Spotted at the age of eight dancing around in a post office alongside his mother, Joshua Wilson’s ability to move was recognised by former Elkanah House drama teacher Julia Dickson, who, along with the help of four dance teachers, helped him pursue his passion for dance.
Now the Richwood teenager’s talent and hard work have been recognised by the internationally acclaimed Zurich Dance Academy in Switzerland, and he has received a full scholarship to complete his dancing and schooling career at the academy.
The 13-year-old performer entered the South African International Ballet Competition in February, simply to “test the waters”.
He ended up taking home the winning prize: a scholarship to attend the Zurich Dance Academy for a week.
After his visit, Joshua and his family were told he had received a further scholarship to study full-time at the academy. Joshua was due to leave for Switzerland yesterday Tuesday August 2.
“I am so excited. I really enjoyed it when I spent a week there; the training was different to what I’m used to, and I was nervous, but I’m excited to move there. I have to learn German, and some other languages they speak there, but I wanted to become a linguist, so it is ideal,” said the beaming young dancer.
Joshua’s family, who are staying behind, are overjoyed about the opportunity he’s landed to help him accomplish his dream of becoming a principal dancer, but they didn’t expect it to come at such an early stage in his life.
“I always wanted him to be spotted; I just didn’t think it would happen this soon. Joshua is hard-working and committed and never wants to miss a class, not even when he’s sick. Music was built into him; there would be no music playing and he would sing and dance as a child,” said his mother, Candice Jooste.
“As a child he would be doing somersaults and the splits at age 2.
He has amazing upper-body strength, and he has had amazing dance teachers who have helped coach him. I’m incredibly proud of him,” said Ms Jooste.
Joshua said dancing is as vital to his wellbeing as air, and he spends three hours a day practising both modern and ballet dance styles with one of his four dance teachers at Elkanah House.
“Joshua would come into school at 7am and leave every day at 7pm. He would sit here in the dance studio in the afternoon doing the splits while doing his homework. I am incredibly proud of him for all he has accomplished, it feels as though he was my own child,” said dance instructor Tamsin Williams.