Can Tom Holland dance? Spider-Man actor cast as Fred Astaire is actually a trained ballet dancer

7 December 2021, 15:09

Tom Holland is a trained ballet dancer who played Billy Elliot on the West End
Tom Holland is a trained ballet dancer who played Billy Elliot on the West End. Picture: YouTube / marian0000007 / Marvel

By Sian Moore

Before he started shooting webs and fighting bad guys, Tom Holland aka Spider-Man trained in ballet, and even played Billy Elliot on the West End.

Tom Holland, aka our most recent Spider-Man, has just been cast as the legendary Fred Astaire in a new biopic.

And with good reason. Holland is a trained ballet dancer who cut his teeth playing Billy Elliot on the West End stage.

Holland made his debut in the show, which follows a young boy from County Durham who has to hide his love for ballet, in 2008 after choreographer, Lynne Page, spotted him performing with his dance school.

And from the ages of 12 to 14, Tom starred as the lead in Lee Hall’s beloved musical.

Read more: Inspiring hospital staff surprise ballet-loving cancer patient with ‘Swan Lake’ routine >

Tom Holland dancing ballet

When did Tom Holland start doing ballet?

The actor had first pursued dancing through a hip hop class at the Nifty Feet Dance School in Wimbledon, London, and attended The BRIT School for Performing Arts and Technology.

But before his big West End role, Holland had no formal ballet training. In preparation for his first role in the musical as Billy Elliot’s best friend, Michael, he undertook two years of ballet lessons. His dancing skills and impressive acrobatics stunned audiences, and bagged him the lead role.

But it wasn’t all plain sailing in the early days of the actor’s dancing. Speaking to People magazine, the 24-year-old revealed he had to face “harassment from peers” when he was younger.

“There was times when I was bullied about dancing and stuff,” he said. “But you couldn’t hit me hard enough to stop me from doing it.”

He also explained how he was first scouted, telling the media outlet: “They saw potential in me and they started sending dance teachers to my house.”

Read more: This video of a Harlem ballet company dancing to Bach will give you goosebumps

Spiderman actor Tom Holland is actually a trained ballet dancer
Spiderman actor Tom Holland is actually a trained ballet dancer. Picture: Getty

It was a momentous day for the Internet, when it first found out Holland was an incredibly talented dancer.

It all came out around 2017, when the superhero performed a dance routine to Rihanna’s ‘Umbrella’ on Comedy Central’s Lip Sync Battle.

Well, now we know he’s had years of ballet training, it’s no wonder he can jeté across all those buildings.

Read more: 8 pulse-racing videos of male ballet dancers leaping very, very high

Watch these striking ballet dancers revolutionise Ravel's Boléro

Is Tom Holland playing dancer Fred Astaire?

The British actor confirmed that he will portray Astaire, who is best remembered for dancing and singing with Ginger Rogers in films including 1930s comedies Top Hat and Swing Time, in a new film biopic.

Speaking to Associated Press at a red carpet event for the third Spider-Man film, Holland said: “Oh, I am playing Fred Astaire. The script came in a week ago.

“I haven’t read it yet, they haven’t given it to me. I know that Amy Pascal has the script. She FaceTimed me earlier – I was in the bath – and we had a lovely FaceTime. But I will be playing Fred Astaire.”

Astaire is widely considered as the film world’s most treasured dancer.