News Column

Royal Ballet place for Andy Stewart's teenage grandson

June 23, 2014

THE grandson of Scottish showbusiness legend Andy Stewart has won a place in the Royal Ballet.

Harris Beattie, 15, has already tasted the big time performing the title role in Billy Elliot in the West End from 2013 to until earlier this year when he literally outgrew the part.

But now a future in classical ballet beckons for the schoolboy from Cults, Aberdeen.

Harris, who looks very like his famous late grandfather, is a pupil at the Danscentre in Aberdeen, and fellow senior student Jessica Rankine, 16, from Airyhall, Aberdeen, has also won a top honour. She will be going to the Scottish Ballet for tuition.

Karen Berry, of Danscentre, said: "They fought off competition from hundreds of other candidates to secure the coveted places in the Royal Ballet and Scottish Ballet Senior Associate Schemes.

"They start in September this year, travelling every Saturday to London for Harris and to Glasgow for Jessica for tuition by some of the top teachers in the field. This year runs prior to their auditioning year before they apply for full-time training to start in summer 2015.

"Both of them will also be travelling this summer after being invited to perform along with their peers in Auld Lang Syne, a dance tribute to Robbie Burns at English Youth Dance Festival in Nottingham on June 27, and the Tramway, Glasgow, as part of the Commonwealth Dance Festival on July 12.

"They have a great and exciting future."

Harris has had to overcome the loss of his mother, Linsey Stewart, who lost her fight with breast cancer in June 2009 at the age of 48. Harris and his older brother, Alistair, then moved from their family home in Arbroath to live with their aunt and uncle in Aberdeen.

When playing the role of Billy Elliot in London, Harris said: "There is a connection between Billy and I. His mum died when he was young so I know how he feels. My mum loved Billy Elliot the Musical and I'm so happy to be in it."


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Source: Herald, The (Scotland)