A TALENTED young ballet dancer is celebrating after gaining one of only a handful of places at a top UK ballet school.

Denis Teixeira, aged 11, who studies at the Janet Lomas School of Dancing in Bury, has won a scholarship to the prestigious Elmhurst Ballet School in Birmingham.

Beating off hundreds of students from across the UK and the world, Denis made it through two tough rounds of auditioning to become one of the lucky few to be offered a place at the school.

Starting in Year 7 in September Denis will train full time at Elmhurst, specialising in classical ballet, alongside his academic studies.

Previous pupils at the school have gone on to have stellar careers with the Royal Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Boston Ballet, the English National Ballet and others.

However Denis had faced a difficult decision also being offered a scholarship at Tring Park School for the Performing Arts and a place on the waiting list for the Royal Ballet School.

Denis said: “I love my ballet classes. I am really looking forward to going to Elmhurst and becoming the world’s best principal dancer.”

He added that he wants to be like his idol and Ukrainian compatriot, internationally-acclaimed ballet dancer, Sergei Polunin, who became the youngest ever-principal dancer at the Royal Ballet.

Denis only began dancing just over two years ago after being spotted by ballet teacher Johanna Hadley while he was waiting outside his sister, Emily's, ballet class.

Just three months after starting lessons Denis was offered a place as a junior associate at Elmhurst, and has now taken every ballet grade up to and including Grade 4 — an achievement that usually takes six years to complete.

Taking ballet exams with the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing, Denis had attained results in excess of 90 out of 100 in every one.

And last year he starred in one of only eight boys roles in a Christmas production of The Nutcracker by the Birmingham Royal Ballet at London's Albert Hall.

Ms Hadley said: “After many years of being a ballet teacher, you can tell instantly if someone would be a good dancer, even if they’re just stood waiting. I offered that Denis could come along and give it a go one week and he did.”

“Denis has such a natural talent for ballet, which is also helped by him being a highly-motivated and dedicated student, and he has such a supportive family who encourage his talent.”

Denis is the second Janet Lomas School of Dancing student to win a scholarship in the last two years, and this year the school celebrates its 40th anniversary.