Note: Millán de Benito is currently appearing as Billy in the Spanish production of Billy Elliot the Musical (BETM) at the Nuevo Teatro Alcalá in Madrid.
Debut: April 5, 2019 (Madrid, Spain)
Total Performances as Billy to Date: 10.5 (As of 31-May-2019) (Includes one partial show credited at 0.5)
Millán de Benito was 12 years old when he debuted as Billy in the Spanish production of BETM at the Nuevo Teatro Alcalá in Madrid. He is from Logroño, which is the capital city of the province La Rioja in northern Spain, and he is the youngest of three brothers.
Millán has danced since he was very young. His father recalls that when he was little he would always dance around making rhythms. And so at the age of four he was put into dance classes at Academia López Infante, and has continued to train there ever since. Millán says, “I focus on the ballet, which is the basis of everything, and I also do a bit of hip hop, modern, Spanish, contemporary, tap.” Aurora López Infante, who runs the school says, “His teachers are in love with Millán. His potential is important and has been progressing faster than most because he has a lot of vocation, something that is not normal for his age. It is not hard for him to spend many hours in the academy, with which his training increases by leaps and bounds.”
In late 2017 Aurora López Infante learned about the latest round of casting for BETM in Madrid, and encouraged Millán to do the audition, saying that she thought he had a chance because of his versatility and expressiveness. Following her advice, Millán’s mother, Estrella, sent off the application to Madrid in October 2017 and a week later he was called for an audition.
Millán describes what that first audition was like, “We entered three at a time and had to do a minute and a half of dance, another of comic monologue and another of singing. And then they asked you for other tests, as they saw you — ballet steps, acting with the director, etc. There were nerves, but when you are there you relax.” After doing well at the audition Millán was chosen with 12 other boys to attend intensive workshops in Madrid across three weekends to check how they handled the pressure, if they were disciplined enough to do the training and to see how their dancing developed over time.
After successfully passing this second test, Millán was invited to start full time training at the Billy Elliot School in Madrid, which is run by Victor Ullate Jr. and Carmen Roche. So after spending Christmas at home, Millán began 2018 by moving to Madrid with his father, Pelayo, where he now attends a new school during the day and then trains at the Billy School afterwards. Training at the Billy School is three to four hours per day, from Tuesday to Saturday, where all aspects of performing arts are taught but with the main focus being on ballet, tap, acting and acrobatics.
When this training started Millán didn’t know how long it would last for before he would get to go on stage, as different kids take different amounts of time to be ready to debut, but it is often around a year to a year and a half. He also didn’t know which role he would eventually be taking, but he had his heart set on the lead role of Billy “although it is very difficult because the musical lasts more than three hours and has very intense numbers”, he said.
Fifteen months on from the start of his training, Millán’s dream has now come true and he is ready to take to the stage in the lead role of Billy Elliot. When he does, he will become the 264th actor worldwide to play the role in a professional, regional or community theatre production of the musical.
Millán is clear that he wants a career as a dancer. Talking about his inspirations in the dance world, he says, “I love the technique and the expression of Sergei Polunin and also Nureyev, Nacho Duato”.
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