Talented Collyer’s A-level dance students have the chance to continue their training by being offered places at some of the country’s leading dance institutions.
Katherine Voget has the chance to study a BA (Honours) in Contemporary Dance at Trinity Laban, Dominique Burton is set to study a BA Honours in Musical Theatre at the London Studio Centre, and Sophie Rance is choosing between the London Studio Centre, Bird College and The Centre. In addition to this, Megan Bew and Anya Saternus will undertake Foundation training in Musical Theatre at Bird College, hopefully leading onto the degree course the following year.
Katherine Voget was thrilled: “My teachers, Andrea and Melissa, helped guide us through the applications and in addition to my studies the college also offered extra sessions, which were really useful. ‘Dance Extra’ classes in ballet and contemporary really helped develop my technique.”
Anya Saternus also benefited from extra curricular classes run at Collyer’s. She said: “Being in ‘New Ground’ the college dance company gave us an opportunity to perform in a greater variety of repertoire, which is really valuable experience. It was great to work as part of a company”.
The students, who are coming to the end of their A-level dance studies at Collyer’s, went through a rigorous selection process to gain their places. Auditions took place throughout the year, as they pitted themselves against thousands of the country’s best young dancers for these highly sought after places.
Sophie Rance said: “I found that the college dance company and choreography workshops really enabled me to develop my skills. I was also able to choreograph my own dances, which was great experience.”
Alongside the rounds of auditions, the students also underwent physiotherapy examinations, interviews, singing and acting auditions until finally being selected for the relatively few places available.
Andrea Martin, Subject Leader for Dance at Collyer’s, was delighted for her students: “Collyer’s has been preparing students for professional dance training for the past 15 years and this talented cohort will hopefully join the tradition of success established by former students who are now working in the profession as choreographers, dancers, teachers and managers.”
Former student success stories include Christopher Black, who gained a BA (Hons) Degree in Musical Theatre at Bird College and is currently playing Brad in Hairspray on a Royal Caribbean Cruise Liner and Nixx Strapp-Freeman, who after graduating with a first class honours degree from Chichester University, founded the Box Tracy Theatre Dance Company in 2011.
Her most recent work, ‘Tales of the Tombola’ will tour to San Francisco at the end of June, following a successful run at the Brighton Fringe Festival.
Christopher Black said: “Studying under Andrea Martin at Collyer’s helped me to progress vastly as a performer, enabling me to explore many avenues of dance and theatre that had not been accessible to me before.”
Nixx Strapp-Freeman added: “Studying Dance at Collyer’s helped develop my understanding of choreography which led to my success at university and has ultimately resulted in me having the confidence to create and perform my own work as an artist.”
After completing A-level Dance at Collyer’s, Sophie McEwan trained professionally at London Studio Centre after and went on to become a musical theatre star, showgirl, singer and acclaimed actress.
She has since left the limelight and opened her own dance school in Horsham - Sophie’s Studio. Natalie Todman has just completed her PGCE in Dance Education at the University of Brighton with her first teaching post lined up for September.
Robyn Manning graduated from Trinity Laban in 2010 and was signed by a musical theatre agent. She toured the UK in Bill Kenwright’s most recent musical, ‘Save the Last Dance for Me’ and is now living and auditioning in New York.
Robyn said: “‘Collyer’s gave a brilliant, supportive preparation for the career ahead of me.’
Collyer’s Principal, Dr Jackie Johnston, said: “We have an incredibly strong dance department and I’m extremely proud that these gifted students can follow in the footsteps of some fantastic dancers. I’m positive that they can continue to meet their potential at these illustrious institutions.”
Dominique Burton advised studying dance at the college: “If you want to succeed at dance, you should come to Collyer’s!”
Picture DSCN5166 shows Anya Saternus, Dominique Burton, Katherine Voget, Sophie Rance, Anya Saternus, Megan Bew.
Picture DSCN5189 shows Megan Bew, Anya Saternus, Sophie Rance. (sitting, left to right): Katherine Voget, Dominique Burton.
Pictured here is ex-student Christopher Black.