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Theatre & Dance
Aaron Sillis (Picture by Sophie Laslett)
Norfolk dancer set for national recognition
By Martin Barber
Aaron Sillis, a dancer born in Norfolk, is competing with some of the most respected names in modern day arts, music and culture - hoping that he can claim The Times/South Bank Show Breakthrough Award.
Aaron Sillis, from Drayton near Norwich, is hoping that Norfolk will get behind him as he is revealed on the short-list of nominees for The Times/South Bank Show Breakthrough Award.
The nomination for this prestigious award follows his impressive performance as photographer Basil Hallward in Dorian Gray, the darkly seductive work of dance theatre from internationally acclaimed choreographer Matthew Bourne.
Hot, sexy dancers
"I came to Norwich [Theatre Royal] with Dorian and loads of people came to see it which was great. It was full of hot, sexy dancers and the material was quiet risque – but it's done me well," said Aaron.
Aaron as photographer Basil Hallward
Aaron, 25, has been dancing professionally for seven years and is well-respected in the world of commercial dance and pop.
He works regularly with some of the biggest names in show business including Kylie and Take That, but he's delighted that its for his work in dance theatre that he's been nominated for a breakthrough award.
"It's great that this area of dancing is what gets the recognition and it's really nice that it was in Matthew's show – it was such a fantastic part for me and I had role in creating it, so it all feels really worth while," said Aaron.
"It's amazing, I was completely shocked when I got the letter through saying that I'd been nominated."
The Breakthrough Award features 10 people on the shortlist from a range of artistic disciplines.
Battling for the public vote
"It's a weird award as we're all from different genres, but battling it out for the public vote for the same award. They're all much bigger than me - I'm the unknown dancer," said Aaron.
"'Oh my God,' I thought, I'm up against all these people that have, I'm sure, a much bigger following so for me it's great to be nominated.
"I'm just hoping that Norfolk will get behind me and click to vote for Aaron Sillis, to cast their vote for the Norfolk boy to win.
"I'm championing Norfolk the whole time when I'm in London, or working with Kylie, and it would just be fantastic if Norfolk could get behind me and give me that extra little bit of help that I need for this award," he added.
Aaron started his career in dance by training at the Central School Of Dancing in Norwich and at the Bird College in Sidcup. He joined Matthew Bourne's company for The Nutcracker, then left to dance with pop singers - Take That, Lulu and Mariah Carey, among others.
A scene from Dorian Gray
He was assistant choreographer on Kylie's X and Showgirl: Homecoming tours, has choreographed in his own right and then rejoined New Adventures to play Angelo in The Car Man and Basil Hallward in Dorian Gray.
In addition to his nomination for The Times/South Bank Show Breakthrough Award, which is decided by a public vote, Aaron is also nominated in the National Dance Awards for The Spotlight Award: Male Dancer (Modern). Again, this is for his performance in Dorian Gray.
As 2009 begins with nominations for two major awards, Aaron admits he celebrated Christmas 2008 in style - working with some old friends.
"[Take That's] new album The Circus was out in December. We did a one off special ITV show which was basically an album launch, it was brilliant to work with the guys as I haven't worked with them for a couple of years," said Aaron.
"I got a call asking if I was available to do their world tour this year. It's fantastic and I'd love to do it – but they know I've got prior commitments with Matthew Bourne so I'm just waiting to see what will pan out. Hopefully I'll be able to do both."
last updated: 10/01/2009 at 15:09
Breakthrough Award nominees: