Photograph: Harris Beattie rehearsing for his role as Billy. Courtesy of Billy Elliott The Musical Royal Academy of Dance student Harris Beattie makes West End debut in Billy Elliott

Date Wed 14 March 2012
Filed under: Events and Other Interesting Stuff

Scottish dance sensation Harris Beattie is currently starring as the young Billy in the London West End production of Billy Elliott The Musical, at the Victoria Palace Theatre.

13-year-old Harris, the grandson of legendary Scottish entertainer Andy Stewart is currently a student at Danscentre in Aberdeen where he is taught by Karen Berry (a Trustee, member of the Creative Panel for RAD Syllabus development and an appointed tutor and supervisor for the RAD’s Faculty of Education). Karen spoke of Harris’s achievements:

‘Harris is one of the most modest, unassuming and talented children that I have come across in all my years of teaching.  He is an utter delight to work with and coupled with his excellent work ethic - I am sure that he will go very far. Harris is one of over 80 boys who now attend classes at Danscentre, Aberdeen. Dancing is the norm for boys in Aberdeen and it's just fantastic to have the opportunity to work with so many talented young men.’

Harris received three standing ovations during his first performance on Wednesday 22 February. Speaking about how thrilled he is at this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play Billy, he commented:

‘I started ballet when I was seven years old and I now dance at Danscentre in Aberdeen. My teachers at Danscentre have been brilliant, especially Karen Berry who has also been a fantastic mentor to me. Since joining Billy Elliot I have made some great new friends, all of whom have helped to make rehearsals such an exciting and fun experience. I dedicated my first performance to my Auntie Debbie and Uncle Keith, they have done so much for me, I can't thank them enough.’

Harris has been an active member of the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) since 2007: in 2010 he won the 2010 Genée Dance Challenge in Birmingham with his solo The Enchantment, choreographed by Karen Berry. Later that year, Beattie performed the same winning solo at the exclusive Supper with the Stars gala dinner, held to raise funds for the Genée International Ballet Competition 2010 in London, in front of dance stars Chris Hollins, Sarah Lamb, Tamara Rojo and Steven McRae.

Harris was also one of the 18 students from dance schools across the UK, chosen to demonstrate a range of exercises from the RAD’s new Grades 1-3 Syllabi in front of over 500 delegates at the Mermaid Conference & Events Centre in London on 3 January 2012.