Wednesday, June 15, 2011

From Redditch To 47 Ronin 2012

A REDDITCH dance pupil has been picked to appear on screen with Hollywood superstar Keanu Reeves.
Austin Lui has spent three weeks at Shepperton Studios in Surrey filming scenes for the 3D blockbuster 47 Ronin.
The 18-year-old has been a pupil of the Royal Ballet School in London since the age of 11 and auditioned for the role.
He is one of eight dancers taking part in two dance sequences in the film which have been created by West Midlands based choreographer Olivia Pickford, who is also a freelance teacher at Elmhurst School for Dance in Edgbaston.
“We did a night scene and a day scene and it took about three weeks to film them,” said Austin, who first took up dancing in Bromsgrove at the age of five.
“I think they did about two minutes of film from that. I learnt a lot from it. I didn’t know what it would be like to be filmed. You do the same thing again and again.”
Austin, who was a Junior Associate with Birmingham Royal Ballet before gaining a place at the prestigious White Lodge Royal Ballet School, was filming with Japanese film actor Hiroyuki Sanada.
“He is a classically trained Japanese dancer so he danced was with us. He was really nice,” he said.
And Keanu, who shot to fame in films such as Speed and The Matrix, was also on set.
“We had Keanu Reeves around quite a lot and he seemed nice but I didn’t get to speak to him.”
Austin is due to finish at the school this summer and has already gained a place with the Ballet de L’Opera National De Bordeaux. And he is looking forward to seeing 47 Ronin, which tells the story of a group of 18th century Japanese warriors, when it opens in the UK next year.
“It does seem a long time away but it will be good to see it,” he said. “All my family are amazed I am in it.”
Olivia, whose husband Errol is a former Royal Ballet principal who now teaches at Elmhurst, said: “Austin’s strong classical technique has really stood out and we have all been really impressed by his artistry, professionalism and willingness to work in a team.”

By Diane Parker

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