He was going to be a marine... but turned to ballet instead

BalletBoyz BalletBoyz

Friday, February 28, 2014
7:00 AM

Matthew Rees hated dance at school and looked set for a life in the army but he now stars on the stage in ballet. He talks to Greg Miles.

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Matt ReesMatt Rees

Former Hythe schoolboy Matthew Rees has proven that anything is possible after going from potential Royal Marine to starring in ballet.

The 23-year-old who went to Brockhill Park School went as far as having interviews to join the military elite.

But a chance audition to pass the time while he waited brought about a new career.

Five years down the line he is a regular fixture in the touring BalletBoyz productions headed up by former Royal Ballet stars Michael Nunn and Billy Trevitt.

This week he will be appearing with the group at The Orchard Theatre in Dartford.

The show features dance pieces by internationally celebrated choreographers Russell Maliphant and Liam Scarlett.

It is quite the reversal of fortunes for Rees who as a young teenager hated compulsory dance lessons at school and later did not go to a drama school or university after passing auditions for BalletBoyz.

“I’m not the usual story,” he said.

“From Year 7 onwards it was compulsory. For the first two or three years I hated it. I was at the back of the class and I would get sent out all the time for being naughty.

“I did get into it though in Year 11 though doing the cool stuff like backflips. I was really into my music and learnt to play the saxophone.”

But his interest in performance took a back seat as he prepared for joining the army.

“When I got to year 13 I was interested in the army and marines,” he said. “That’s where I was heading.

“I was always fascinated by it and knew someone in the marines. I like the idea of that lifestyle, I don’t know why when I think of it now.

“I went for a few meetings and was applying. I was getting fit for all the tests and then this came along.”

The change in direction came about when he entered Youth Dance England with friends at the Southbank Centre in London. That was where his heroes Nunn and Trevitt were watching.

“We went up to them and gave them our phone numbers and they said they would call us,” said Rees who was 17 at the time. “We thought that would be the end of it.

“Before we had even got back to the train station they had called us after when we were free to come to the studio.

“I didn’t think anything along these lines would happen.”

He then passed an audition to join the BalletBoyz and has not looked back since.

Fortunately Nunn and Trevitt are more interested in what he was able to do rather than say he could do on paper.

“They don’t look for people that have gone to schools or got bits of paper,” said Rees. “They look for what you can do. I know a lot of other companies where if your CV doesn’t jump out at them they won’t give you a second look.”

■ BalletBoyz is at The Orchard Theatre, Dartford on Monday, March 10 at 7.30pm.

Tickets are from £12-£24.50. To book visit www.orchardtheatre.co.uk or call 01322 220000.

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