Ansel Elgort relied on ballerina girlfriend for West Side Story dance tips

The actor portrays Tony in the upcoming Steven Spielberg musical.

Ansel Elgort turned to his dancer girlfriend, Violetta Komyshan, to help him perfect his West Side Story moves.

The actor and musician, who portrays Tony in the upcoming Steven Spielberg musical, credits the ballet dancer for her support during his rigorous preparation and admits she really put him through his paces.

"Sometimes I show her my first position or my releve (dancing on his toes) and she says, 'You're rolling back on your foot', something like that," Elgort tells People magazine.

The 26-year-old began dating Komyshan while the two were attending a performing arts high school in New York as teens.

Elgort himself is no stranger to movement, training at the American Ballet Academy while growing up, but the star told Vanity Fair last year that acting and singing were always his first priority.

"I was dancing because I wanted to get better at it, not because I was really good or I liked it," he said. "I loved singing and acting and dancing, but dancing was definitely the third."

And he recently admitted the hard work on the West Side Story set cost him a role as Elvis Presley in Baz Luhrmann's new Colonel Tom Parker biopic.

"I was in the middle of filming West Side Story, so it was a little hard," he told Huffington Post. "I watched a ton of footage and memorised some of (Presley's) interviews just to get his speech pattern down, and sang a bunch of his stuff... but I wasn't really prepared."

West Side Story hits theatres in December next year.

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