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WATCH: Inverness schoolboy makes world dance championship dream a reality

By Annabelle Gauntlett

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Inverness teenager Olly Forsyth dancing.
Inverness teenager Olly Forsyth dancing.

An Inverness schoolboy, who has been passionate for dance his entire life, has been nominated to compete in this year's world dance championship in the U.S.

Olly Forsyth, (13), from Inverness, was a shy child until he found himself through dance as his mum, Laura Forsyth, said 'he learnt to dance before he could walk',

She continued: "Just before he left nursery they were all asked to draw a picture of what they wanted to be when they were older and he wanted to be a gymnastics boy.

"I think his passion for dance just grew ever since then!"

Olly dancing at a competition.
Olly dancing at a competition.

Olly started with Team Love Cheer (TLC) in 2019 he has come on leaps and bounds ever since.

He has taken part in countless competitions, including the Grand Champions, Overall Grand Champions at 9-years-old, National Champions and a Summit bid to Florida with his hip-hop and lyrical team last year.

Recently Olly was picked to represent his country, Scotland, on the world stage for Youth Hip-Hop and Pom.

When describing what Olly is like performing on stage, Laura said: "He's like fire, which is probably quite fitting as he has fiery bright red hair too.

"He is constantly recognised at these big competitions, from coaches to parents wanting pictures with him. He may be a boy, but it's because of the way he dances that he gets so much attention."

Laura described her son as 'dramatic' and a 'proper little character on stage'.

She said: "You can see that he is very, very shy around people he isn't comfortable with, and you would never think he is a dancer up on a big stage.

"The little boy you might ask questions to compared to the boy I see up on stage is like night and day; they're completely different."

Laura emphasised how dance has enriched Olly with so much confidence as she said: "The confidence dance gives him is out of this world.

"Olly didn't start talking until he was around four or five-years-old and used to whisper in his brother's ear. He couldn't even speak to me.

"He was very shy, but then he found his voice through singing and walking through dance."

While dance has filled Olly with a confidence he never once had, he has also faced challenges due to the stigma surrounding male stereotypes.

13-year-old Olly Forsyth.
13-year-old Olly Forsyth.

Laura said: "It's a shame because he is sometimes embarrassed to tell people that he dances.

"He is the only boy at the dance studio he goes to and has been for years.

"Even when I went to his parents' evening and spoke with his drama teacher, she had no idea that he danced and was off to America to represent Scotland.

"It's only his close friends and family who know exactly what he's like, but from the outside looking in, you'd never guess he's a confident dancer."

Laura talked about the emotional toll dancing has had on Olly at school as she raised her apprehension about him entering secondary school as a boy dancer.

Olly at the front of his dance team performing.
Olly at the front of his dance team performing.

She said: "There have been multiple times he has called me and kids have been pushing him about at the park and calling him names just because he is a dancer, which was hard because he loves it so much.

"Just after Covid, it was a struggle to get him back dancing because of it all, but I am so glad I gave him the push he needed as I can now see the confidence he has gotten out of it.

"He still gets a lot of stick for it, but it has gotten to the point where he just doesn't care.

"Dance makes him so happy, so he will keep doing it even if some kids may call him names because when you look at him, you wouldn't think he is a dancer, but he is and I think he is just amazing!"

Laura and Olly are set to head to Disney World in America this April to take part in the International Cheer Union (ICU) World Championship, where Olly has been selected to represent Scotland.

Inverness Team Love Cheer.
Inverness Team Love Cheer.

Laura has now set up a fundraiser in the hope of raising £1,500 to help cover the costs that come along with this trip from costumes, training kits, entry fees and accommodation.

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