Danielle Morris talks to Vienna Festival Ballet dancer Ben Cook

Ben Cook might only be 23, but he’s already had a whirlwind career as a dancer and says he is living “every man’s dream”.

Ben, who grew up just outside of Somerset is enjoying his first season with the Vienna Festival Ballet.

The company is celebrating their 35th year with a special Anniversary Gala tour around the UK – which comes to the Brewhouse Theatre in May.

And for Ben, dance has always been a passion.

“I’ve been a dancer most of my life, since my mother is a dance teacher,” he said.

“I’ve always wanted to be a dancer, since I was very young.

“I had tried other sports such as diving and gymnastics but ballet was what I wanted to pursue as a career.”

Like most dancers, Ben has had extensive training in different styles of dance, including ballet, jazz, tap and contemporary.

He added: “It’s always useful to have a variety of different styles of dance as the career can be quite challenging.

“In this day and age especially as fewer people are watching ballets and the jobs are fewer and further apart, I feel very privileged to be able to work here in the UK.”

So how did Ben get into the Vienna Festival Ballet?

“I trained for three years at the Royal Ballet School and then five years at the Elmhurst School for Dance.

“After that I did a further three years as an apprentice in the USA and then came back and went for a job with the Vienna Festival Ballet.

“I had heard of the company and I knew them as one of the few that toured around the UK.

“I hadn’t ever seen them before but I had heard good things and I’d always wanted to apply and I did and now I’m enjoying my first season with them.”

The Vienna Festival Ballet Company was founded by Peter Mallek, who began his career at the tender age of 14 when he joined the Vienna State Opera.

After an illustrious career touring all over the world from America, Australia and Europe, Peter founded the company with aim in mind, to pass on his love and devotion of classical ballet.

His wife Gill, also a dancer, now helps run the company.

But even though ballet performances may not be as popular as in previous years, Ben admits the stigma attached to male dancers is still ever present, but Ben has found a way around it.

He jokes: “There is still some stigma attached to being a male dance, however I enjoy my job and it no longer matters to me.

“For six nights of the week I have to pretend to be in love with three girls every night, it’s every man’s dream!”

You’d be fooled in thinking that Ben’s daily regime was all play and no work, but with the company currently on tour, there’s not much time to relax.

“My daily regime consists of company class, then placing on the stages at the theatres we go to and then we perform the shows that very same night.

“We get a summer holiday and a Christmas holiday, but unlike a regular job we can’t request says off.

“Working for Vienna Festival Ballet is like working with friends and we’re like one big family and at other companies I’ve worked for there can be quite a competitive element, but here everyone is so friendly and encouraging.

“I hope to stay with the Vienna Festival Ballet for as long as possible because I like to have the chance to perform as many roles and repertoire as I can with them.

“This company has a lot of history so it's a privilege to be performing in the 35th anniversary gala, and it's been really great performing different roles of ballets in one show.”