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Otley karate student is kicking on with dance career
9:00am Tuesday 1st October 2013 in News
A former karate student who decided to become a ‘black belt’ in ballet is celebrating being picked for a prestigious dance contest.
Nineteen-year-old Andrew Cook, who holds a second dan black belt in the martial art, set off from Otley for a dance school in the Scottish Highlands two years ago.
Now the former Prince Henry’s Grammar School student has reaped the rewards of all his hard training by being entered into this week’s Genee International Ballet competition.
The event, which is running in Glasgow from last Friday to Sunday, September 29 will be attended by dozens of top dancers from around the globe.
Andrew said: “I am astounded at the fact I managed to qualify for the Genee, as I was rushed through my exams quicker than normal. When I was told I was going to it, it was the first time my teacher had ever seen me speechless. I’m incredibly excited at being able to enter this competition, and, with more than 60 competitors taking part from all around the world, I’m looking forward to meeting people with various different dance styles and educations.
“After this my plans involve simply improving my dancing and joining a ballet company once I complete my BA (Hons) course at Ballet West.”
His mother, Liz Walker, added: “We are all very proud of Andrew and what he has achieved, not only through his talent but by his incredible hard work.
“This is a highly prestigious event and for a boy who did not start ballet lessons until he was 14 he has done incredibly well.”
Andrew, who learned to dance under the instruction of Carol Newbould at Otley’s Newall School of Ballet, hopes to eventually appear in West End productions.
But immediately after the Genee he will be back at Ballet West, just outside Oban in the picturesque north west of Scotland, to continue his course.