Roshe School Celebrating 60 years
A few words from Rosemary Woodd, Principal of Roshe School
Its very hard to put into words the way Im feeling and how my life has developed over the years. I chose a profession that not only gives enjoyment to all types of children, but most of all has given enjoyment to me and great satisfaction.
The reason the majority of children go dancing is for enjoyment and only a handful go into the profession.
Without knowing it, all pupils learn more than dance. They learn discipline, gain confidence and how to appreciate good music. They also make new friends other than their school friends. If however they discover the love of dance and venture into this different sort of world/life, they will never regret what they have chosen.
I thank all those that have encouraged me to teach as I couldnt have wished for a better life. As I have said many times before, its my pupils that have kept me going through good times and bad.
So Id like to pay tribute to my present and past pupils wherever you may be and say a big Thank You for bringing me such happiness and keeping me going for 60 great years.
Some words from the Roshe School Patrons
Former Royal Ballet Artistic Director, Wells Ballet Courses, Patron since 2011
It is a great honour to be Patron of Roshe Performing Arts. I have watched the students evolve over the years with great interest and am always moved by the wonderful family ethos that seems to be fostered throughout the school. The beating heart of this, of course, is the schools founder and principal, Rosemary Woodd, and it is a privilege to have witnessed, first-hand, the passion she has for her art, but perhaps even more importantly, the love she has for her pupils.
It would be hard to find a teacher more devoted, enthusiastic and encouraging and it is this joy of dance that shines through in all the Roshe pupils. So on behalf of the dance word, thank you Rosemary, for nurturing and guiding all these young dancers towards their dreams.
Whatever the future holds for them and whether or not they become professional dancers they will all have wonderful memories of being taught by a very special lady, who ignited their love for this wonderful art. Heres to Rosemary, heres to Roshe, and heres to another happy and successful 60 years!
Dame Beryl Grey
Vice President of the RAD [Royal Academy of Dancing], President of the ISTD [Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing], a Director of the Birmingham Royal Ballet and former Prima Ballerina with Sadlers Wells Ballet, requested to become a Patron of Roshe in 2014 after watching the 60th anniversary show Thats Entertainment
The Roshe School has enriched the Sussex dance world for 60 years and my congratulations go wholeheartedly to Rosemary Woodd. As a champion of dance she has dedicated her life to building a school of high standards introducing young people to the joy of movement. She continues to be a great inspiration and example and I send her and the Roshe School my love and best wishes for the future.
Brief History of Roshe 1954 2014
This is only a brief history of the Roshe Performing Arts School as there is far too much information to include in such a document, but it is hoped that this gives a good overview of the development and achievements of the school over the past sixty years.
Roshe Performing Arts School, or just Roshe for short, has evolved from the Roshe School of Dancing that was founded on 7th March 1954 in Claygate, Surrey, the name derived from the Christian names of the two founding Principals, ROSemary Woodd and SHElagh London.
Initially the school had a handful of pupils and classes were given from a back bedroom in Claygate but as the Roshe School of Dancing grew it moved to Foley Hall, Claygate, which is still home to the Claygate branch, now run by Shelaghs daughter, and Shelagh, now in her late eighties, still teaches the occasional class.
Soon after the school moved to larger premises, Rosemary Woodd moved to East Grinstead and opened a second branch. Independently run and operating initially from the Parish Hall, East Grinstead, this branch was invited to take up residence in 1968 at the recently built hall at Felbridge and has remained there ever since. However, sixty years after the school opened in Claygate, Roshe has exceeded all expectations.
Rosemary Woodd had initially trained under Eugene Wheelwright, later moving to study under Bridget Espinosa who was the wife of Geoffrey Espinosa from the renowned family of dancers and teachers, one of whom, Édouard Espinosa, had founded the Royal Academy of Dancing in 1920 and the British Ballet Organisation in 1930. Bridget, born Bridget Kelly in 1928 in Ireland, trained at Elmhurst Ballet School before joining the Embassy Ballet in 1947 and the International Ballet in 1948. After a career as a dancer, Bridget Espinosa went on to teach dance and became Principal of Bush Davies School in East Grinstead, Sussex. She was also artistic director of Elmhurst Ballet School at Camberley, Surrey, and founded the London Studio Centre in 1978.
Rosemary has continued the tradition of high standards of dance and discipline under which she was trained during the sixty years of Roshe, preserving the heritage of British ballet and maintaining a link with the demanding standards that were required in the early 20th century for British ballet to become truly great.
Initially pupils at Roshe were trained under the RAD syllabi for Classical Ballet, the style under which Rosemary Woodd had trained and which had been taught at the Claygate and East Grinstead branches. However, this is not the only syllabus for Classical Ballet training and since 1968 the main syllabus of dance training to be taught at Roshe has been Imperial, one of the faculties of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD), which is less rigid, has a more fluid and musical approach to movement, and does not include the study and performance of National Dance, which was and still is part of the RAD Classical Ballet syllabus.
The adoption of ISTD in preference to RAD was after an introduction by Nancy Robinson who had her own dance school in Streatham. Nancy, along with Jean Campbell, a much respected member of the Imperial Ballet Committee, encouraged and supported the re-training of the Roshe School Principal Rosemary Woodd.
One of the first Roshe pupils to pass an Imperial Classical Ballet examination was Jill Redford who went on to dance professionally, teach at Roshe School, become an ISTD Major Examiner, an All England Dance Association Adjudicator, founder (along with Sheila Ticehurst) of Redhurst School of Dance (later sold to Kay Ball) and more recently, in 2013, owner of the EW School of Dance in Edenbridge, Kent, purchased on the retirement of its founder Eunice Walton. Rosemary Woodd went on to become a major examiner for the ISTD and was elected to the ISTD committee in September 1991, and in 2011 in recognition of a career in teaching dance, Rosemary Woodd received the Jean Campbell Award for service to the ISTD.
Roshe School have always offered an alternative training to that available at full-time dance schools. It gives pupils attending state or private education an opportunity to take lessons in dance and performance outside their academic school hours and has always catered for both those who treat dance as a hobby and those who wish to pursue a career in the industry. From its 12.0ptbeginnings in 1954, Roshe now provides over seventy lessons a week including RAD Ballet, ISTD Ballet, Pointe, Classical Greek Dance, Modern, Tap, Freework Jazz, Contemporary, Musical Theatre and Irish Dance.
Over the past sixty years Roshe pupils have gone on to complete their training at many of the leading Ballet Schools and Dance Colleges. Former Roshe pupils have gone on to dance or are still dancing with some of the worlds most prestigious dance companies, including:
Ballet Rambert Company
Berne City Ballet Ensemble
Birmingham Royal Ballet
English National Ballet Company (formerly the London Festival Ballet)
European Ballet Company
German State Opera Ballet Company
London City Ballet
Noidharzer Stadtbind Theater, Malberstadt, Germany
Northern Ballet Theatre Company
Norwegian National Ballet
Pact Ballet, South Africa
Rambert Dance Company
Royal Ballet Company
Royal Danish Opera and Ballet Company
St. Pölten, Stadttheater, Austria
Sadlers Wells (later the Royal Ballet Company)
Vienna Festival Ballet
Vienna State Opera and Ballet Company
Watkins Dance Company
Other pupils have or are appearing in major theatre works, in film and television, on cruise ships, hotels and casinos all over the world.
Some Theatre credits of former and current Roshe pupils include:
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Joseph & the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat
Mamma Mia (Germany)
Matilda the Musical
Moulin Rouge (Paris)
On your Toes (Japan)
Phantom of the Opera (West End and Hamburg)
Spirit of the Dance (England and tours in Holland, Israel, Norway and USA)
Whistle Down the Wind
Wizard of Oz
Some Film and Television credits of former and current Roshe pupils include:
Childs Play 5 - Seed of Chucky (2004)
Dancin Thru the Dark (1990)
Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone (2001)
Phantom of the Opera (2004)
Rollin with the Nines (2006)
Three Wishes for Jamie (1986)
White Hunter, Black Heart (1990)
Cranford Chronicles (2007)
Hound of the Baskervilles (1984)
Return of Sherlock Holmes (1988)
Swallows and Amazons (1983)
The Bill, Beggar My Neighbour (1992)
The Haunting of Cassie Palmer (1982)
The Little Match Girl (1987)
Kylie Minogue Spinning Around (2000)
Shes a Knockout (2009)
MacDonalds 1955 Classic burger (2014)
Peugeot 106 Thelma & Louise (1996)
Some of the Cruise Ships and Hotel/Casino placements of former Roshe pupils include:
Costa Cruise Lines Costa Magica
Cunard Cruise Lines
Grand Princess Cruise Ship
Holland America Cruises
Norwegian Cruise Line
The Q.E. 2
Fat Mamas (Paphos)
Loews Hotel (Monte Carlo)
Others have gone into the modelling industry working for magazines like Vogue and Marie Claire, or had successful careers as backing singers or support artists for bands like Jools Holland and Deacon Blue, or success as recording artists in their own right such as Gemma Price who has released at least seven albums either solo or with the band Sacred; and Jo Platt who has been in the bands Urban Chaos and L.A.D.E. (pronounced Lady).
Apart from performing in the entertainment industry, many former Roshe pupils have gone on to open their own Performance and Dance Schools or are teaching in various schools and colleges both here and abroad.
The success of Roshe is all due to the high standards of teaching and strict discipline expected by the schools Principal, Rosemary Woodd, continuing the tradition of the formidable dance training that she experienced during her own training.
Apart from dancing, another aspect of the dance industry at which Rosemary Woodd excels is choreography, the art of composing ballets and other dances and planning and arranging the movements, steps and patterns of dancers. Rosemary has always been an original in this discipline, choreographing Modern Ballet pieces long before this Ballet form was formally recognised and leaving a legacy of classic Roshe routines including, Wings of Dream to music by Neil Diamond, The Decision that portrays the uncertainty of a young novice as to whether she should take her final vows and become a nun, Journey Through Life to music by Russian composer Rodion Shchedrin with spoken words by John Harrison (father of Roshe pupil Kate Harrison), Le Foyer de la Danse based on a painting of dancers by Edgar Degas whose composition is reproduced in the Opening Scene, to music by Schubert, and Little Match Girl based on the story by Hans Christian Anderson.
This passion of choreography has also been passed on to many of the Roshe pupils who regularly create and perform their own work for the in-house Roshe Choreographic Showcase. Pupils pieces have also been selected to compete in the All England Dance Festival circuit, at the Imperial Ballet awards and at the Modern dance choreographic competition Creation. Perhaps one of the more recent successes was a contemporary dance piece created by sixteen year old Katie Clarke called Chinese Whispers that went on to compete in the All England Dance finals and was runner-up in the national Creation choreographic competition.
Celebrating 60 years
In celebration of their sixty years, Roshe produced a spectacular show called Thats Entertainment at the Hawth theatre in April 2014. The show, named after the Finalé of the very first Roshe show, consisted of twenty eight routines all based on musicals from the past sixty years, featuring every dance discipline taught at Roshe School and including all the current pupils (except the Pre-School class) and a few recently left seniors. The evening was attended by several of the leading figures in the dance world including Patron Francesca Filpi, Dame Beryl Grey, Alexandra Barnes (ISTD examiner), Sally Fredericks (former soloist with the Royal Ballet), Liz Filpi (owner of Dar Danse in Morocco), June Mitchell (RAD tutor and examiner), Pat Prime (ISTD examiner and former Chair of Ballet faculty) and Donald Vleugels (ABT, ISTD and RAD tutor).
The 60th anniversary show, over two nights, was followed by a Gala Evening, also held at the Hawth, attended by over 220 people made up of past and present pupils, parents, teachers and people that have helped make Roshe the success that it is today. The Gala meal was followed by a series of entertainments performed by past and present pupils, the presentation of sixty pink roses to Rosemary Woodd by former pupils and a short speech from Rosemary thanking all those involved in the school over the years and remembering those who were no longer with them. The evening culminated with a performance of the classic Roshe routine Chicago, choreographed by Candi Trabucatti danced by forty-one pupils including nine of the originals who first performed the routine back in 1999.
Roshe School has seen over 2,500 pupils pass through its doors, many of whom have continued their interest in dance either as a career or just for fun and fitness. The schools main power base is still at the Hall in Felbridge although the school has recently introduced a second, purpose built dance studio to its list of venues for the teaching of dance located at Imberhorne School. Roshe still holds the same values and dedication to its pupils as it did when it was founded back in 1954 and over the years has gained a reputation as one of the most prestigious dance and performing arts schools in the South.
Highlights of 60 years
Perhaps the main highlight is that the school has grown out of all expectations with Rosemary Woodd still at the helm after sixty years, and that the first Roshe pupil, Helen Walters who gained entry to the London College of Dance & Drama, pursuing a professional dancing career before retiring to teach dance, was to set the standard for others to follow.
Obviously during the sixty years of Roshe there have been a few highlights and achievements and the first was way back in the 1960s when June Highwood became the first pupil to succeed in the ballet world with a career at the Sadlers Wells Ballet (now the Royal Ballet Company) and later with the Birmingham Royal Ballet. Over the years many Roshe pupils have gone on to train at the Royal Ballet, either as an Associate or at one of the schools including; Katherine Adams, Alexander Ayres, Natalie Britchford, Emma Brookes, Rebecca Brunton, Scott Casban, Michelle Christophi, Kate Church, Abigail Cowen, Alice Crawford, Suzanne Dobson, Liesl Dowsett, Anne Dunkley, Deanne Finlayson, Michael Francis, Sally Fredericks, Tristan Hayden, Anna King, Amanda-Jayne London-Williams, Aysha McCrossen, Katie McMahon, Charley Mansfield, Katie Nicholson, Francesca Parker, Nicola Peterson, Lucy Renouf, Elise Riddick, Michelle Robinson, Zoe Robinson, Claire Still, Hannah Stoneley, Tamzin Swayne, Maria Thomas, Abigail Thompson and Amanda Worsford. Many of these have gone on to have successful careers with various world renowned ballet companies including the Birmingham Royal Ballet, English National Ballet, Matthew Bournes New Adventures Company, Northern Ballet Company, the Rambert Dance Company and the Royal Ballet Company in Britain and the Australian Ballet, Berlin Ballet Company, German State Opera Ballet Company, Norwegian National Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet and the Vienna State Opera and Ballet Company abroad.
There have been close ties between the ISTD and Roshe, in 2002 Roshe were invited to perform River to Pray at the ISTD Spring Meeting held at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London. In 2004 Roshe provided seven pupils to perform in the ISTD Centenary celebrations held at the Centenary Theatre Congress in the Westbourne Suite of the Royal Lancaster Hotel, London, and more recently Roshe provided six pupils to appear in the new Imperial Classical Ballet syllabi DVDs which are used as teaching tools for students.
Roshe have also had numerous successes within ISTD competitions, both in the Imperial Classical Ballet Awards, Ruby Ginner Classical Greek Awards, Janet Cram Modern Awards, the Creation Choreography Awards and Star Tap Awards.
Classical Ballet successes include: Michelle Robinson who won the Imperial Ballet Grade VI Award in 1988; Hannah Stoneley who won the Imperial Ballet Grade IV Award in 1987 along with Gemma Minns who won the Grade IV Class Prize and Charley Mansfield who was placed 3rd in the Intermediate Award; Hannah Stoneley also won the Imperial Ballet Elementary Award in 1998; Tess Cosad who became an Imperial Scholar in 2005; Alice Gordge who won the Musicality Prize for Grade 5 at the Imperial Ballet Awards and was also selected to be an Imperial Scholar in 2006; Lucy Renouf who has been placed in every grade of the Imperial Ballet Awards and won the Inter-Foundation Grade and Musicality Award, the Intermediate Grade and the Stella Mann Award between 2008 and 2013.
Ruby Ginner Classical Greek winners of recent years include: Polly Allen, Genevieve Cutcliffe, Charlotte Dunn, Carina Howard, Bonny Lowy, Aylish Moore, Lucy Renouf and Tallulah Treadaway in 2010. Lucy Billingham-West, Freya Bryant, Genevieve Cutcliffe, Charlotte Dunn, Carina Howard, Sophie Karalois and Lucy Renouf in 2011. Lucy Billigham-West, Charlotte Dunn, Carina Howard, Sophie Karaolis, Lucy Renouf and Tallulah Treadaway in 2012. Emma Clarke, Georgie Coughlan, Nell Foister, Abigail Guest, Tristan Hayden, Zia McCrossen, Amy Pickup, Lucy Renouf and Anna Smith in 2013.
Janet Cram Modern Award successes include: Josephine Platt who won the Most Outstanding Dance in the Premier class in 1996, Hannah Stoneley who won the Senior class in 1998, Lauren McPherson who won the Class Prize at the Semi-Finals in 2004, Katie Clarke who won several Regional Class Prizes between 2006 and 2009 and was the Runner-Up in the national Senior class of the Janet Cram Awards in 2009, and Lucy Renouf who won the Junior and Senior classes of Janet Cram between 2010 and 2012 and was the Premier Class Prize Winner in 2013. In 2012, Katie Clarke was also Runner-Up in the Premier class of the Creation choreography competition with a quartet called Chinese Whispers.
To round off successes in ISTD competitions, the Star Tap Award was won by sixteen year old Natalie Britchford in 1991 who went on to train at the Royal Ballet School and pursued a dancing career with the Berlin Ballet.
Roshe has also had several highlights in other competition work producing numerous winning dances and dancers at local Dance Festivals and at the All England Dance Finals held every other year, too numerous to mention individually. Some of the most memorable Group and Troupe routines include Incantations, a Ballet Group choreographed by Eunice Walton, which won the All England Dance Finals in 1985 and was invited to be performed in the Gala Performance at the end of the competition. A classic Rosemary Woodd Character Ballet Group is La Foyer de la Danse, which has won numerous local Dance Festivals spanning nearly twenty years and is still a favourite in the Roshe Shows. Other routines choreographed by Rosemary Wood include a series of Classical Ballet trios performed by Danielle Thompson, Katie Nicholson and Hannah Stoneley that won every age group in the Classical Trio section of the All England Finals during the mid to late 1990s, and a Modern Ballet, Magnificat that was placed 3rd in the under 21 section in the All England Finals in 2013.
Contemporary routine, River to Pray, choreographed by Rosemary Woodd after William Spencer, won the ISTD Ballet Award Choreographic competition in 2002 and just about every local Dance Festival including the All England finals. Another successful Contemporary routine was Cirque Noir choreographed by Charlie Savident. Again it had a very successful run on the local Dance Festival circuit and won at the All England Dance Finals in 2011 and was also selected to be performed as part of the All England Gala Performance in 2011.
Classical Greek has also been a strong discipline at Roshe and has had numerous successes both at local Dance Festivals, the All England Finals and the national Classical Greek Finals, with dances such as The Garden of Hesperides choreographed by Rosie McLaggan that won the Classical Greek Festival in 2007; Themoume and Offering to Dionysus, both choreographed by Donna Simpson (a former Roshe pupil), that both won most of the local Dance Festivals and the national Classical Greek Festivals in 2009 and 2011 respectively; and Earth, again choreographed by Donna, that won the Marguerite Steen Shield for Group Choreography in 2011, every local Dance Festival between 2011 and 2013 and the All England Final in 2013.
Representing the Modern and Stage disciplines at Roshe, Irish tap routine Celtic Spirit, choreographed by Charlie Savident, won every local Dance Festival, came 2nd at the All England Finals in 2013 and was invited to be performed at the Dance Proms at the Royal Albert Hall in 2012. Another tap routine, Swing Set choreographed by Candi Trabucatti, was also invited to be performed at the Dance Proms at the Royal Albert Hall in 2013.
Another highlight for Roshe has to be when sixteen year olds Charlotte Dunn and Laura Hammond were selected in 2012 to perform in the closing Ceremony of the Olympics alongside Darcey Bussell, helping to set the record of the largest number of dancers on pointe in a single performance. Two former Roshe pupils, Emily and Jessica Evans also successfully auditioned to be part of the closing ceremony.
Roshe have also provided dancers for numerous professional companies over the years including:
Swansea Ballet Russe production of Nutcracker at Chequer Mead, East Grinstead, in 2003, Swansea Ballet Russe production of Coppelia at Chequer Mead in 2005, the European Ballet production of Coppelia at the Hawth in 2007, the Swansea Ballet Russe production of Nutcracker at Chequer Mead in 2008, Crank, a dance specifically choreographed for Roshe pupils by company member Jess Hall, to appear in the Watkins Dance production Angled Eye at the Hawth in 2012, and Tear specifically choreographed for Roshe pupils to appear in the Joss Arnott production The Dark Angel at the Hawth in 2012. But perhaps one of the longest standing associations with a professional company has to have been with QDOS Entertainments for providing Juvenile dancers, and occasionally Senior Dancers, for their pantomime seasons at the Hawth theatre since 1987, a total of twenty-four years. Even after QDOS were succeeded by Evolution Productions in 2011 for the pantomime season at the Hawth theatre, Roshe have continued to supply Juvenile dancers.
Roshe pupils have also been selected to dance with some of the countrys Youth Ballets. In 1997, fourteen-year-old Katie Watkins was chosen to perform with the National Youth Ballet in their production of Cinderella at the Ashcroft Theatre, Croydon, and Her Majestys Theatre, Haymarket. In 1999, eleven-year-old Charlotte Henley was chosen as a junior soloist for the Southern Youth Ballet production A Winters Gala Scenes from Ballet performed at the Devonshire Park Theatre in Eastbourne, Sussex. In 2002, six pupils were selected to dance in the English youth Ballet production of Nutcraker at the Harlequin Theatre, Redhill. In October 2006 pupils from the Roshe School Felbridge again had the opportunity to dance in a professional classical ballet production, this time Sleeping Beauty, staged by the English Youth Ballet at the Harlequin Theatre, Redhill. Twelve children were selected from dance schools in the East Grinstead area of which nine were Roshe pupils. Those chosen to take part in the production included: Sophie Bassett, Laura Cooper, Georgina and Vanessa Craven, Emily and Jessica Evans, Laura Hammond, Alana Jones and Jade Mitchell. Also appearing was ex-Roshe pupil Nicola Fenton who performed the joint roles of a Jewel, Lady Energy and Princess Florine. More recently, in 2013, twelve year-old Zia McCrossen was chosen to perform in the English Youth Ballet's production of Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker at the New Wimbledon Theatre, London.
Apart from local theatres several Roshe pupils have appeared in West End productions whilst continuing their training with Roshe. These include: Sarah Dettmer who appeared in Barnado in 1978, Tracy Dettmer who appeared in Annie in 1979, Gemma Price who appeared in Annie in 1981 and Bugsy Malone in 1983/4, Polly Allen who appeared in Billy Elliot in 2011 and then went on to play the first Veruca Salt in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in 2013, Sam Delaney who joined the cast of Matilda the Musical in 2012 and then moved to Billy Elliot in 2013 and Tallulah Treadaway who secured a role in Matilda the Musical in 2013, alongside former Roshe pupil Juliet Gough.
It seems fitting to end with a few comments and tributes from the 60th anniversary celebrations:
What Roshe Performing Arts and the inspiration of Rosemary Woodd has left over sixty years, and will continue to do so into the future, is a lasting legacy. Rt. Hon Henry Smith MP
As chief Executive of the Royal Academy of Dance, it gives me the greatest pleasure to send on behalf of the entire Academy our heartfelt congratulations to Rosemary Woodd as she celebrates 60 years of dedicated service to the art of dance. Rosemarys dedication has inspired generations of her students and she has brought nothing but lustre to the profession she has so brilliantly served. Luke Rittner (Chief Executive, RAD)
The Roshe School has always been in the forefront of teaching, and many of todays performers, lecturers and examiners owe their success to the training and encouragement they received during their early dance education in the school. Paddy Hurling (Artistic Director of the ISTD)
There is not a day that goes by that I dont look back to my wonderful training. Realising just how much it has influenced me in my teaching career! Penny Boyse (former pupil)
Congratulations on this wonderful achievement. I cannot thank you enough; my career has been because of the incredible start I had at Roshe. You and your amazing staff, you made me want to dream that dream. I have never seen a school which is able to cater for people that want to dance for fun but also be able to set them on their way to a career in dance. Every part of Roshe School was professional and I am lucky to have started what would later become my life. Scott Casban (Principal Dancer, Norwegian National Ballet)
Archive of the Roshe Performing Arts School, held by FDHG
Celebrating 60 years of the Roshe School, Anniversary Souvenir Brochure
Handout, Roshe School, SJC 11/04
Texts of all Handouts referred to in this document can be found on FHG website: www.felbridge.org.uk