A young dancer from York is off to a top ballet - school just 18 months after being spotted by chance at a line-dancing class in Huntington.

The Billy Elliot-style story of Faisal Khodabrukus, aged 17, has seen him go from no dancing experience at all to gaining a full scholarship for the Northern Ballet School in Manchester.

Faisal, of Malvern Close, Huntington, said it had all started when he went to the line-dancing class at Huntington Working Men's Club to keep a friend company.

"The teacher asked me if I had done it before, and I said no and she said 'you're good at it' so I did that for a while," he said.

Then one day the class went to practise at Huntington Memorial Hall, where teacher Rebecca Davies, who runs a ballet school, happened to be waiting to use the hall.

She said: "It was his lucky day the day I walked in. I didn't usually go into the hall on a Sunday and there were some people rehearsing so I sat down and watched and in the middle of these girls was this boy.

"I could tell straight away that Faisal had serious dance potential by the way he moved and his sense of rhythm. We happened to be just starting to rehearse a show so I asked him if was interested as we needed another boy. He was dead keen and came along and he's never looked back.

"From day one he could really dance. Everything was just completely natural. It was incredible that he had never had any training."

After taking part in Rebecca's production in October last year, Faisal then took on more coaching with Rebecca's sister, Rachel Carpenter, who, with her husband Eric encouraged him to go for his audition at Manchester.

Faisal, who takes AS Levels this summer, is leaving Huntington School halfway through the sixth form to start the course in September.

"All my friends and family are with me and some of my friends wish they could do it as well," he said.

"When I first went to Rebecca Davies' classes there were a lot of girls, but that has never really bothered me.

"At Northern Ballet there are lots of men so I'll just fit in."

Before he leaves school he will be helping to choreograph a school production of Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

And he said he had never regretted the day he agreed to have a go at line-dancing

"I'm very, very glad I went along that day - hopefully this will be my career."

Updated: 08:42 Thursday, May 31, 2001