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Teen beats teasing to join UK tour with Strictly choreographers

PUBLISHED: 11:18 06 February 2020 | UPDATED: 11:47 06 February 2020

Dancer Owen Stewart with his sister, at the Can You Dance tour 2019. Photo: Kelly Stewart

Dancer Owen Stewart with his sister, at the Can You Dance tour 2019. Photo: Kelly Stewart

Archant

A teenager from Norfolk has overcome years of teasing to represent his county in one of the UK's biggest dance tours.

Dancer Owen Stewart with his crew, at the Can You Dance tour 2019. Photo: Kelly StewartDancer Owen Stewart with his crew, at the Can You Dance tour 2019. Photo: Kelly Stewart

Owen Stewart, 14, began dancing when he was six years old.

Initially, he trained at a local school in Attleborough but was quickly scouted for Norwich-based all-male dance company Legacy.

Now, the teenager is preparing to perform on the national stage, having beaten hundreds of young dancers to win a place touring with the UK's largest dance convention, Can You Dance?

The youngster will dance with top choreographers, who have created routines for Rita Ora, Justin Derulo and Strictly Come Dancing stars.

Dancer Owen Stewart at the Can You Dance tour 2019. Photo: Kelly StewartDancer Owen Stewart at the Can You Dance tour 2019. Photo: Kelly Stewart

Owen's mother, Kelly Stewart, said the teenager had earned his spot thanks to his unwavering dedication to dance.

She said: "He's gone through a lot. He's not a stereotypical football-loving boy and he has been teased. He trains five times a week, and when he gets home from school the conservatory is turned into a dance studio."

The Can You Dance 2020 convention will tour eight different cities between February and October, including Norwich, culminating in a headline performance at the M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool.

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The final event is expected to draw in more than 12,000 spectators, with industry experts from across the country travelling to take part in workshops and classes.

Although nervous about appearing in front of such large audiences, Ms Stewart said the teenager had managed to stay cool and professional throughout his training.

For the year 10 Attleborough Academy student, balancing his busy dance calendar and GCSE preparation can be tricky.

According to his mum, his teachers have been supporting him through, and Owen has taken ownership of organising his busy schedule.

She said: "It's a mad rush all the time, but he's following his dreams. We're all so proud of him and will always encourage him to keep going.

"He loves performing and when he's on stage you can see it in his face, his love of it shines through."

■ The Can You Dance? convention will be at the UEA Sportspark in Norwich on Sunday, May 3.

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