Sunday, August 18, 2019
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    Meet Billy Elliot: Svenno van Kleij

    Note: Svenno’s final show as Billy in the Netherlands production of the show was on August 1, 2015.

    Debut: 16-Nov-2014 (The Netherlands)

    Total Performances: 41 (No partial shows)

    Svenno ThumbSvenno was 12-years-old (D.O.B. = 12-12-2002) upon his debut and is from Uithoorn, which is a Dutch municipality and a town in the province of North Holland.

    Svenno got his dance training at Build Ya Skillz, which specializes in streetdance. Here are a couple of video clips that showcase Svenno’s dance skills.  The first depicts him dancing in a B-boy competition. B-boying is also called breakdancing, and is a style of street dance.

    Credit: Video by Rens van Kleij

     A second video, from the Build ya Skillz school’s Youtube channel, features Svenno and a fellow dancer:

    Credit: Video by Dansschool build ya skillz

    Svenno’s sister, Madoe, is also a member of the Billy Elliot cast in the role of one of the ballet girls.

    Svenno van Kleij2In an interview by the Kids Week website, when asked if the Billys are nervous as they get close to debuting, Svenno replies that they are a bit nervous, but adds “My parents are perhaps even more nervous than we are.  At least, that is what my mom says.”

    When asked what the best part of playing Billy is for him he says, “The best part about playing Billy is the ballet, because he does a lot of that in the show and he thinks it is completely amazing, just like I do.” Ironically he adds, “Before I auditioned, I had never done any ballet. I also didn’t have experience with singing or acting, but did do break dancing.”

    Asked what his favorite part of the show is, Svenno said “Electricity. You have to dance for a long time and sing at the same time.”  He added “I also look forward to flying.  I’ve never done something like that before.  It seems like such a nice feeling to float on a rope.”

    Is there anything at all negative about being Billy? According to Svenno “I don’t have a lot of free time. So meeting with my friends doesn’t happen very often. I also don’t have a lot of time to do fun things with my family.”  But those are things he obviously has decided are not outweighed by the once in a lifetime opportunity to play the role of Billy and carry a large scale musical on his shoulders for three hours a performance.

    He made his debut on 16-Nov-2014 at the AFAS Circus Theatre — the 4th of the original six Billys to do so. He’s the 80th boy in the world to play Billy Elliot in a professional production of BETM.

    Here’s a video from the official BETMNL website. It’s an introduction of Svenno and it’s in Dutch with English subtitles.

    Credit: Video by Billy Elliot Holland

    On January 7, 2015, the annual Musical Awards Gala was held. BETMNL was nominated for 10 awards and won three, including Best Large Musical and Best Young Talent by Svenno’s fellow Billy Carlos Puts.  At the show, Svenno represented BETMNL by performing Electricity:

    Credit: Video by AVROTROS Musical

    Always an audience favorite from the show, Expressing Yourself in this video clip features Svenno as Billy and Michiel Deddens as his best friend Michael:

    youtu.be/ThOwuVm94ck

    Credit: Video by MrMusicalking

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    Svenno at the Finale3

    For more information on Svenno visit:

    Billy Elliot the Forum, BETMNL Website, BETMNL Facebook Page

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