Matt Flies to Agrabah

Matthew Croke

We’re thrilled to say that former pupil Matthew Croke has landed the lead role in Disney Theatrical Production‘s Aladdin at the Prince Edward Theatre in London’s West End!

Matt will join the current cast and star as Aladdin himself opposite former Sugababe Jade Ewan as Jasmine and Trevor Dion Thomas playing the Genie. This immensely popular magical musical opened last June 2016 and Matthew will take on the role on 5th June.

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In addition to his professional musical theatre career, Matt has been a part-time teacher at the Berry Academy of Dance, bringing new skills, choreography, and his experience to benefit our pupils. We couldn’t be prouder of his achievements and we cannot wait to see him taking up his harem trousers and magic carpet very soon!

If you’d like to find out more about Matt, please click here.

To read more about the cast changes afoot at Aladdin, please click here.

Happy 18th Birthday Bridie!

A very Happy Birthday to our lovely Bridie Thorpe who turns 18 today!

2017.03.26 Bridie 04Bridie started dancing class age 3 and joined our school age 8, and the rest is history! Her first Berry School show was Save The Last Dance in 2010, as she had to miss the 2008 show when her family went on holiday to Florida – her mum Keeley assures us she only forgave her after 2 years!

Her first interaction with professional theatre was appearing as part of the children’s chorus in Take That The Musical at Sheffield Lyceum age 10, and from the age of 11, she was a regular in Evolution Pantomime’s popular festive shows at the Lyceum. She was part of the cast until the age of 15.

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Bridie’s first dance festival

Competitively, Bridie has also flourished. She competed in her first dance festival at Penistone with a modern solo age 11 and has since gone on to achieve a place in the IDTA’s prestigious Miss Dance of Great Britain in both 2015 and 2016.

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She has also enjoyed a successful curriculum career, having been nominated to perform in the IDTA Theatre Awards in 4 consecutive years, gaining Special Commendations in Modern 3 times, twice for Theatre Craft and once for Tap.

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Currently Bridie is studying Dance and Theatre Studies at A Level and is hoping to go on to further her dance career at college.

If her future is half as bright as her achievements with us, we have no doubt that she’ll go on to do great things. Happy Birthday sweetheart.

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With her special commendation in 2016

The Results Are In

Berry Academy of Dance are pleased to report that our latest exam session maintained our school record of 100% pass rate. Nearly every grade was tested as the following classes passed these exams: Theatre Craft Rosette, Preparatory Theatre Craft, Primary Theatre Craft, Grade 1 Ballet, Grade 2 Tap, Grade 4 Modern Jazz & Intermediate Ballet.

We were absolutely thrilled to find out that Maisie Ganley, 13, was awarded 91 marks for her performance in Grade 4 Modern Jazz and has been nominated to dance in the IDTA Theatre Awards held in Manchester in 2018. It is an honour to be invited to this event and we cannot wait to cheer Maisie on next year.

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A very happy IDTA Nominee!

Maisie also recently entered TDCI’s Championships at Chesterfield, where she won 5th place in Junior Song and Dance, playing Sally Brown and performing My New Philosophy. 

Well done to Maisie for this fantastic achievement and well done to every pupil in the school who took an exam, we continue to be proud of your efforts.

Miss Dance 2017 – Alex Qualifies

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A huge well done to our fabulous Alexandra O’Brien who has qualified for the IDTA’s prestigious Miss Dance of Great Britain 2017!

This will be Alex’s second time competing on the huge stage at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens, this year with a new routine, Crunchy Granola.

Alex has been offered a place at Urdang Academy, and we can’t wait to cheer her on alongside Rebecca, Bree and Jack in June. Congratulations gorgeous girl!


Comp Report: Goldthorpe 2017

Trophy winners

As usual our Berry Babes did not disappoint at this 4-day festival of dance. New dances, old favourites, there was all to play for at this South Yorkshire competition. Unfortunately we can’t list all the achievements of our pupils or we’ll be here all day, but to give you a taste of our high achievers, take a look at the write-up below! Also lots of fab pics of all our pupils right at the bottom.


Earning her spot at the Trophy Presentation, one of our younger pupils, Abbie Braithwaite won Baby Modern right at the beginning of proceedings. Leila Steer won her Ballet section while Maisie Ganley won her Tap. DSC_0014-001

Two of our Miss Dance nominees, Rebecca Hanneman and Bree Quinton, teamed up to take 1st place in Senior Modern Duet, with Jack Skelton and Ewan Revill taking 3rd place. Sticking on the theme of duets we were also pleased to see Eva Cadet and Eleanor Jackson win their Song and Dance Duet.

Our younger dancers held up their end with Neve Francis taking first place in A Modern and Coen Quinton taking second place. We were also very proud of Halle Ferguson, competing in her first ever dance festival and earning a 4th place in Baby Song and Dance, while big sister Missy took 3rd place with her Character.

Quite a few new Berry Babes were welcomed into the dance festival fold, we were thrilled to see the following dancers making their first appearances on the stage: Leila Arslan, Millie Boynton, Evie Bradford, Neveah Brook, Summer Griffin, Tiana Lewis, Evie O’Connor and Gracie Rogers. Well done girls!



Maisie Ganley took home rather a lot of gold medals, including Ballet, Modern and Tap while in Modern we took a straight gold-bronze sweep with Isabel Adshead, Niamh Thompson and Abi Bridger winning medals respectively.

Ewan, full of character in real life and also on stage, won first place with his Character dance, while the original bendy Wendy Emily Gay took first place in Senior Acro with Rebecca taking 4th. Our inter acrobats also did well with Megan Thorpe earning silver, Bridey Bonnett taking 3rd place and Aliyah Xaba taking 4th.


Not to be outdone, our other seniors took 1st, 2nd and 4th places respectively for their Tap section, well done to Jack, Charlotte Stones and Alexandra O’Brien. Also one of the highlights of the weekend was F Modern, which was a clean Berry Sweep: 1st place for Rebecca, 2nd Eve Wainwright, 3rd Jack Skelton, 4th Bridie Thorpe and Alex.

Winners of Intermediate Bursary & Outstanding Performance

Troupes and trophies:

We were thrilled to win the Senior Classical troupe section, while the Senior Acts category, the closing act for the festival, saw our pupils compete with a Michael Jackson number and the school favourite, Jai Ho. We were pleased that Jai Ho was awarded a silver medal and it was a wonderful colourful watch thanks to the new costumes worn by the pupils.


It was great to see so many Berry Babes on the stage at the Trophy Presentation, particular mentions however must go to our very own Aliyah Xaba who not only won her Ballet and Modern but was also awarded the Intermediate Bursary Prize! Congratulations Aliyah.

The final prize of the night was for Most Outstanding Performance and to great cheers our Rebecca Hanneman won this award for her F Modern performance. Well done Becky.


As usual, festivals are only successful as a group effort, so a huge congratulations to the teachers for their fab choreography and hard work, thank you to the mums and nans and dads who act as make-up artists, tailors, chauffeurs and number one fans, and well done to all of our pupils for representing the school so well.

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