ART BEAT: 16-year-old Suwanee student accepted at prestigious Russian ballet academy

Tamon Uruno, a student at Suwanee’s Royal Dance Academy, has been offered an opportunity to study classical ballet in Russia at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy. (Special Photo)

He’s only 16, but Tamon Uruno has already been recognized for a rare artistic gift and offered a huge opportunity in the international world of ballet. A student at Royal Dance Academy in Suwanee, young Uruno is setting his sights on studying in Moscow, Russia, in 2018.

The prestigious Bolshoi Ballet Academy has offered Uruno acceptance into its school after he spent part of this summer on scholarship at their Bolshoi Academy in New York City. The offer came as a result of placing second in the Senior Men’s Division in Atlanta’s sectional of the Youth America Grand Prix Competition. Uruno was the youngest male in the Men’s Senior Division, yet he still took home the silver.

Uruno’s dance career at Suwanee’s Royal Dance Academy began when he returned to the United States from Japan at the age of 9. Although born in the United States, Uruno and his family returned to Japan where he began taking dance class at age 4.

He admits being a little homesick, then he arrived back in this country and began looking for a dance studio that suited him. He found the Royal Dance Academy and a wonderful teacher in owner and artistic director Sarah Haslock-Johnson.

Royal Dance Academy offers the Royal Academy of Dance method of teaching classical ballet, and Haslock-Johnson is a CPD and CBTS Tutor of this successful curriculum. She graduated from the Royal Academy of Dance in London herself in 1993.

Under her guidance, Uruno blossomed as a dancer and began participating in the Youth America Grand Prix at age 11.

“I saw other people dancing who were better than me, and it inspired me to want to excel,” Uruno said.

Over the next few years, Uruno climbed in the ranks of young dancers. In 2014, he was offered summer scholarships to Ballet West and to the Royal Ballet in London through his YAGP participation. He opted for London and received an award there as the Most Promising Male Student. At age 14, he spent his summer at the Harid Conservatory in Florida.

Last January, when he placed second in the men’s finals, he garnered the Bolshoi Academy scholarship in New York City. The school wasn’t easy.

“They were very strict,” Uruno said. “Working on feet, arms, it was very intense work. I got to partner. I improved!”

Then came the email with an invitation to move to Russia and be a part of one of the greatest ballet schools in the world. However, each year will cost approximately $20,000. Because of this expense, funding is being sought, which means he cannot begin this October, but he hopes to start as early in 2018 as possible.

“Tamon takes every direction and works so hard to get everything right,” Haslock-Johnson said. “His great work ethic has not changed throughout the years. He was dedicated and serious from the start.”

For more information about Tamon and the Royal Dance Academy, visit or call 678-926-3373.

Holley Calmes is a freelance writer and public relations consultant specializing in the arts. Email her at

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