Achievements - Graham School of Dance
Graham School of Dance has an outstanding reputation for the success achieved by our pupils, and we are proud to applaud their hard work and talent, which is so carefully nurtured in their training by our teachers, making our dance school one of the top schools of Dance and Theatre Arts not just in Hertfordshire and Essex, but nationally too!
Each year pupils audition and attain places in national youth dance companies, on prestigious Associate programmes, in national finals of top competitions (and winning too!), and regularly attain places at full time vocational dance schools and colleges each year - we are so proud of them all!
Prix de Lausanne - and Graham School of Dance!
A major success was for our Alexandra Oliff to be the ONLY female competitor from the UK, and the first non-vocational pupil for 25 years, to be invited to compete at the world renowned international Prix de Lausanne Ballet competition in 2016 - an amazing achievement!
We are thrilled to announce that following her selection and participation at the 2016 Prix de Lausanne, Alexandra was selected for an interview with Director of The Royal Ballet Upper School, Christopher Powney.
Following this, Alexandra successfully passed through the final audition for the presitigous Royal Ballet Upper School in London, and commenced her training there in September 2016!
What an exciting new journey - we are absolutely delighted for her and thrilled at this achievement from a British non-vocational/associate ballet student.
Alex also gained scholarship funded offers at the Prix de Lausanne for English National Ballet School in London, Balletschule Theater Basel in Switzerland and Theatre Akademie Mannheim in Germany - we are so proud of you - your hard work and talent have shown that dreams really do come true...
We are so proud of our Graham School of Dance graduates, who are working in the Performing Arts industry around the globe, having secured professional dance contracts
- with classical ballet companies
- on world and Mediterranean cruises
- in worldwide touring cabaret shows,
- in professional pantomime, with contracts being won regularly each year in the UK and Europe.
Full-time Vocational Training
Graham School of Dance pupils regularly win full-time places to train at top UK dance schools and colleges, such as:
- The Royal Ballet School
Rambert School of Ballet & Contemporary Dance
English National Ballet School
Elmhurst School for Dance
Tring Park School of Performing Arts
Laine Theatre Arts College
Bird College of Dance
London Studio Centre
Stella Mann College
Italia Conti Theatre School
Guildford School of Acting
The London Acadamy for Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA)
By invitation, pupils are also prepared and successfully enter for dance based competitions and opportunities:
2 pupils representing Team England for the 2016 World Dance Cup
Finalist in 2016 UK 'Miss Dance' Finals
R.A.D. Genée Dance Challenge 2015 - European winner of Level 1
R.A.D. Genée Dance Challenge 2014 - European winner of Level 2
R.A.D. Genée Dance Challenge 2014 - UK winners of Level 1 and Level 2
- Royal Academy of Dance Genée Dance Challenge 2011 - joint winner of Junior section
- Royal Academy of Dance London & Midlands region Annual Competition - winners & runners up, and awards for Musicality
Royal Academy of Dance Midland & East of England region, Catherine Blellock and East of England competition: annual success with winners, runners up, and awards for Musicality, Ports de Bras and Allegro
- Pupils from Graham School of Dance have represented the School as Finalists at the ISTD Janet Cram national UK Modern Dance competition annually since 2007, with the winner of the Junior section in 2011; Graham School of Dance pupils has 5 Finalist in 2015 and no less than SIX for 2016!
Associates and Youth Companies
Graham School of Dance pupils have successfully auditioned and attended The Royal Ballet School Junior and Mid Associates courses and Seniors have also won places to attend the Central School of Ballet, London's Pre-Senior courses. Several pupils have been successful in attaining places with London Junior Ballet and London Senior Ballet.
- Pupils from Graham School of Dance have won places with The National Youth Ballet of Great Britain - as Junior Associates and in the Main cast - annually for the last 12 years;
- Pupils have successfully auditioned for the London Children’s Ballet and Chelmsford Youth Ballet companies
- Several pupils have belonged to the LaineTheatre Arts School Junior Squad
Graham School of Dance pupils have enjoyed taking part in many English Youth Ballet productions, including in Stevenage, Norwich, Southend, Leamington Spa, Sevenoaks, Southsea and Milton Keyne.s
- Pupils have had opportunities to appear in a training video for the Royal Academy of Dance and also model for dancewear catalogues.
Graham School of Dance once more congratulated their graduating dance students at the July Awards Presentation –they been ‘aiming high’, auditioning for top full-time vocational colleges, and ALL gained places at one of their choices – and many had several to choose from! Principal Miss Aileen Graham presented Cups and Leavers' Awards, saying “well done to all of you for winning these coveted places- we will miss you- you have worked so hard and it’s lovely to see your talent rewarded! Many of you also attained the highest levels in your Vocational grades of RAD Ballet and ISTD Tap and Modern Dance too which is no easy feat when not at a vocational dance school and whilst studying for A levels as well”.
- Alexandra Oliff joins The Royal Ballet Upper School in 2016, having competed at the Prix de Lausanne earlier in 2016 (see above) and winning scholarship places at 4 European dance schools! She has trained at Graham School of Dance since 2010, and has had an amazing number of achievements whilst with us, including winning the European Royal Academy of Dance Genée Dance Challenge Level 2, the UK Junior Dance Challenge a few years before and received several RAD Regional awards, including 1st Prize. She has won Gold medals at the All England Dance Finals 2015, been a Finalist at the Janet Crams for 5 years running, including winning in 2012, and has attained 100% for her latest Vocational Modern examination and also her Grade 7 RAD Ballet examination!
- Annabelle Rose has won a DaDa to further her training at Performers College, and will commence their course in September 2016. She joined Graham School of Dance in 2010, and has won Fnals places at All England Dance 2015 as well as many cups and medals. Annabelle has performed in professional pantomime and at the Jack Petchey Awards.
- Daisy Quainton joined Laine Theatre Arts in 2015, having been awarded a DaDa after attending only the first audition for the College - very well done indeed! In her time with GSD Daisy gained her Advanced 2 RAD Ballet with Distinction thus enabling her to enter the prestigious Royal Academy of Dance Genée Competition… in fact Daisy gained Distinction in all her Grades and Vocational examinations, including a fantastic 92% Distinction for both her Advanced 2 Modern AND her Advanced 2 Tap, and Distinction for her LAMDA Grade 7 Acting. Daisy has represented the school at many events and competitions, having been a Janet Cram finalist twice, danced at Marjorie Davies Tap Awards and at the RAD Phyllis Bedells competition. Daisy finished her time with GSD being asked at the All England Dance Competition Finals to Dance at the Gala as part of the Young British Ballet Dancer competition - a massive achievement.
- Rachel Lewis has joined Bird College of Dance – and she also won places at Performers, Millennium and London Studio Centre. Rachel had many successes whilst at GSD, including as a medallist at the All England Dance Finals, and winning the prestigious Gold Star award at Royston Festival; she danced for several years with The National Youth Ballet of Great Britain, as well as with London Children’s Ballet and EYB, and also was a finalist twice in the national ISTD Janet Cram Modern Dance competition. She also gained her RAD Advanced 2 Ballet, as well as her ISTD Advanced 2 Tap and Advanced 2 Modern whilst at Graham School of Dance. She will join ex-Graham School of Dance pupils Elizabeth Pitt and Sophie Ingles, who are currently studying at Bird's, and Hollie who also joined this year (see below).
- Eleanor Stephenson won a place for September 2014 at the prestigious Rambert School of Ballet & Contemporary Dance – an outstanding achievement! She lives in Bishop’s Stortford, and also won places at Central School of Ballet & Laine Theatre Arts this year; she has had an amazing 18 months - she won medals at the All England Dance Finals in Ballet and Modern Dance, won the Ballethoo trophy at Ruislip festival (as well as many other awards), was a Janet Cram finalist as well as gaining a highly competitive place at the prestigious Royal Ballet School International Summer School (she pictured below with Darcey Bussell who taught on the course). As well as gaining her Advanced 2 ISTD Modern & Tap whilst at GSD, she ALSO attained Distinction for her Advanced 2 RAD Ballet - thus enabling her to enter the highly prestigious RAD Genée international Ballet competition!
- Hollie Courtenay is from Church Langley, and trained at Graham School of Dance for over 11 years. She joins at Bird College of Dance with Rachel, on their BA (Hons) degree course, having also won places at Urdang, Millennium and Performers. She has also danced at the All England Dance Finals and with The National Youth Ballet of Great Britain, and to Advanced 1 level for Ballet, as well as attaining her ISTD Advanced 2 level for both Tap and Modern Dance .
Daniela Braico, 17, has joined Laine Theatre Arts, having won her place with a DaDa award. She also won funded places Urdang Academy, Performers College Birds College, a great achievement. Daniela also did extremely well with her festival work, getting many pieces through to All England Finals; she attained her Advanced 1 RAD Ballet, as well as Distinction in her Advanced 1 Tap and Modern grades.
Matthew Burns (below) trained with GSD in Drama, Musical Theatre and Dance for many years, and is starting at Anglia Ruskin University to study for a BA degree in Performing Arts
Billy Elliot success for Ella....and now Elle!
Ella, who trained at Graham School of Dance for nine years, not only had the excitement of winning the role of Ballet Girl: Sharon Percy ’in the smash hit musical and appearing in the live show 2013-2014, including several renewals of her initial contract, but she was chosen to be in the live screening in September 2014 of the West End show Billy Elliot The Musical, which for the first time was being recorded and broadcast live at cinemas worldwide from Scotland to Australia! It showed live at the Harlow and Bishop's Stortford Empire Cinemas, and a DVD was also made – a fabulous reminder for Ella in years to come !
Elle, a second pupil who trained at Graham School of Dance for nine years, has ALSO won a place in Billy Elliot, to perform from March 2015.
Based on the Academy Award® nominated film, Billy Elliot the Musical has been dazzling London’s theatregoers at the Victoria Palace Theatre since 2005, and has gone on to captivate audiences around the world, having been seen by over 9.5 million people worldwide, and won over 80 theatre awards globally. Billy Elliot is the inspirational story of a young boy’s struggle against the odds to make his dream come true. Billy’s journey takes him out of the boxing ring and into a ballet class where he discovers a passion for dance that inspires his family and whole community and changes his life forever, with him winning a place at the renowned Royal Ballet School against the odds.
Professional Pantomime success
… at Hertford Theatre
Talented Graham School of Dance pupils successfully auditioned to take part in Hertford Theatre’s professional pantomimes Hansel & Gretel and Cinderella and the Glass Slipper over the Christmas periods 2015 and 2014. Congratulations to Amelie, Isabel, Nicole, Florrie, Laura C, Olivia, Madison, Phoebe, Erin K, Natalia, Laura L, Grace, Emily P, Erin S, Kiera, Ellie T, Lottie, Sacha, Holly, Kiera and Rachael W who made up the Junior Chorus, thus dancing, singing and acting throughout great pantomimes, with fantastic reviews!
….. at Rhodes Theatre
Several pupils also successfully auditioned for the Rhodes pantomimes Jack and the Beanstalk and Dick Whittington & His Magical Cat for 2015 and 2014 - many congratulations Olivia SJ, Bronwyn, Elena C, Ella F, Jessica F and Elliot.
Rhodes Talent Search
Many fabulous evenings have been had at the Bishop's Stortford Talent Search and congratulations to ALL the acts from Graham School of Dance who consistently perform so well in the Grand Finals - and have done so each year since its inception in 2012! Special congratulations to Georgina who won the competition, to Lyrical Modern group (Senses) and Modern Ballet group (L'Automne) who were Runners up 2 years running!
- Louise Norman, who graduated from Urdang Academy in July 2014, is touring the World with Jean Ann Ryan Productions, as a Dancer/Singer/Aerialist on board the Seven Seas Mariner cruise liner. She has visited as far afield as New Zaeland, Australia, French Polynesia, Zanzibar, around the Mediterranean, down to South America and gone through the Panama canal!
- Jessica Oakman, Daniela Braico and Daisy Quainton are in their Final, second and first years respectively at Laine Theatre Arts, and ALL have won contracts to perform in pantomime this Christmas
- Alexander Bennett is in his fourth year of his Classical Ballet contract with Bayerishes Staatsballett (Munich Ballet Company), having graduated from The Royal Ballet School in London.
- Charlotte Perry has won the part of The White Cat for Royal Caribbean Cruises latest roduction of Cats. She is not cruising the Caribbean! graduated from Laine Theatre Arts in 2013 having performed in pantomime in Richmond upon Thames and at the New Wimbledon Theatre whilst at College, followed by a contract with Olsen Cruise Liners, travelling to places such as the Canary Islands, Russia, Iceland, Morocco and Turkey amongst others.
- Jessica Bennett also graduated from Laine Theatre Arts, and has just finsihed a second contract dancing in St Barts in the Caribbean, before returning 'home' to Europe to continue with her Paris dance contract, interspersed with contracts to dance in Seoul (2015) and Taiwan (2016). She has been involved with modelling and fim work. In the last 4 years she has has also had contracts to tour to Canada, Tahiti, Cannes, Italy Poland, Belarus and twice to Russia, as well as in Paris itself.
- Corinne Cox has graduated from her final year at Elmhurst School for Dance, and has won a Classical Ballet contract in Italy.
- George Greatbatch has just completed his second cruise cntract, having already toured around the Mediterranean. He graduated from Performers College, and in August 2016 starts his next contract, starting form Dubai, and then year later finishing on the Norwegian fjords! He also had the chance to dance in professional pantomime for two years whilst at Performers as well.
- Charles Scott-Miller has had many dance contracts since graduating; recently he has been performing in Mamma Mia aboard the liner Quantum of the Seas, and is currently in the Bahamas performing Sonic Odyssey as an Aerialist/Dancer.
- Daisy Mellor trained at Graham School of Dance then won a place in Year 7 at The Royal Ballet School—she is now graduating from Year 11.
- Emilie Lewis and Nicola Arnold have graduated from their final year at Performers College, on the Dance course and Musical Theatre course respectively; Emilie performed at Move It and at the FA Cup Final in 2014, and both are auditioning.
- Elizabeth Pitt and Sophie Ingles are loving their training at Bird College, which they joined on graduating from Graham School of Dance in 2013.
- Emilie Chard is loving her first year at Performers College, having been at Tring Park School for the Performing Arts.