Billy Elliot (2000, by Stephen Daldry)

Billy Elliot is the story of a boy from a coal mining family who decides to be a ballet dancer. Billy Elliot is a 2000 British drama about a boy becoming a professional ballet dancer. His decision causes, perhaps predictably, a great deal of family controversy. The novel by Melvin Burgess is based on the film of the same name.


In 1984, Billy Elliot, an 11-year-old boy, loves to dance and has hopes of becoming a professional ballet dancer. Billy lives with his widowed father, Jackie, and older brother, Tony, both coal miners out on strike (= grève), and also his maternal grandmother, and once aspired to be a professional dancer.

Billy's father sends him to the gym to learn boxing, but Billy dislikes the sport. He happens upon a ballet class that is using the gym while their usual basement studio is temporarily being used as a soup kitchen for the striking miners. Unknown to Jackie, Billy joins the ballet class. When Jackie discovers this, he forbids Billy to take any more ballet. But, passionate about dancing, Billy secretly continues lessons with the help of his dance teacher, Sandra Wilkinson.

Mrs. Wilkinson believes that Billy is talented enough to study at the Royal Ballet School in London, but due to Tony's arrest during a skirmish between police and striking miners, Billy misses the audition. Mrs. Wilkinson tells Jackie about the missed opportunity, but fearing that Billy will be considered to be gay, both Jackie and Tony are outraged at the prospect of him becoming a professional ballet dancer.

Over Christmas, Billy learns his best friend Michael is gay. Although Billy is not, he is supportive of his friend. Later, Jackie catches Billy dancing in the gym and realises his son is truly gifted; he resolves to do whatever it takes to help Billy attain his dream. Mrs. Wilkinson tries to persuade Jackie to let her pay for the audition, but he replies that Billy is his son and he does not need charity. Jackie attempts  to pay for the trip to London, but Tony stops him. Instead, his fellow miners and the neighbourhood raise some money and Jackie pawns Billy's mother's jewelry to cover the cost, and Jackie takes him to London to audition. Although very nervous, Billy performs well, but he punches another boy in frustration at the audition, fearing that he has ruined his chances of attaining his dream. He is sternly rebuked by the review board, but when asked what it feels like when he is dancing, he describes it as being "like electricity". Seemingly rejected, Billy returns home with his father. Sometime later, the Royal Ballet School sends him a letter telling him he has been accepted, coinciding with the end of the miners' strike, and he leaves home to attend.

In 1998, 25-year-old Billy takes the stage to perform the Swan in  Swan Lake, as Jackie, Tony, and Michael watch from the audience; his father is visibly moved by the performance.