IT’S A long way from Anniesland to Broadway but dancer John Dempsey has made the leap in style.

The 29-year-old, who is currently starring in the UK tour of Kinky Boots, says he owes it all to his training in Glasgow.

“Attending Glasgow Clyde College was definitely the best move for me,” he explains.

“I didn’t have much technique, but the lecturers nurtured me and they also pushed hard. It’s not an easy ride; but it is extremely rewarding.”

John is joining fellow graduates of Glasgow Clyde College to pay tribute to Dance Studio Scotland, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year with a call for more men to enter the profession.

“I don’t know why the sheer physicality and strength required doesn’t attract more males,” says senior lecturer Maxine Railton.

“Old attitudes die hard, especially in the West of Scotland where boys play football and girls dance.

“My male graduates have all done really well and travelled the globe.

“At the other end of their career, so many male dancers become successful choreographers and teachers so there is longevity there.”

She adds, smiling: “Any young man who loves to dance should really give me a call…”

Based at the College’s Anniesland campus, the studio has a strong focus on the three core theatrical styles; ballet, contemporary, and jazz, but Maxine points out that dancers need to adapt, too.

“Over the last 20 years, the delivery of the core styles hasn’t changed, but the range of newer disciplines we offer, such as street and commercial, reflects the demands of the current industry,” she says.

“Dancers have to be increasingly versatile if they are to gain employment in a hugely competitive market.

John, who moved to New York five years ago to pursue his talent, took up dancing after watching his sister perform at a local school.

After three years of begging his parents, he enrolled at a stage school in Glasgow and learned how to act before gaining a place at Langside College (now Glasgow Clyde College) on its NQ Musical Theatre course.

From there he enrolled at the College’s Anniesland campus and went on to spend two years at Glasgow Clyde College completing an HNC in Dance Artists.

“The course puts things into context,” he says.

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“Not only do you learn technique, but you also learn about the body and its anatomy which gives you a better grasp of how you should be looking after your body and how it moves and performs.

“Going to Dance Studio Scotland was a wonderful experience for me.

“I met some of my closest friends there 11 years ago; it’s a bond that can’t easily be broken and many of us went on to work in all aspects of the industry.”

Since moving to the US, John has performed in A Chorus Line twice, Cats and as Referee Angel in Kinky Boots. He performed it for the first time in front of a home crowd in Glasgow in May.

“It was an exceptional experience to appear in two of the most well-known musicals in the world straight out of college,” he says, admitting that the road has not always been easy.

“I had nine auditions for Kinky Boots, before being offered the role in America.

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“I was part of the cast for around six months until the show closed in 2017. It was incredible and a really big deal for me.”

He adds: “Being part of this tour and this production again is a dream come true. The show is so special to me and delivers some very strong messages of love and acceptance.”