football with them.
Gearóid told the Irish Mirror: “Ballet school life is going really well. I’m on a mid-term break and I flew back from London last week.
“I’m about to go into the third term of first year – but it’s horrible coming back and all my friends are finished school for the summer.
“The hours are different there – it’s a huge step up from what I was doing here in Ireland. I dance for much longer hours each day and my stamina has gone up.
“I enjoy being away from home and it makes me appreciate home coming back once a month.
“I have made a lot of friends at school in London. We are all living together, and we are with each other the whole time now. What we are going through is tough, it’s not easy over there.”
Gearóid works hard practising from 8.30am until 6pm every day and all the hours he puts in will be worth it in August.
He will take part in a section of the ‘Dance-Forms 72nd International Choreographers’ Showcase called ‘Illuminated Passages’, at the Edinburgh Fringe.
He has also caught the eye of experienced professionals such as Former NYC dancer and choreographer, Lauren Spiers.
Spiers had written her own show which had one role for a male dancer and when she spotted Gearóid performing at Dublin’s Dance House and knew that he was the man for the job.
Gearóid says it is worth missing out on enjoying the holidays because of the chance to be a part of the world’s biggest arts festival.
He said: “Being part of the Edinburgh Fringe will be a great experience for me because I’ll be surrounded by a lot of different art forms. I’ve never been before, I’ve never even been to an arts festival, so it’s a big deal for me,” he said.
“My mum might come over for the week, I’m performing. I’ll be doing what I love and its great exposure for me.”
He added that it would be great to one day perform ballet on famous stages in London or New York. He said: “I will go wherever is meant for me and wherever I am happy.”