The life of a miner’s son in Northern England is forever changed one day when he stumbles upon a ballet class on his way to boxing lessons. Joining the class, but keeping it a secret from his widowed father and overbearing brother, 11-year-old Billy (Jamie Bell) finds himself in dance, demonstrating the kind of raw talent seldom seen by the class’s exacting instructor, Mrs. Wilkinson (Julie Walters). She encourages him to try out for the Royal Ballet School in London, where he can refine his craft while escaping his oppressive surroundings.
But when his father and brother find out about the ballet classes and forbid him to continue, Billy is torn between his responsibility to his family and to the gift with which he has been blessed. His overwhelming desire to dance has become much more to him than simply a means of self-expression. It is his passion, and it is his destiny.