Black belt Ava accepted by the Royal Ballet School

Published on: 30 Jun 2013

ava balletava black beltSHE may only be 11 years of age but already Ava May Llewellyn’s list of achievements would put many adults to shame.

For not only is the schoolgirl a black belt in Taekwondo, she’s also won a place at the prestigious Royal Ballet School, beating off competition from 800 young people around the world for one of just 24 places.

Ava May, who attends Bromley Heath Junior School, started dancing at the age of two at Dance Station in Fishponds.

Two years later at the tender age of four, she started training with North Bristol Taekwondo club under the instruction of Richard Thornton.

Ava May joined the Royal Ballet’s junior associate programme in Bristol only last September making her offer of a place at the dance school even more staggering.

Each year the Royal Ballet School conducts a vigorous UK-wide audition which attracts hundreds of youngsters all eager to win a place at the internationally renowned institution.

The Year 6 pupil, who lives in Downend, with mother Michele, father John and her 13-year-old brother Theo, who is also a black belt, is one of 12 girls to win a place, with the other 12 places going to boys. 

The news of her offer came two months after Ava May achieved her black belt, making her one of the youngest black belts in her Taekwondo club.

Michele, 42, said her daughter trains nearly every day in various disciplines including ballet, tap, modern and Irish dance.

“Ava started dancing as soon as she could walk. From the minute she started ballet lessons at two she’s always said she wants to be a dancer.

“How good she must be has come as a wonderful surprise to us. We knew ballet is something she loves doing but never in a million years did we expect that she would be accepted by the Royal Ballet School.

“They saw between 800 and 1,000 children from all over the world and they whittled that down to 32 girls who were called back for a final audition. It was at that point I thought ‘Gosh, she must have whatever they’re looking for’. When we got the letter to say she was one of 12 girls to get a place it was just amazing.

“It really is what she wants more than anything.

“She started Taekwondo for self defence and the aim has always been to get her black belt. It just so happens that getting her black belt and being offered a place at the Royal Ballet School all happened in the space of two months.”

Ava May said:  “Obviously I’m going to miss my family but I’m very excited.

“I want to be like Darcey Bussell and go around the world being in lots of ballets and working with lots of different people, directors and choreographers.”

Ava May will start as a Year 7 boarder at the Royal Ballet Lower School at White Lodge in London’s Richmond Park in September.

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