How Charlie danced from Harborough to a top London Academy

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A 15-year-old dancer from Market Harborough has won a place at one of Britain’s finest dance schools.

Charlie Tatman (15) will start at the Urdang Academy in London in September, having won a scholarship to the prestigious school.

In fact Charlie, a pupil at the town’s Robert Smyth Academy, is so talented, he was offered a place at five leading London dance schools, four of them with scholarships.

Charlie, who isn’t 16 until August, will be one of the youngest people in the school.

“We don’t know where he gets his talent from” admitted mum Laura. “There’s no one else in the family in the performing arts.

“I’m a teaching assistant at a primary school and my husband Steven works for BT.

“Charlie didn’t even start dancing until he was 10, which is very late, but we could tell he’d got something special. He’s a beautiful dancer.”

The Urdang Academy in Islington, London, was founded by ballet dancer Leonie Urdang, and has an outstanding international reputation.

The Academy has a history of feeding pupils into West End shows, dance shows and UK tours , as well as providing choreographers and dancers for top pop artists.

“Living in London is going to be very different from Market Harborough” said Charlie. “I’m excited, but nervous at the same time.

“But I’ve always wanted to perform. My dream is to be on the West End stage, singing acting and dancing.”

Charlie’s love for dance started at Harborough Academy of Performing Arts, in Market Harborough.

Dad Steven said: “He was driven, and soon he was training in modern, tap, lyrical, ballet, contemporary and musical theatre, and excelled in his exams and performing.”

The list of Charlie’s dance successes is endless. He won a place in the All England Dance Festival Final competition, dancing against the best in the United Kingdom, and came third despite his youth.

He won a place in a West End masterclass at 14, and already travels to London ever y Sunday to train.

At a big dance convention called Move It, he was scouted by The Hollywood Summer tour and invited to attend summer school in California.

But the family has a problem. Although Charlie was offered a scholarship by Urdang, it doesn’t cover his accommodation in London.

The family will have to pay £240 a week to put him in a student house which also supplies breakfast and dinner.

Steven explained: “Because he will be only 16, he can’t qualify for a student loan and there are no maintenance grants, to help with accommodation costs.”

“You can tell why the performing arts is dominated by children from better off families” agreed Laura.

Charlie has been sponsored so far by Market Harborough and the Bowden’s Charity and by the Great Bowden Recital Trust.

Donations to Charlie from businesses or individuals can be made via Market Harborough Building Society, which has opened a Club account in the name of The Charlie Tatman Dance Fund.

Or you can contact the family at tatmanfamily2003@