WATCH: Dance student shows how he earned a place at college where Victoria Beckham, Kerry Ellis and Ruthie Henshall trained

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"It's like a Billy Elliot kind of story but in Chesterfield - I am so proud of him," said Tamara Phillips whose son has been offered a place at a leading performance arts college.

Cole Phillips’ dancing has made such an impression on staff at Laine Theatre Arts that they are keeping his place open until September 2025 so he can complete his A-level studies at Brookfield School. It's an amazing achievement by Cole who was just 16 when he joined dozens of dancers, some six years older than he was, to audition for the prestigious college where Victoria Beckham, Kerry Ellis and Ruthie Henshall trained.

The golden opportunity arose after Cole was scouted by Matt Flint, choreographer for Strictly Come Dancing and a founder of Can You Dance (CYD), who spotted his potential during the CYD Masterclass Games in Liverpool last October. Cole had to go through two auditions – one in Liverpool and one in London – to win his place on a Dance and Musical Theatre Diploma course at the college.

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Cole’s three-year course will cost his parents Lee and Tamara around £20,000 a year. However, that figure would be reduced to £5,000 per year should Cole be successful in securing a Dance and Drama Award (DaDA) which is given to the 25 most talented applicants. He will be assessed for a DaDA award in February and April next year.

Cole, who lives in Chesterfield and has just turned 17, has worked hard to follow his dream. Tamara said: "He has done every examination you can think of in terms of tap, ballet, modern, jazz, lyrical, it’s not very often he gets anything lower than a distinction.”

Much of the week Cole, who is dyslexic, trains at Kickers Dance Studio where he also helps with young acrobatic dance groups. He also teaches gymnastics to little ones at Queen’s Park on Saturdays. Cole said: "Surrounded by dancers every day of the week has pushed me to do what I do....everyone is there for the same reason. If I went to a dance school where I didn’t like the people, where I didn’t idolise any of my teachers then I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

Tamara, who is a receptionist at Chesterfield Royal Hospital’s paediatric department, said: “From a very early age, it was quite obvious that Cole was into dancing and I took him along to a street dance class at Kickers. After two lessons, Kelly (Allwood), his dance tutor, took me to one side and said ‘you're not going to believe this but he's going to be a ballet dancer....he's got the best pointed toe I've ever seen in a boy so young’."

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Cole’s dream of being the first boy in Chesterfield to be fitted with pointe shoes came true in December 2021.

He has made his mark as a choreographer, encouraged all the way by his dance tutor. Tamara said: “Two years ago Cole did a solo piece which he choreographed and was at the Winding Wheel – it got a standing ovation every night. When I watch him it makes me cry...but when other people watch him and give him a standing ovation and tell me all the time how good he is, it just proves that all his hard work has paid off."

Kelly Allwood, principal of Kickers Dance School on Storrs Road, Brampton, said: "Cole has been a joy to teach for 10 years and has really excelled especially in his ballet, lyrical, contemporary styles and his acrobatics is excellent. He is quite the performer who lights up the stage with his talent but also a humble and kind lad who loves being with his dance family. He deserves this place at this highly regarded London stage school to continue his training and make his dream a reality."

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