From a Borders village to the Royal Swedish Ballet

bbc– A ballet dancer from the Borders village of Oxton has become principal dancer at The Royal Swedish Ballet.

Calum Lowden said he was “ecstatic” and “surprised” after being given the position.

A world-renowned performer, he is best known for his roles in productions including The Nutcracker and Alice in Wonderland.

He said he was particularly proud of his achievement as he was “not the most supple person”.

“I honestly didn’t think it was something that was on the cards for me,” he told BBC Radio Scotland’s Drivetime.

“So I wasn’t actually thinking about it.

“It is an extremely nice surprise and it was even better that they got a hold of my family on FaceTime so they were on the stage with me and they knew before me actually.”

The dancer – whose brother is actor Jack Lowden – found out he had secured the role after a gala performance.

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“I was standing on the stage next to a lot of my colleagues and, to be honest, I wasn’t fully listening because I didn’t think it would be me,” he said.

“I was actually thinking about my dinner at the time, just wanting to get home.

“So when my name got called out I was absolutely shocked and I don’t know if I fully enjoyed the moment. I feel very lucky.”

His love of dance started while growing up in the Borders.

“We were down seeing friends in Manchester and my mum and dad took us to see Michael Flatley of all people in an arena doing this Lord of the Dance or something,” he said.

“Me and my brother saw him do a tap dance with all these guys on the stage and it was very powerful and impressive and so we actually got into tap.

“We joined the Manor School of Ballet in Edinburgh and slowly that just transitioned into ballet for me and my brother went separately into acting.”

He is now in his 11th season with the Swedish company, having moved there in 2011.

He said it was a demanding profession.

“It is a gruelling process – for me the hardest part is the whole flexibility of it,” he said.

“I am not the most supple person – I feel quite proud that I have managed to get this far without being able to do the splits or almost touch my toes.”