In The Footsteps of Billy Elliot

In The Footsteps of Billy Elliot

When Kyle Symon decided to switch from being a keen swimmer to take his first tentative steps in tap, little could he have imagined that seven years later he was on course to become a professional dancer. Kyle, whose mum Lesley is a receptionist in the Oncology Unit at Forth Valley Royal Hospital, beat off tough competition to gain a coveted place at the prestigious Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, now ranked third best in the world. He was one of 12 dancers chosen from more than 500 entrants, but as Lesley explains, the road to the top has been not only gruelling at times, but a testament to his commitment.

“His body hurts; he puts himself through a lot. He goes swimming once a week and runs a couple of times, he is so focused. He belongs to two dance schools, attends classes every day and also dances on a Saturday.

“He could do a Billy Elliott no problem. His tap is incredible and Kyle has always said he wants to dance with the Bolshoi Ballet Company. How realistic that is, I don’t know but it’s testament to his character that he has pushed and pushed to get where he is.”

Kyle’s love affair with dance didn’t begin until he was in Primary 7, quite old for someone with an ambition to become a professional dancer, as many kids start at the age of three. But dancing is in his blood. His grandfather, his grandfather’s brother and his son, were all male dancers. The decision to follow in their footsteps was inspired after he had seen a film starring Gene Kelly and said he just wanted to dance.

Lesley thought Kyle’s enthusiasm wouldn’t last but two months after starting tap, his school put on a show. “Having an audience, cheering him on was electricity for him.” she recalls. “Six months later he had taken up ballet to increase his repertoire. Ballet is a love affair for him.”

For many years Lesley was a keep fit instructor and taught aerobics, but then her children’s activities took over her life. Another son Lewis is a boxer, and her eldest son David swam at national level. He became a civil engineer but is now going back to University to become a PE teacher.

Lesley is now looking forward to a little relaxation but is fiercely proud of what her boys have achieved. She said: “Your heart bursts really, especially when they win. It’s wonderful to be able to do a job that you love and not just because you need the money.”

Summer 2017 News