Shaun McLaughlin



After a difficult start in life, spending some years under the care of social services, Shaun has worked hard to build on early talent in dance to become a young male dancer of great promise.
When Shaun started out at the Dance School of Scotland he had had no previous dance experience. In the subsequent five years, he made remarkable progress and has now won a coveted place at Elmhurst School of Dance, with links with the Birmingham Royal Ballet.
While still at the Dance School, Shaun won the choreographic competition award which was performed at the Crawford Theatre, Jordanhill. He also won the Progress Prize in his final year at the school, and for the past five years performed in the school’s end of year shows.
Shaun’s ambition is to become a professional dancer. He writes: “dance is not only my passion in life in fact it is my life.”

How the Award Helped

The Dewar Arts Awards aims to help Shaun achieve his ambition by supporting him in his dance studies at Elmhurst.

Since the Award

Shaun made excellent progress in his first year. He won the upper school choreography competition which was judged by Sir Peter Wright, Marion Tait and Desmond Kelly. His funding continues into year two.
In his second year, Shaun was offered the opportunity to tour with the Birmingham Royal Ballet in The Sleeping Beauty. He was subsequently invited by the BRB to perform in Kenneth MacMillan's Romeo & Juliet. Shaun's support has been continued into a third year.

Shaun started his third year full of confidence that he would find a job with a major ballet company. After a successful tour with the Birmingham Royal Ballet in Romeo and Juliet it transpired that Shaun had to have an ankle operation. This devastating news effectively halted his progress towards his ultimate goal. Elmhurst fully supported his plan to continue there for a further year to prepare for auditions, and his support from the Dewar Arts Awards was also continued. Shaun writes that without the help of the Dewar Arts Awards, he would not have been able to change his life and become a professional dancer. Update: May 2012

Shaun has gained a place as Second Soloist at The Ballet of the Croatian National Theatre. He will be performing as The Prince in their upcoming production of Cinderella.

I am writing to thank you for your generous award … this will enable me to concentrate on my dancing and not worry about any major financial burdens.


Shaun gained a place as Second Soloist at The Ballet of the Croatian National Theatre. He performed as Prince Charming in their production of Cinderella. Read a press article here.