Teenage ballet star Tim Hill stumbled into ballet by accident, but quickly realised he’d found his natural calling
Tim Hill was a bit of a late starter in ballet terms, donning his first pair of shoes aged eight. Even then it was a bit of luck he danced at all. Recalling his first lesson at Happy Feet in King’s Heath, Tim says: “My sister was too scared to go to ballet by herself, so I went along for support. I loved it immediately and I knew I wanted to go back.” The teacher spotted Tim’s natural ability during that first lesson and insisted he return. But what of Tim’s sister? Is ballet in the genes? “No, she doesn’t dance. She gave up just after I started,” Tim says with a chuckle.
Tim’s obvious talent meant he quickly embarked on a fast track to becoming a professional dancer. Benefiting from Birmingham Royal Ballet’s (BRB) progressive dance track scheme, he was picked up by talent scouts when he was nine. The programme introduces pupils to ballet, who might not ordinarily have access to the art-form, and nurtures those who show particular talent. Tim moved from the relaxed teaching of Happy Feet and joined Junior Associates (JA) following the more classical Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) programme. At this point he had been dancing for just a year.
Tim excelled at JA and two years on, his teacher suggested he audition for the Royal Ballet School and Elmhurst School for Dance. Choosing Elmhurst over the Royal Ballet School, Tim has been happily studying there ever since. His enthusiasm is infectious, “we have the best teachers,” he says. As well as the intense training, which can be as much as “six hours per day”, there are end of year shows and galas to keep Tim busy not to mention the odd A-level. “I had to take fifteen hours off ballet to complete my art A-level,” he says. Touring recently with BRB in their production of Aladdin has been one of the highlights of Tim’s career so far. “We took classes with the company which was amazing and inspiring. They are so brilliant,” he says.
STAYING IN SHAPE
Much has been made of the strict regime imposed on young ballet dancers in order to maintain the shape and fitness, but Tim isn’t subjected to any strange diets. “I’m lucky I can eat what I like,” he says. When he has free time he spends it on a bike with his sporty family in tow. As well as getting a kick out of cycling, “it’s good for strength and stamina which helps my dancing,” he says.
Now 18-years-old, Tim will leave Elmhurst next year – but what then? “I’d love to join the BRB, but I’d also like to dance in mainland Europe. Maybe the Serbian National,” he says, “I love New York, so that would be brilliant too. Or perhaps Boston.” He might be undecided about where in the world he would like to dance, there’s no doubting what Tim will be doing when he gets there.