Astounding success

MANX BILLY ELLIOTT: Lloyd Mayor in the title role of Achilles in the production of The Show (Achilles Heels) currently on stage in New York

MANX BILLY ELLIOTT: Lloyd Mayor in the title role of Achilles in the production of The Show (Achilles Heels) currently on stage in New York

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A FORMER Ballakermeen High School student is making waves in New York.

Ballet dancer Lloyd Mayor started dancing at the Academy of Dance here in the island and then went on to study at the prestigious Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance in London.

He was one of only 30 students to be accepted into the school out of 2,500 applicants.

Last month the Peel teenager made his debut with the Martha Graham Dance Company in the lead role of Achilles in The Show (Achilles Heels) being staged in New York’s Joyce Theatre.

The winner of Young Dancer of Mann 2009 was chosen above one other student and all the other professional male dancers in an audition which his Martha Graham School ballet tutor asked him to attend.

Choreographer Richard Move, who is also an art, drama and dance professor at Yale University, chose Lloyd for the role, which has previously been danced by Mikael Baryshnikov, founder of the White Oak Centre of Art in New York. Since the show opened, Lloyd has been receiving rave reviews. The New York Post reported that Lloyd ‘has the heroic task of taking on the role originally choreographed for Baryshnikov. He does astoundingly well — you’d never guess it was his New York debut. Whether posing like a muscleman or dancing in high heels, he has a magnetic star quality that busts gender lines.’

Pippa Salter, his teacher at the island’s Academy of Dance, said: ‘He’s my Billy Elliot story. He has done incredibly well and is only 19. He’s quite extraordinary!’

The Isle of Man Arts Council, which hosts the biennial Young Dancer of Mann competition, has supported Lloyd with grant assistance.

Aged 15, Lloyd won the competition, held at the Studio Theatre at Ballakermeen High School. He beat 11 other dancers with a contemporary dance piece he choreographed with Pippa. Even then he listed Martha Graham as one of his influences.

His grandmother, Pauline Speed, was the first Manx child to receive a Department of Education grant to attend the Royal Ballet School.

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