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Aidan Turner: Dance Sensation to Acting Star

Poldark star Aidan Turner’s incredible journey from dance sensation to international acting star

The 33-year-old’s former dance teacher has told all

Irish Mirror

Emma McMenamy
07:00, 12 SEP 2016


Poldark star Aidan Turner was on track to a becoming a successful dancer before hitting our screens as an international acting sensation.

The 33-year-old once placed third in the All-Ireland National Dance Championships as a teenager with his impressive ballroom and Latin American dance skills.

The Dubliner only turned his attentions to acting when he discovered the high costs involved with pursuing a career as an International dancer.

Dance teacher

His former teacher Tommy Shaughnessy (above), spoke to the Irish Mirror about “down-to-earth Aidan” and how he was always focused on becoming a success.

He said: “He came to me when he was about 15 and he would have had experience. He would have been moving into the adult section which starts at about 16.

“Personality wise you couldn’t meet a nicer kid.

“Next year I will have been teaching for 40 years and thousands of people would have passed through and Aidan always stood out to me as a pleasant, mannerly child.

Ballroom Dancing“I would have taught him what would have been called Latin American and Ballroom dancing but is now known as dancesport.

“He was a good dancer and eventually came third in the Irish National Championships in the adult section.

“His whole dance career with me would have lasted for about seven years.

“The last time he came to me we travelled to Italy for a big event there.

“I remember when we came home his wonderful mam Eileen came to me and said he had seen the great dancers in Italy and wanted to pursue a career in international dancing.

“She sat down with me and said, ‘I would really like to discuss how he can pursue a career in international dancing’.


“I went through the costs with her to get him to a world level. At the time it was a lot.

“I always wanted to move the kids on and I asked her what else he might be interested
in doing and that’s when she mentioned acting.

“That surprised me at the time as Aidan was a very quiet kid, he was a little bit of an introvert. So she took him into the Gaiety acting school at about 17 or 18 and he started to get a few jobs. The rest then they say is history.

“I wasn’t surprised in the sense that he was very focused and was going to do something regardless.

“If dancing wasn’t going to work for him for a financial purpose he was going to do it in another art form. He was highly disciplined.”

After being born in the front room of his first family home in Cherrywood Grove, Clondalkin, West Dublin, Aidan, his brother Colin, mum Eileen and dad Pat moved 6km to Walkinstown.

During his teenage years Aidan worked at the UCI Cinema in the Square shopping centre in Tallaght.

He has previously said how much he loved the job, where he worked for three years, which involved him cleaning and checking whether the film reel was projected properly. It’s a far cry from the life Aidan now leads, attending film premieres and jet setting across the world to movie sets.

While working away at the cinema he continued his studies at St Mac Dara’s Community College in Templeogue.

He graduated from the Gaiety School of Acting in Dublin in 2004 and after steady work in theatre and television, director  Peter Jackson cast him in the role of Kili for the Hobbit trilogy in 2011.

“I bumped into him a few months ago in town and he was the same person he was when he was 15.

“There are no airs or graces about him, he’s very grounded. That’s why he is so popular.”

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