A teenage boy with dreams of becoming a professional ballet dancer is one step closer after securing a place at London’s prestigious Central School of Ballet.

Lewis Bondu, from Stevenage, has been dancing since he was four years old and saw off competition from 400 applicants to gain a place on the ballet school’s three-year degree course in professional dance and performance.

The 19-year-old impressed when he auditioned in front of teaching staff, all of whom are ex-professional dancers themselves.

Lewis, who is a former pupil of The John Henry Newman School in Stevenage, said he must train at least six hours a day during the week, as well as take classes on a Saturday morning.

He said: “You have to be dedicated to make it to the top of this profession and it’s my dream to be a dancer at one of the world’s leading dance companies when I graduate.

“The training is very challenging, similar to the training of the best athletes, but we are all motivated by the rewards of performing.”

The main focus of the course is classical ballet, supported by contemporary dance as an additional subject, and also includes tuition in choreography and singing.

Heidi Hall, director of the Central School of Ballet and herself an alumna of the school, said: “Only the most talented and dedicated students are accepted and must be determined to succeed.

“A career in ballet is possible for all young dancers with talent and is no longer an elitist profession.

“Central’s degree course is one of the most comprehensive dance programmes in the country, and enables our students to enjoy sustained careers in classical ballet, contemporary dance and musical theatre.”

During his final year, Lewis will join the school’s touring company Ballet Central. This year’s tour started in March and will visit 21 cities in the country.

Heidi said: “We are the only vocational ballet school able to offer our students an honours degree and this level of touring experience, performing regularly to sell-out audiences.

“This experience, performing in a range of theatres and in different cities, means Ballet Central continues to be a springboard for hundreds of dancers into the top international dance companies.

“Dancers live to perform, so touring is a much-anticipated part of our three-year curriculum.”