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NEWS

June 2017 ~ Professional Training for Senior pupils
Congratulations to Martha Peters who has accepted a place at top vocational school London Studio Centre for their three year degree course in Theatre Dance. Daisy Gray has completed her Foundation Year at London Studio Centre and has also been offered a place on their three year course, as well a place at Bird College.

June 2017 ~ Pupils to dance with South West Theatre Ballet
We are proud to announce that 25 of our pupils auditioned for South West Theatre Ballet's production of Beauty and the Beast and that all 25 were successful. Pupils will be taught by teachers and dancers from The Royal Ballet and Birmingham Royal Ballet, as well as learning from choreographers who have danced for Matthew Bourne, taught the Billy Elliot boys and choreographed for several Hollywood films.

The production takes place in November 2018 in Taunton and we can't wait to see our pupils in action.

June 2017 ~ Martha goes to All England Semi-Finals
Congratulations to Martha Gilby who qualified twice for the All England Dance Semi-Finals and competed in the Baby Character and Baby Song and Dance sections. Martha was awarded Distinctions in both classes and received a Special Commendation for her Baby Character.

June 2017 ~ The Greatest Show on Earth
Our musical 'Barnum' hit the Strode Theatre stage over half term, with standing ovations and glowing reviews. 79 of our pupils wowed audiences over 5 performances and we couldn't be prouder of them all.

May 2017 ~ Speech and Drama Pupils Excel
17 pupils took Trinity Speech and Drama exams with 13 acheiving a Distinction. Well done to you all.

May 2017 ~ RAD Ballet Successes
We are thrilled to announce another fantastic set of exam results. 60 pupils took RAD ballet exams from Pre-Primary to Grade 7, with 22 Distinctions, 22 Merits, 1 Pass and 15 successful Class Awards. The examiner commented on how unusual it was to have such a high number of Grade 7 students taking their exam - 22 of them, with 10 getting a Distinction. Top marks overall went to Charlotte Tweedley 91% and Florence Milner 90% both for Grade 2.

March 2017 ~ Andrew Wright Becomes our Patron
We have very exciting news to announce - award winning Choreographer Andrew Wright is going to be Patron of the South West School of Dance. Andrew has been a friend of the School for many years, providing professional workshops and invaluable support and advice. We are delighted that he is now officially linked to our school.

March 2017 ~ Festival of Song at The Octagon
Our Barnum cast were invited to perform at the Festival of Song in Yeovil and represented the School brilliantly. Well done to you all.

December 2016 ~ Pupils in Pantomime
Good luck to all our pupils who have succesfully auditioned for pantomimes in the region this Christmas. 44 pupils are appearing in GSMCS Snow White at Strode Theatre, whilst others will be taking to the stage at Wells Little Theatre and Meyer Theatre in Street.

December 2016 ~ Show Time!
What an exciting weekend we have in store, Our Biennial whole school dance show 'dance,sing, dream, repeat' comes to Strode Theatre. All five performances are sold out and we know it will be a wonderful celebration of our dance school.

September 2016 ~ An Evening with Andrew Wright
Award-winning West End choreographer Andrew Wright invited us to perform with him as part of his fundraising evening at Strode Theatre. Pupils worked with Andrew in the run up to the show and were thrilled to be able to perform alongside him.

July 2016 ~ Senior Pupils go on to Performing Arts Training
We are very proud of senior pupils Jessica Michelmore and Daisy Gray who will both be moving to London in September to further their performing arts training.  

Jess, who has trained with us since the age of 3, has had several offers from leading performing arts colleges and will be taking up a place at the renowned Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, one of only 35 places offered to the thousands of applicants each year.

Daisy has also had several offers and has accepted a place at the prestigious London Studio Centre, following in the footsteps of past pupils Lynsey Wright, Amy Higgins and Jemima Thomson.

Congratulations to Amy Higgins and Max Nicholson-Lailey who have both just completed 3 year degree courses, Amy at London Studio Centre and Max at Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance.

July 2016 ~ Barn Dance
Our fundraising barn dance at the Victoria Club in Street was a great success, with an impressive turnout of pupils and parents. Our caller Elspeth got everyone up on the dance floor, and it was a fun way to finish the term. Yee Haa!

June 2016 ~ Festival Medals
Our festival pupils have performed brilliantly at both the Kingswood Festival, Bristol, in February and at the Taunton Festival in June. We were proud of all pupils who took part and represented our school with confidence, high levels of technique and excellent performance skills. 8 medals were brought home from the Taunton Festival and 8 from Kingswood along with 3 trophies.

Taunton results

1st  Jessica Michelmore Song & Dance Solo aged 15-21
1st  Florence Milner Character solo 7-8
2nd Junior Elite Performance Group  Cabaret Group 12 & under
2nd Honey Hann Song & Dance Solo 9-10
3rd Alicia Jeanes Lyrical Solo 13-14
3rd Alicia Jeanes Song & Dance Solo 13-14
3rd Martha Peters Lyrical Solo 15-21
3rd Olivia Adey-Peters Character Solo 7-8

Kingswood results

Trophy for highest mark throughout the whole festival: Jessica Michelmore (90%)
Trophy for highest senior mark: Jessica Michelmore
Trophy for highest Song & Dance mark; Jessica Michelmore

1st Jessica Michelmore Song & Dance 15-21
2nd Olivia Kerton Contemporary Solo 15-21
2nd Olivia Kerton Lyrical Solo 15-21
2nd Maddie Allen Modern Solo 15-21
2nd Martha Gilby Character Solo 5-6
3rd Rahanna Griffin Contemporary Solo 15-21
3rd Honey Hann Song & Dance 9-10
3rd Junior Elite Performance Group Cabaret Group 12 & under

April 2016 ~ Exam success
Spring 2016 was a busy term, with three sets of exams in RAD Ballet, ISTD Tap & Modern and Trinity & Guildhall Speech & Drama. All 89 pupils who entered exams were successful, with many extremely high marks.

We are delighted with our first Speech & Drama exam results, with 14 Distinctions and 2 Merits, and top marks going to Mia Hann with 93%.

In Tap & Modern exams pupils were awarded 15 Distinctions, 30 Merits and 4 Passes with top marks going to Fenella Milner who achieved 89% for Primary Modern.

No less than 15 pupils took Vocational exams in our Spring RAD session and we were delighted that all received a Merit or Distinction - a noteworthy achievement for such a high level of exam.  In particular well done to Jessica Michelmore who received a Merit for her Advanced Foundation Ballet exam, a level of exam not usually taken until in full time dance training.  In our graded exams we were very proud of our pupils who achieved 6 Merits, 1 Pass and 1 Class Award.

March 2016 ~ 14 Nominations and 3 Awards for Cats
This month we will attended the Somerset Fellowship of Drama's annual David Beach Awards Ceremony having been nominated for no fewer than 14 awards for our production of Cats.  We were the most nominated group this year, and were in the running for:

Best Youth Production
Best Junior Chorus (i.e. Whole Company)
Best Direction (Sarah Neale)
Best Musical Direction (Sheila Ross)
Best Choreography (Sarah Neale, Harriet Durston, Sarah Jones)
Best Made Set (Mark Wall)
Best Female Aged 17-21 (Jessica Michelmore)
Best Female Aged 17-21 (Jemima Thomson)
Best Male Aged 17-21 (Jake Halsey-Jones)
Best Female In a Supporting Role (Maddie Allen)
Best Female Under 16 (Harriet Jensen)
Best Male Under 16 (Harvey Morland)
Showstopper (Mr Mistoffelees number)
Adjudicator's Award (Katie Peters)

We were delighted to be awarded trophies on the night for
Best Direction (Sarah Neale)
Best Male Aged 17-21 (Jake Halsey-Jones)
Best Youth Production
- Runner Up

March 2016 ~ Pupils to Dance with the English Youth Ballet
Congratulations to three of our pupils who have successfully auditioned to dance with the English Youth Ballet in a forthcoming production.  Bethan Kolind, Rebecca Pritchard and Rosie Pritchard will all perform in the Company's production of Coppelia at the Princess Theatre in Torquay from the 31st March to the 2nd April.

March 2016 ~ Senior Pupils Face the Future
Some of our Senior Pupils are currently auditioning for Performing Arts courses across the UK.

So far we have been delighted to hear that Jessica Michelmore has been offered a place for three years at Urdang Academy in London and  Daisy Gray has been offered one year courses at both London Studio Centre and Performers College in Essex.  Both still have other auditions in the pipeline and we wish them the best of luck.

Lauren Cooper has been accepted by Edge Hill University on their Musical Theatre Degree Course.

Jake Halsey-Jones who many of you will know from his role as Munkustrap in our production of Cats, has been offered a place at Guildford School of Acting.

February 2016 ~ 159 Exam Successes
We have had another extremely successful exam session with both RAD and ISTD exams held just before Christmas.

In RAD Ballet exams, pupils from Grade 1 to Grade 6 achieved 32 Distinctions, 50 Merits and 6 Passes with all 20 Pre-Primary pupils gaining their Class Award.  Top marks went to Florrie Milner and Lola Edwards who were both awarded 87% for their Grade 1 exam.

In ISTD Tap and Modern exams there were 17 Distinctions, 29 Merits and 5 Passes from Pre-Primary to Advanced 1.  Special mention to Jessica Michelmore who was awarded Distinction and 87% for Advanced 1 Tap, a level of exam not often taken by pupils until they are in full time dance training.  3 of our pupils received very high Distinctions of 90% or over: Rosie Boulton-Roberts 92% for Grade 4 Tap, Tia Black 91% for Grade 3 Tap and Fenella Milner 90% for Primary Tap.

Well done to all our exam pupils, we are are immensely proud of you all.

December 2015 ~ Pupils Performing Across the Region
This term, we have supported a fund raising show at Wells Little Theatre where our Advanced Contemporary and our two Elite Performance Groups performed.  Our Junior Elite Performance Group entered their first ever dance competition in Bristol over Half Term, and we were delighted that they came 2nd out of 17 dance groups.

Once again, many of our pupils have been successful in their auditions for local pantomimes.  34 pupils will take part in Peter Pan at Strode Theatre with the Glastonbury and Street Musical Comedy Society.  Principal parts have gone to Olivia Kerton as Wendy, Oliver Shakesby as Michael and Phoebe Coppell as Tiger Lily.  Other pupils will take to the stage as Principal Dancers, Lost Boys and Chorus and Company members.

In Wells, 13 pupils join the Chorus for George and the Dragon, with both Principal Girl and Principal Boy going to South West pupils Phoebe Lynch and Chloe Waters.

Pupils will also be appearing at the Meyer Theatre as part of Moorlight Theatre Productions’ pantomime Aladdin.

We look forward to seeing them in action over Christmas.

September 2015 ~ Boys Musical Theatre Class
There was great excitement last week when Miss Harriet launched her new Boys Musical Theatre class. In a high energy and fun session, the boys threw themselves into singing and dancing with gusto. We look forward to seeing them on stage in future performances!

September 2015 ~ Speech and Drama Lessons off to a Flying Start
We warmly welcome Mrs Nicky Hann to our teaching team. Nicky has a degree in Drama & Theatre Studies and worked in the television industry in London for five years. She has been teaching Speech and Drama at Wells Cathedral School for the past seven years and is running classes on a Saturday morning at our studio in Street.

September 2015 ~ Outstanding Exam Results Once Again
Term has got off to a great start with 2 sets of amazing exam results, way above national averages yet again. We have had our best ever set of ISTD tap and modern results with no less than 49 Distinctions of 80% and above as well as 12 Merits. All pupils received over 75%, with top marks going to Alicia Jeanes (Grade 4 Modern) and Molly Worth (Grade 3 Modern) who both achieved 95%.

We are also celebrating outstanding results in our RAD ballet exams, where pupils from Primary to Grade 7 were awarded 24 Distinctions and 26 Merits, with top marks going to Olivia Adey-Peters who was awarded 87% for Primary.

June 2015 ~ ISTD Modern Exam Results
In our April exam session, we were delighted that 50% of our pupils from Grade 3 to Intermediate gained a Distinction with 80% or higher, with top marks going to Senior pupil Jess Michelmore who was awarded 89% for Intermediate Modern, and Naomi Cooper who gained 89% for Grade 3.

May 2015 ~ Musical Theatre Exam Success
66 pupils took IDTA Musical Theatre exams in April and we are delighted that all pupils received 75% and above. 22 pupils were awarded Honours (85% and above), 22 received Highly Commended (80% and above) and 13 pupils achieved Commended (75% and above). In addition, all 9 of our youngest class aged 5 to 7 successfully gained their first Rosette Award. Top marks went to Olivia Kerton who was awarded 89% for her Gold Bar One exam.

March 2015 ~ West End Choreographer to run SWSOD Masterclasses
We are very excited to welcome Andrew Wright, West End Performer, Director and Choreographer, who has offered to come and coach our cast of Cats, having played the role of Macavity in the West End production for 3 years. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for our pupils to learn about performing in Cats from someone who has appeared in it professionally and Andrew will work with them in a 2 hour intensive masterclass focusing on performance and character skills. During the week Andrew will then run two further workshops for our senior Musical Theatre pupils. More information about Andrew and his work can be found on his website www.andrewrightchoreographer.com.

February 2015 ~ Senior Pupils Offered Places
Our senior pupils are in the middle of their auditions for some of the top vocational dance schools in the country and we are pleased to announce that Jemima Thomson, Lucy Hobman and Hayley Holman have already been offered places at Northern School of Contemporary Dance (Jemima), Bird College of Dance (Lucy) and the Royal Academy of Dance (Jemima and Hayley). We are so proud of all of our senior pupils and wish them luck for the rest of their auditions and recalls.

February 2015 ~ Exam Success
We are delighted to announce that Senior student Hayley Holman has passed her RAD Advanced Foundation Ballet exam with 72% and a very high Merit. We are so proud of Hayley as this is an incredibly difficult exam to pass.

Congratulations also to Rahanna Griffin, Meg Russon, Olivia Kerton and Beth Corfield who have all passed their ISTD Grade 5 Modern exam with Distinction. All four received extremely high marks between 95 and 91%.

Love to Dance ~ Photos and DVDs still available
To download order forms for DVDs of our show Love to Dance, click here. Photos of the show are available to view and order at www.photosof.me.uk/ltd

September 2014 ~ Pantomime Audition Success
We are delighted that more of our pupils than ever before successfully auditioned for local pantomimes - 43 of our pupils performed with three local theatre companies over Christmas 2014.

Glastonbury and Street Musical Comedy Society's production of Cinderella at Strode Theatre in Street featured senior pupil Lauren Cooper in the title role, along with Daisy Gray as a Dancer and 24 other South West School of Dance pupils in the Junior and Intermediate Choruses.

13 pupils successfully auditioned for Wells Little Theatre's production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, 4 pupils were in the chorus and 9 pupils had larger roles as Dwarves.

In addition, 4 pupils performed with Moorlight Theatre Productions in Sleeping Beauty at the Meyer Theatre.

September 2014 ~ Celebrating Excellent Exam Results
Congratulations to all our pupils who took exams at the end of the Summer term. We are delighted with another great set of results which once again surpass the national average; well done to everyone in achieving such good marks.

In RAD Ballet exams from Primary to Grade 8, pupils were awarded 23 Distinctions, 55 Merits and 5 Passes, with the highest mark overall going to Jemima Thomson who achieved 86% for Grade 8.

In ISTD Tap exams from Primary to Intermediate there were 21 Distinctions, 27 Merits and 4 Passes with top marks of 88% going to Scarlett Hodge (Grade 1) and Jessica Michelmore (Intermediate).

June 2014 ~ CATS IS COMING!
STOP PRESS! The long wait is over, and we can finally announce that our musical for Spring 2015 will be the musical CATS. Performances of the youth group edition of the hit musical will run from 27th to 30th May 2015 at Strode Theatre, Street, with Workshops and Auditions held on the 11th and 18th January 2015.

June 2014 ~ Mia Plays Cosette
We are looking forward to seeing Musical Theatre pupil Mia Hann perform the role of Little Cosette in Bridgwater College's production of Les Miserables from the 4th to the 6th of June. Mia auditioned against 60 other youngsters from across the South West to secure the part.

May 2014 ~ Charlotte Awarded Scholarship
Many congratulations to senior pupil Charlotte Wisniewski who has been offered a scholarship to the prestigious Hammond School of Dance for September.

May 2014 ~ 111 Exam Successes
This spring saw 111 pupils take exams in all our major disciplines; Ballet, Tap, Modern and Musical Theatre. At all levels, from Introductory to Gold Medal, our Musical Theatre pupils excelled, with almost 80% gaining the very top grade of Honours (85% and above) and all pupils achieving a mark over 80%. Tap, Modern and Ballet results were also cause to celebrate with a total of 11 Distinctions, 56 Merits and 2 Passes.

May 2014 ~ Welcome to Anna
We are delighted to welcome Miss Anna Gifford who will be taking over from Lisa as Head of Street Dance. Anna trained at the prestigious Laine Theatre Arts School before dancing professionally for 8 years. Anna's professional career began performing street dance in three of the UK's largest national hair shows, followed by the next several years dancing on cruise ships. Anna also had the opportunity to perform in Bollywood, India, dancing in films, music videos and India's version of Strictly Come Dancing. Anna has 14 years of teaching experience in many different genres of dance and is an energetic and patient teacher who is very excited to become a part of The South West School of Dance.

March 2014 ~ Congratulations to Georgia
We are delighted that Senior pupil Georgia Wall has been offered a place at East 15 Acting School, one of the country's leading acting colleges which boasts many current UK TV and Film actors amongst its alumni.

December 2013 ~ RAD Ballet Exam Results
We have had another highly successful exam session with 22 Distinctions and 32 Merits as well as all 17 Pre-Primary pupils gaining their class award. Congratulations to all our pupils who worked hard for these results. It is partiulcarly pleasing that so many of our higher grade pupils are achieving such high marks with 70% of our Grade 7s receiving a Distinction. The top mark overall was Jessica Michelmore with 86% for her Grade 7.

Christmas 2013 ~ Puss in Boots
Congratulations to the 36 pupils who successfully auditioned for this year's pantomime at Strode Theatre. Of the 28 children needed for the Junior Chorus, 23 were South West School of Dance pupils. We also had 8 pupils in the Intermediate Chorus, 4 out of 5 of the Dancers and Grade 7 pupil Georgia Wall was Principal Boy. This is an outstanding result and our pupils were a credit to the school. We enjoyed seeing them perform over Christmas.

November 2013 ~ ISTD Tap and Modern Exam Results
Once again pupils are celebrating an excellent set of exam results for the recent tap and modern exams. 52 pupils took exams, with an incredible 31 gaining a Distinction of 80% or higher. 19 pupils achieved a merit and 2 a pass.

October 2013 ~ Dance Festival Results
We are delighted that pupils Poppy Falzon, Olivia Kerton and Isabel Shellard brought home the trophy for highest mark in a Senior Cabaret Trio at the recent Longwell Green Dance Festival in Bristol. Even though they were the youngest competitors in the 13-21yrs age group they were awarded first place with 88 marks for their Song and Dance number.
Other successes were:
Olivia Kerton and Isabel Shellard 2nd Song and Dance duet
Hetta Falzon and Natasha Hodge 2nd Song and Dance duet
Jemima Thomson 3rd in both Contemporary and Character solos
Olivia Kerton 3rd in Song and Dance solo
Isabel Shellard 3rd in both Song and Dance and Character solos
Congratulations to all pupils who took part and represented The South West School of Dance so well.

Friday 18th and Saturday 19th October 2013 ~ Golden Gala
The South West School of Dance was invited to take part in a fundraising gala for Strode Theatre to mark the theatre's 50th anniversary. With three sell-out performances, 97 pupils from the school dazzled audiences with 5 very different numbers showcasing our tap, ballet, modern, contemporary, street dance and musical theatre. We were delighted to be able to support our wonderful local theatre and to donate all our share of the proceeds from this event to their worthy cause.

July 2013 ~ Senior Pupil Successes
Congratulations and farewell to three of our senior students who are moving to London in September 2013 to further their dance careers at some of the top vocational schools in the country. Max Nicholson-Lailey, who has been dancing with us for 16 years, has been awarded one of only 30 places on the degree course at the world famous Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance. Amy Higgins will be returning to the prestigious London Studio Centre, having been offered a place on the highly sought after three year course and Jenny Paull will be studying a dance degree at Roehampton University which boasts one of the best dance departments in the country.

Congratulations also to former pupil Bethan Forsey who has been offered the post of Principal Singer on the Queen Elizabeth cruise ship, and to Emma Green who will be starting her fourth cruise as a dancer with Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

June 2013 ~ RAD Ballet Exams
67 pupils took examinations in this session with every pupil gaining either Merit or Distinction (16 Distinctions, 51 Merits). 23 Pre-Primary pupils successfully completed the Class Award. Congratulations to all our pupils on yet another excellent set of exam results, well above the national average.

Wednesday 29th May to Saturday 1st June 2013 ~ Beauty and the Beast
31 pupils from the South West School of Dance performed in Wells Youth Theatre Company's production of Beauty and the Beast at the Little Theatre in Wells. The show received first class reviews and a standing ovation from the audience every night.

Saturday 18th May 2013 ~ Musicals of the Night
25 pupils from the School's Musical Theatre and Contemporary classes were invited to perform in a stunning evening of dance and music at Strode Theatre alongside professionals from the South West. The show was a huge success and all profits went to support the theatre.

April 2013 ~ ISTD Tap and Modern Examinations
92 pupils took examinations in Tap and Modern this Spring. Results were typically excellent, with a total of 35 distinctions, 56 merits and 1 pass.

February 2013 ~ Professional Contemporary Workshop
Contemporary pupils were lucky to spend the morning with professional dancer and choreographer Dr Karla Shacklock. Karla gave an energetic and inspiring workshop and pupils learnt repertoire from her latest work. Find out more about Karla's company at www.karlashacklock.com