A young Sheffield dancer has just won a place at a world-renowned ballet school to take his studies forward full time.
Cameron Cinnamond-Bland, aged 11, from Loxley, has been training since 2016 with the Royal Ballet Junior associates, going to ballet lessons in Leeds.
He has now gone on to win a prestigious scholarship at the world-class Elmhurst Ballet School in association with the Birmingham Royal Ballet.
He also attends KD Dance School in Stannington, where he has been learning to dance from the age of five.
Cameron is due to leave Sheffield and all his friends, family and everything he knows to take up his place at the Elmhurst boarding school in Birmingham to study classical ballet full-time from September.
Dance school principal Karen Reynolds has been teaching Cameron since he was five years old.
He has also studied jazz, tap and theatrecraft with her and is one of more than 100 pupils at the school.
Karen said: “Initially, he didn’t want to do ballet!
“When he joined, I was preparing a show we have every two years at The Montgomery and I put him in the ballet.
“He said he did want to do it, then he did and then didn’t and then did! I kept having to change it. He was the only boy and the girls said: ‘Where are we now?’”
Karen said that eventually something changed for Cameron. She added: “Ballet just touched something in him.”
She said that winning the place with the Royal Ballet Juniors made Cameron decide that he wanted to become a professional ballet dancer and he’s gone from strength to strength ever since.
“He’s definitely my most successful pupil so far,” said Karen, who has been principal of the school for 12 years.
“He is clearly extremely talented, having won this scholarship. They don’t give them out to many youngsters.”
Classical ballet is extremely exacting, said Karen, requiring special physicality, flexibility and a particular physique. Dancers have to show commitment as well as talent.
Cameron will be invited back to give a special performance at the school’s next Montgomery show in July next year.
He has also just been awarded a nomination to compete at the International Dance Theatre Awards, which are held in Manchester in February.
Winners get a trophy and money towards further dance training. They have to achieve a score of 90 or more to be nominated, although the score alone doesn’t guarantee a nomination.
Cameron’s mum Caroline said: “It’s a great parting gesture for Karen Reynolds at KD Dance School and a compliment for Cameron.”
Cameron has been dancing since he was three and was inspired to start by his grandmother Sheila, who had told him about her ballet days as a young girl.
He said goodbye to everyone at a recent KD Dance School leavers party on Sunday, with his teachers and dance school friends attending to give him a good luck send-off.
Cameron is also a competitive diver and has just been ranked eighth in the National Skills diving championships, representing Sheffield.
In May, Cameron took part in the North East Regional Diving Skills finals in Harrogate when Sheffield Diving’s junior section won the team trophy.
He won silver in the boys’ 12/13 years competition.