Jak Tuite-Leach

The Castle Vale teen and Got To Dance winner Jak Tuite-Leach tells Shelley Carter how life has changed since his screen debut

Jak Tuite-Leach is one half of Duplic8 – the street dancing duo that took the nation by storm on Sky One’s hit show Got To Dance. With his older alter ego Tobias Mead, the 13-year-old performed consistently mind-blowing routines that impressed the panel of judges and crucially won over the public. Because of the nature of street dance – all attitude, supreme confidence and cool moves, I expected Jak to be a bit tricky, plus I’d read his Twitter feed which seemed to be an outlet for thousands of teenage girls to tell the youngster how much they love him. A bit of an ego would be understandable, but the minute Jak uttered a softly spoken and very polite hello that perception was totally busted. Jak was always dancing around the house as a child and his love of street dance started at an early age when he began lessons at Birmingham’s Sticky Toffee Dance studio. By the time he was eight he had had his first taste of victory as winner of Castle Vale’s Got Talent. Shy without an audience, Jak said: “Give me a crowd and I’ll perform, but without one I can’t.”


Initially part of the Tru Street Dance crew, Jak got his big break when he met one of his dancing heroes, Tobias Mead at a convention called Move It. Too shy to say hello, Jak’s mum made the introduction and asked Tobias if Jak could show him a few moves. The timing couldn’t have been better. Tobias was blown away and it turned out he was looking for a child dance star to play a mini version of him in West End Show, Revolution. He snapped up Jak who was over the moon at the chance. Jak was lucky enough and talented enough to win a scholarship to the Susi Earnshaw Theatre School in London when he was 12 and as you’d expect the school was very supportive of his involvement in Got To Dance hosted by Davina McCall. The move to London also meant living closer to Tobias which made rehearsing easier. Auditioning and performing on the show made Jak more nervous than anything he’d done before. “I don’t usually get nervous when I perform, but on Got To Dance the crowds got bigger each week, so it was harder.” The final was contested in front of an audience of 6,000 at London’s Earls Court and the winners were decided by a public vote. Jak said: “I can’t describe how happy we were to win. It’s amazing, like a dream. The support in Birmingham was incredible. It felt like I had the whole city behind me.”


Since winning the contest life has changed a bit for Jak. I suspect he is a bit of a hero at school although he’s slightly embarrassed at the thought and he is often recognised in the street, mainly by young girls. “They’re usually quite shy, so they come up to me and say ‘Hi, I think you’re great’ and then they run off.” The attention Jak gets on social media is extraordinary – mainly marriage proposals and declaration of love. Very sweetly Jak hates not responding, so he drafts in his mum to help him. We all know that teenagers get a hard time in the Press, but this youngster busts a few myths as well as a few moves. Rather than wanting to be famous and sell-out stadia, his ambitions are refreshingly down to earth: “I’d really like to teach dance and I’d love to be a choreographer.”