A PROFESSIONAL dancer who worked with Wayne Sleep as a tutor on Channel 4’s Big Ballet documentary reality show is in demand with his own ballet classes - for all ages, shapes and sizes.
Michael Berkin, from Churwell, along with dancer wife Kimberley is giving classes across the county with their Professional Dance Experience Ltd.
Michael said: “I was very excited to be approached by the Big Ballet team, who asked me to work alongside Wayne Sleep and Monica Loughman in designing and delivering the ballet classes for the audition day in Bradford.
“I was cautious at first as I wanted to ensure that the programme was being made for the right reasons and that it would show the dancers’ efforts in a positive light. I was happy as their idea shows that ballet is not just an elitist art form. I believe that ballet can and should be enjoyed by people of all ages, all backgrounds, shapes and sizes.
“It was great to see how much enjoyment all of the participants got out of the Big Ballet project and hope it gives more people the confidence to give ballet a go.”
Michael trained at The Royal Ballet School, where he met his wife. He had an international ballet career, performing with Royal New Zealand Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Ballet Ireland and also Leeds based Northern Ballet. Michael danced many leading roles including The Prince in the Nutcracker, Tybalt (Romeo and Juliet) and Captain Hook (Peter Pan).
He worked as an assistant teacher at The Royal Ballet School’s international Summer School as a student. So, when he retired from performing to start a family in Leeds, it seemed a natural progression to follow his passion for teaching.
He added: “I’m excited about our latest venture, the Leeds Ballet Associates Programme, for children aged 8-18 and it gives them an opportunity to improve their ballet technique, performance and artistry. With all of the talent I have seen at dance schools across Yorkshire, I’m very excited to see what they will achieve - you never know, we could find the next Wayne Sleep or Darcey Bussell.”