A happy and much belated birthday to our wonderful Charlotte Stones, who turned 18 in September.
Charlotte began dancing at the age of 4 and joined us when she was 8. This was following her first appearance in Sheffield Theatres’ pantomime, Aladdin, where she met Isabelle and Lisa.
She took her first exam 3 months after starting and competed in her first dance festival at Cantley where she was in the Mr Blue Sky troupe… apparently the music stopped half way through!
Charlotte was a regular in productions at Sheffield’s Lyceum stage through the years, performing in their pantomimes until the age of 15, but also performing in Never Forget, Annie, and the Sound of Music, where she played Brigitta.
From an examination point of view, Charlotte has always performed highly, being nominated to dance in the IDTA’s Theatre Dance Awards 8 times in the disciplines of Tap, Theatre Craft and Modern Jazz. She has the title of being the our first ever Theatre Dance Awards Winner, taking home the trophy for Tap Grades in 2014, an exciting day none of us will ever forget.
Her Tap skills have not gone unnoticed, and in recent years she has been part of Tap Attack, an elite Tap academy.
From the point of view of her contribution to the life of the school, Charlotte is known as Miss Charlotte in many circles (aging from 3-12), as she has given up her Saturday morning lie-ins to assist classes. She has taken teaching qualifications in Theatre Craft and is known as a cheerful and smiley presence to our younger pupils.
The cherry on the top of Charlotte’s many achievements came this year. She has qualified for the IDTA’s Miss Dance of Great Britain twice in a row (2016, 2017) with her colourful Tap routine. This year however, we were absolutely delighted to see Charlotte to join the ranks of semi-finalist on Blackpool’s enormous Winter Gardens stage. This positions her among the top 12 young dancers in the UK.
Charlotte is currently studying A Levels at Notre Dame and is hoping to pursue a career in dance where her ambition would be to perform in the West End.
Just keep on what you’re doing Miss Stones, we can’t wait to see what the future holds.
Many happy returns to our lovely Alexandra O’Brien who turns 18 today.
Following in her mum Keeley’s footsteps, Alex joined the school at the age of 3 in Baby Class being well-looked after by Miss Lisa. She began her dance festival career in a category that would always serve her well throughout, Tap. By the time she was 6 she was in the Open categories for Tap, Ballet & Modern at dancing competitions and at the end of her festival career, she can look to several Bursary awards.
From the age of 7, Alex was a regular on Sheffield’s Lyceum stage, appearing as part of the juvenile chorus in Never Forget and every Christmas in the pantomime until she grew too tall – something she has always resented! Mum Keeley promised her she wouldn’t hate her height when she was older and she was right – Alex’s leg lines are often envied at class.
Alex has been nominated several times for the IDTA’s Theatre Dance Awards, an annual event to celebrate the very best examination syllabus performances. She has competed there on behalf of the school for the last three years.
To speak of this year’s seniors without mentioning Miss Dance of Great Britain would be remiss. This competition is an annual national competition bringing together Britain’s 55 top dancers. A place in this competition is hotly contested and we couldn’t be more proud that Alex qualified for this in both 2016 & 2017.
Towards the end of her time with us, Alex has attended summer schools at professional dance colleges in London, including Performers College & Urdang. This has only confirmed her dreams of pursuing a career in the performing arts, either on the West End or with the opportunities to travel.
Her mum assures us that she has enjoyed every minute of her training and is very much looking forward to the future, which seems particularly bright.
Alexandra will take up her place at Laine Theatre Arts, a prestigious performing arts college in Surrey this coming September. We wish her all the luck in the world and can’t wait to see what she does next.
Congrats, congrats and more congrats to our lovely Charlotte Stones who last week qualified for Miss Dance of Great Britain 2017, the International Dance Teachers’ Association‘s annual competition, bringing 55 of the best dancers in the country together in a celebration of all things glitz, glam and stretched feet!
Charlotte has again qualified with her Tap number, Little Lautette, a charming dance delivered in a sea of orange and pink sequins, making this her second time appearing on Blackpool’s Winter Gardens stage.
We can’t wait to cheer her on as she joins Rebecca, Alex, Bree & Jack (Dance Master) representing our Sheffield dance school in June. Well done Charlotte!
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.
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.
A very Happy Birthday to our lovely Bridie Thorpe who turns 18 today!
Bridie 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Some very happy faces here
Rosettes all round
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Well our Berry Babes never fail to impress us and make us silly with pride. Our Sheffield dance school had 10 pupils nominated to perform at the IDTA Theatre Dance Awards in Manchester last weekend for their storming performances in their grade exams.
To be invited to dance at this prestigious event is an achievement in itself, and we were thrilled to have the following pupils be nominated for these grades:
Advanced 2 Modern – Rebecca Hanneman, Alexandra O’Brien, Charlotte Stones, Bridie Thorpe
Advanced 1 Theatre Craft – Rebecca Hanneman, Alexandra O’Brien, Bree Quinton, Charlotte Stones, Bridie Thorpe
Advanced 1 Ballet – Bree Quinton
Intermediate Theatre Craft – Eve Wainwright
Grade 5 Modern Jazz – Ewan Revill, Liberty Shepherd, Jack Skelton, Eve Wainwright
Grade 5 Tap – Jack Skelton
Grade 4 Theatre Craft – Ewan Revill, Gabriel Sharrock, Jack Skelton
Our pupils worked very hard and danced their socks off, with Liberty and Eve making it to be Modern Jazz Grades finalists and Jack taking his place in the Theatre Craft Grades finals.
We were also delighted to see Rebecca and Bridie being recalled to dance in the Modern Jazz Performers finals, with Bridie earning a Special Commendation. Bree made it to the Theatre Craft Performers final and also earned a Special Commendation.
However, the icing on the cake for a fabulous weekend has got to be our very own Jack Skelton, who stormed to victory in the Tap Grades category! Jack is our third overall winner at the IDTA Theatre Awards, following Charlotte Stones in the Tap Grades of 2014 and Bree Quinton in the Modern Jazz Performers of 2016.
This is an absolutely huge achievement and very well deserved. Jack’s year can only get better as his performing and dance skills will take him on to Dance Master UK 2017, the lead part of Cosmo Brown in Singin’ in the Rain at the City Hall in May and the lead of Troy Bolton in Ecclesfield’s production of High School Musical.
We are immensely proud of all our pupils who represented the school and we congratulate them on a successful weekend.