Golds at Goldthorpe

Our Berry Babes took so many medals at this festival that we can’t report on all of them, so here are some of the highlights!

Our pupils took the  Dearne Valley Dance Festival by storm, with the Xaba sisters swiping the first two golds of the festival (all before 9am, their tired mum might add)! Laylah and Aliyah both won their Modern categories, with Leila Steer taking fourth place.

Well done to our youngest ballerinas Laylah, Abigail Bridger, Gracie Howsham, and Niamh Thompson who danced beautifully according to Miss Marie, with Niamh and Laylah tying for fourth place. In the Junior Cabaret Trio section, Megan Bridger, Aliyah, and Evie Wright performed their Tap dance, Positivity, for the first time and took second place. Meanwhile, Isabel Adshead, Abi and Laylah danced all the way down the yellow brick road to third place.

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Congratulations to our Berry Babes in C Modern who took first, second and fourth place! Respectively, the medals went to Eleanor Jackson, Lilli Walker and Isobel Moseley. In C Tap Maddison Buckley took gold while Maisie Ganley took bronze. In the Intermediate National section we were thrilled to see Eleanor take another gold while Megan Moore and Courtney Smith were placed third and fourth respectively. Sticking to Nationals, Leila Steer came first in her age-group with Megan Bridger and Grace Mitchell also taking third and fourth place respectively.

2015 04 13 Goldthorpe Jodie
Jodie and Ewan


We saw Kayla Barnes as Jack Frost and Alana with her Decorator’s Dilemma in the Inter Character section, with them taking second and fourth place respectively. The Steer sisters got their fair share of medals too: Leila won third place for her Ballet and Jodie took fourth place with her Greek dance, Autumn to Spring.

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On gold and silver in their National category was Isabel Adshead and Abigail Bridger! Well done girls. Liberty Shepherd won her Character section and Alexandra O’Brien also placed third. The lovely Trolley Song group performance got a silver medal in the Intermediate Troupe category, and following on shortly from that our bendy wendys Rebecca Hanneman and Emily Gay won first and third place in the Senior Acro section.

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Eva, Eleanor, Maddie, Kayla and (cheeky) Coen

In their different National sections, Evie Wright took second place and Aliyah Xaba came fourth. In E National, Bridie Thorpe also took a silver medal, while Alex O’Brien and Charlotte Stones tied for fourth place. Charlotte and Bree Quinton won first place with their Song and Dance duet while Alex and Rebecca Hanneman took fourth place.

Megan and her gold medal


Congratulations to Abigail Bridger on her silver Modern medal, and in that same section Isobel Adshead and Niamh Thompson tied for fourth place – Niamh also won fourth place for her Character! It was silver medals all over the place for Leila Steer with her Tap and Coen Quinton with his Song and Dance. Big sister Bree Quinton took second place with her Character.

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Leila, Aliyah, Coen & Neve

One of the highlights of the festival was our sweeping the medal board in the E and F Ballet sections. An extremely proud Miss Lucie was thrilled to see Liberty Shepherd step forward to receive gold, Emily Gay taking silver, Charlotte winning bronze and Alex taking fourth place in the E age-group, and then to Bree and Rebecca carving up gold and silver between them in the F age-group! Well done girls.

We like the look of this line-up!
We like the look of this line-up!

In E Song and Dance, we were delighted to see Charlotte Stones perform her way to first place. Not one to be left out, Megan Moore also won her Modern section! Aliyah Xaba took fourth place with her Character while Grace Mitchell stormed her way to gold in the same section – well done to you two! Grace also received fourth place for her Ballet while Alana O’Connor took a bronze medal for hers.

Grace and Megan


Maisie Ganley and Megan Thorpe took care of gold and silver in their National section while first, second and fourth went to Bree Quinton, Isabelle Sykes and Rebecca Hanneman respectively for their Song and Dance category. Well done to Maddie Dunn who took fourth place with her Character, A Girl in Every Port.

Some very happy medalists - ballerinas Liberty & Emily
Some very happy medalists – ballerinas Liberty & Emily

Some extremely high marks were achieved in the Senior Duets section, with Rebecca and Bree attaining a score of 90. The girls won the section and Alex and Bridie came in fourth out of a group of 32 entries – an impressive result! In another big section, Alex won gold with Bridie and Charlotte Stones on fourth places respectively for their Modern solos.

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Rebecca and Bree

Congratulations to one of our newer pupils, Connor Povey, who tapped his way to the podium and claimed first place! There were a few Berry Babes dancing for the first time at this festival, and they all did marvellously! Hannah Braithwaite (whose mum many former pupils will know as Lindsay Hardman) took third place in Baby Classical while Coen Quinton took fourth place. A big well done to Missy Thorpe, Briony Plightling, Hebe-Rose Burton and Alycia and Bradley Mayfield who performed for the first time at their very first dance competition! We were all very proud of you.

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Proud Miss Rachel & Hebe-Rose

Another highlight of the festival was the E Tap section… there were many strong competitors in this category, many of them our own pupils, and you can imagine our delight when the very popular Mr Jack Skelton danced out of his skin to a well-deserved first place. The biggest cheers were from his friends up on stage with him, and when Charlotte was awarded second place, the first thing she did was walk up to Jack and congratulate him. We were proud of Jack and proud of our Team Berry spirit.

We say this at the end of every Comp Report, but the success of our pupils could not happen without the hard work of our staff and the unfailing support from mums, dads, nans and granddads. Well done to our pupils for continuing to do their best, and thank you to that backstage team who make it all possible. We can’t wait to see what we’ll do at Two Counties… see you then!

Trophy Girls


Matthew Croke

I started dancing in 1992 at the Maureen Law School of Dance when I was five, and when I was 14 I came to Mrs Berry’s with Devon. I have loads of dancing memories but my favourites have to be English Tap Championships at Manchester with ‘Messy Bessy’ in 2003, and also dancing at the IDTA Teachers’ Congress at Southport with Linzi Thompson. I was also lucky enough to win Dance Master UK aged 15, dancing to ‘New York State of Mind’ by Billy Joel. 

Private lessons were always a stressful business, and so Mrs Berry kept me calm and chilled by taking me to McDonald’s afterwards! The most gruelling part of my life was the preparation for my tap exam with Miss Rebecca. The only way I can describe it is torture, and I still have nightmares about it now!    

When I was 16 I attended Laine Theatre Arts College where I trained for my National Diploma in Musical Theatre. I met some great friends at college and had some brilliant experiences dancing at the Royal Variety Performance in 2005 for Shirley Bassey and Missy Elliot. I also performed on ITV’s Discomania, Abbamania, Elvismania and Madonnamania, and graduated aged 19 in 2007. 

 Straight from college I went on to dance in Grease at the Picadilly Theatre for a year. After this I danced in Wicked at the Apollo Victoria for a year, Shall We Dance for Adam Cooper at Sadler’s Wells for three months and then Irving Berlin’s White Christmas at Manchester at the Lowry Theatre.

From 2010 for nearly two years, I performed in Chicago at the Cambridge Theatre, and from February 2012 to June 2013 I performed in Singin’ in the Rain at the Palace Theatre. 

 Between September 2013 and September 2014 I appeared in the national UK tour of West Side Story as a Jet. This was an amazing experience because I got to dance alongside my childhood friend and former Berry school pupil, Devon, who played a Shark. 

 Since October 2014 I have rejoined the cast of Wicked at the Apollo Victoria and I am enjoying every moment! I am especially delighted to be understudying the character of Fiyero, and was thrilled to spot Mrs B in the audience cheering me on when I played him. 

 I still love coming back to Mrs Berry’s when I can, teaching the pupils a routine from the West End or appearing on the show itself as I have done for the past four times. They just can’t keep me away!

Matt as Fiyero in Wicked, at the Apollo Victoria, London

A Place in the Sun

We’re thrilled for our former pupil Hollie Glossop who will be moving out to Malta tomorrow to begin her job performing at a hotel!  She will be there for six months, probably getting very tanned, dancing for guests. She’s incredibly excited about this opportunity, but also a little bit stressed as she has had to up and leave pretty quickly! We wish you a safe flight Hol, and cannot wait to hear how you get on.  All the best!

2015 03 01 Hollie performing pic

Miss Dancing all the way to Blackpool

Congratulations are in order for two of our many fantastic Berry Babes who have secured places into the Grand Final of the IDTA’s Miss Dance of Great Britain award, held annually in Blackpool. Rebecca Hanneman won her heat in October 2014, and last night, Bree Quinton also danced her way to the final of a very prestigious dance competition.


Another of our Berry Babes, Bridie Thorpe, has also been performing her heart out at heats, taking runner-up only last week, so we think it will only be a matter of time before she makes it the magic trio! Three is Mrs Berry’s lucky number… so no pressure Bridie!

Miss Dance takes place in June at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool, and many of the pupils, staff and parents attend every year on a big Berry school coach and enjoy fish and chips in between the fantastic showcase of dancing. In the past we have had many pupils performing at this competition, with Miss Rebecca taking third place, and our former pupils Matt Croke and Devon McKenzie-Smith taking third place in their own Dance Master competitions.