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Callum McMillan: Ballet student

Callum McMillan

16-year-old Callum McMillan moved from Glasgow to London in September to study ballet at the Central School of Ballet.

When did you start dancing?

I was four and I went along to my local dance school to see my cousin go for her first dance class. The dance teacher recognised my Mum because she had gone there when she was younger and she asked if I was joining the class but I said my Mum wouldn’t let me. It turned out that I had never actually asked to go to dance before but then she said I could go. From that day that was it. Going through primary school my Mum was always trying to get me to do other sports because dance was taking up so much money but I kept choosing dance and it stuck.

How did you decide that you wanted to dance full time?

When I was 10 I auditioned for the Dance School of Scotland and got a place there. I thought it would be a bit more classes than usual but it was classes all day every day. It didn’t take me long to realise this was what I wanted to do. Then I auditioned for Central when I was 11, but I never thought I would get in. I only went first for an open day class and then they invited me back for a final audition. When the letter came through it was a real shock. It was only when I went for final auditions did I think that I might have a chance, and then I got in and I moved down to London in September to study here.

What is a typical day for you?

We do two hours of ballet every morning, that’s compulsory, from 8.45 to 10.45. After that we’ll usually have contemporary class, which is actually really good, and sometimes we’ll have choreography classes. That will be helpful for when we start doing shows. The school also offers an A-Level course to continue to do that but going into that and coping with the move from Scotland I think would have been too much, so I just focus on my dance. It’s great because ballet is definitely the one I enjoy but it may not be the one I am most capable at in the long run, so to try different things out is great.

Is it important to you that you are also prepared for what life will be like after you leave?

I think having that knowledge behind you is so important. Knowing that you can walk into an interview and have the experience of what they’re going to ask you is essential. When I auditioned I was so nervous but now if I was to go to an audition I would know what I was doing a lot more. In the third year here you go on tour around England doing a show. That’s to introduce you into the career of dance, which I’m really looking forward to.

Where do you see yourself in a few years time?

I would really like to go abroad, maybe to America to a ballet company there. I think a ballet job is top of my list at this stage.

Do you have any dancers you especially enjoy watching?

It’s interesting, I really enjoy dancing ballet but for watching dance I love contemporary. I went to see Akram Khan and I love his stuff, it’s amazing. He’s probably my favourite at the moment.