Miss Dance & Dance Master 2017 – Here We Come!

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A huge congratulations are in order for our extremely talented and hardworking Bree Quinton and Jack Skelton who yesterday secured their places in the IDTA’s prestigious national competition, Miss Dance and Dance Master!

At their Orpington heat, Bree & Jack impressed the adjudicator enough that it was a clean Berry Academy of Dance sweep for both Miss Dance and Dance Master. This will be Bree’s third time competing in Miss Dance, where this year she made it to the semi-finals with I Dreamed A Dream. Bree is currently the IDTA’s Modern Jazz Performer of 2016.

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15 year old Jack will be making his first appearance at Dance Master next year with his fantastic tap routine as a cheeky porter. Jack recently took the lead part in Ecclesfield School’s production of High School Musical as Troy Bolton, and he also made it to the East Coast Tap Championships semi-finals earlier this year.

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We must also congratulate our Rebecca Hanneman for taking runner-up in her heat this weekend, and wish all the best to Becky, Bridie, Alexandra, Charlotte & Eve as we’re sure it’s only a matter of time before they make it through to Miss Dance of Great Britain 2017.

Congratulations Jack & Bree, we can’t wait to cheer you on!

Sun and Summer School

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Over the course of these summer holidays, 12 of our pupils were lucky enough to attend the summer schools of professional dance colleges, Urdang Academy in London and Phil Winston’s Theatreworks in Blackpool.

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Alexandra O’Brien, Jack Skelton & Bridie Thorpe spent the week at Urdang. Every morning there was Ballet & Jazz on the menu and in the afternoons the students had a choice of workshop. As the girls will tell you themselves:

We had a warm up every morning, which killed me! Then every day, everyone in the class one by one had to do a triple pirouette on each leg… by the end of the week we mastered it! We did corner work and freestyle/improv every lesson. I loved it. My teacher, Regan Shepherd was amazing.
My favourite part was the whole aura of London life, when we weren’t dancing in class, we were in the studios just dancing around – it was so easy to just be yourself and everyone was so friendly.
Bridie

This week was so good, I enjoyed every minute of it and it gave me a chance to see what it was like before I audition next year, and now I can see myself training there. I loved it, I made so many new friends and it made me very excited for the future.
Alex

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Maddie Dunn, Maisie Ganley, Lucy Holcroft, Eleanor Jackson, Megan Moore, Gabriel Sharrock, Charlotte Stones, Megan Thorpe & Aliyah Xaba attended Phil Winston’s Theatreworks.

I had a great time in Blackpool sharing a hotel with around 80 kids from all over, including Greece. I loved commercial and contemporary as I had never tried these before. We travelled to the class on a private double decker bus and we had so much fun together. My body ached like never before and I felt exhausted but I can’t wait for next year!
Aliyah

It was a very busy week!! We went from 9 in the morning until 4 at night, starting with warm up, corner work, stretching and then a routine in these workshops. We’d then start rehearsing for our show dances which were featured in our end of week production of ‘The Works – Summer School’! My favourite dance would have to be the ballet – I got specially chosen by the Ballet teacher (as well as Gabriel!) and we danced to a slow violin version of Robert Miles! I also really enjoyed the commercial dance because it’s not something we do often – a nice challenge.
All the summer school went to the south pier on Thursday night and went on the rides! It was the best week ever, we all learned so much and it was very inspiring.
Charlotte

We stayed in a hotel in Blackpool and the owners put on a disco two of the nights we were there. They even took us to the circus and south pier, it was really nice!
Maddie

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We’re very glad all our pupils enjoyed their times at summer school so much. We were particularly delighted that Gabriel Sharrock and Aliyah Xaba were awarded scholarships for the holiday school at Phil Winston’s next year! We’re looking forward to seeing what you’ve all learned.

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Aliyah collecting her scholarship from Phil
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Fantastic Four at Miss Dance 2016

Well, not one to be outdone, our very own Miss Alexandra O’Brien took today’s Miss Dance heat by storm! A huge congratulations to Alex on securing her place in Miss Dance of Great Britain 2016.

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Alex is through to Miss Dance 2016!

So, let’s count it up: Rebecca Hanneman, Bree Quinton, Bridie Thorpe & now Alex! We didn’t think it possible to top our excitement from last year when we had 3 of our pupils in this prestigious competition, but here we are: the Fantastic Four.

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Rebecca, Bridie & Bree will be joining Alex in Blackpool

Miss Dance takes place in June at the Winter Gardens Theatre in Blackpool, and is a national competition hosted by the International Dance Teachers’ Association, whose syllabus we follow. After competing in heats across the country, 50 young dancers are brought together on this immense stage to perform in front of a whopping 3,500 people.

Get your sandwiches packed and your best cheering voices warmed up because this year’s Miss Dance is going to be pretty special! 4 down, 1 to go, can we make it the Famous Five? No pressure Charlotte!

Kimberley Adshead

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I went to Mrs Berry’s for 13 years and my favourite classes were Gymnastics and Modern Jazz. Before I left I reached the final of the very prestigious Miss Dance competition. It was a brilliant experience in which I performed my favourite dance of all time. I did all the competitions!

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I left Mrs Berry’s age 18 to go to Phil Winston’s Dance College in Blackpool where I completed a three-year course. After leaving there I came to Tenerife to dance in various shows touring hotels. I’m still here 10 years later! I’m now performing in a show called The Sound of Musicals. My own daughter Kaci has started dancing.

I had the best years at this dancing school and without Mrs Berry I would not be where I am today.

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Devon McKenzie-Smith

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Devon started at Mrs Berry’s when he was 12 when he and Matt came from the Maureen Law School of Dance. During his time with us he was nominated for the IDTA Scholarships many times and won special commendations in 2003/4 for Grade 5 Tap and Theatre Craft. He was also the winner of the Ken Dodd Tap Award.

In 2006, at the age of 16, he came third in Dance Master UK, performing at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool. Later that year he went on to study for his National Diploma in Musical Theatre at Laine Theatre Arts College. While there both he and Matt competed in a tap competition held at the college, and Matt, feeling generous, used one of his old routines and choreographed a new one for Devon… he regretted it in the end because Devon ended up beating him with it!

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After graduating in 2009 he went on tour to Germany with the musical Hairspray for two years, managing to resist the urge to learn any German while he was there. He performed in Aladdin at the Royal & Derngate in Northampton in 2011.

In 2012 Devon taught classes and workshops in London and performed in the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Olympic Games.

Since then he has played a Shark on the national UK tour of West Side Story which began in Liverpool in 2013 and ended in summer 2014. In his spare time he has come back to Sheffield to teach our pupils exciting new routines and give them insight into the life of a professional dancer.

Devon was very excited to be joining the cast of Memphis, a new musical which arrived in London’s West End in October 2014. The starring role is taken by Beverley Knight, and the production won Best New Musical at the What’s On Stage Awards.

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.

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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.

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