Summer 2021 Round-Up

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We have had a very busy term, starting with our Presentation of Awards Show in April, all the way through to today where we are gearing up for the new Autumn term.

April 2021 – Presentation of awards show which was filmed at the Sundial Theatre Cirencester in a Covid safe environment and streamed online for those who took part.

June 2021 – Three examination sessions totaling over 70 candidates who took Modern theatre, Tap & Ballet examinations.

July 2021 – Influences the summer show spectacular, this year’s format (due to COVID-19) was filmed over four days, and after editing, was screened live at the Sundial Theatre each night, with the addition of my beautiful and talented graduates, dancing a 15-minute live section each night. All under Covid restrictions. We are sad to say goodbye to the 10 graduates from 2020 & 2021 who between them have clocked up 120 years of tuition, but wish them well in the next stage of life, and hope to welcome them to CCDA events soon, we will miss you all.

Big congratulations to 2021 Graduate Amelia Calvert who, has successfully auditioned and gained a place at the Urdang Academy London, to study for the 3-year Musical Theatre degree.

We are also very proud to hear that 2020 graduate Anna Frost, has been voted performance coordinator & contemporary dance choreographer for the University of York’s Dance Society.

August 2021 – Summer Skills Week – 5 days of fun with current professional performers teaching Musical Theatre, Classical Ballet, Tap, Contemporary genres, choreography jazz & fitness.

We also had great success with the Cheer & Dance Day on bank holiday Saturday – Cheerleading skills & drills, Jumps & tumbling, Stunts & pyramids, Urban & Hip-hop dance, Jazz and Contemporary Dance, Arts & Crafts all in a supportive fully inclusive six-hour session.

Exciting Alumni news, Hannah Ponting (Clark), who regularly teaches on CCDAs summer skills week, has just landed the lead role of Cinderella in the Pantomime at Grange Theatre Northwich.

The Autumn term begins Monday, September 13th, with new classes and lots of exciting performing opportunities.

CCDA News Updates January 2021

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2020 was the year of the Covid pandemic and has been challenging for us all for so many reasons. However, looking back on the year I am extremely grateful for not only my family and friends, but also you the wider CCDA community. I cannot believe how much the CCDA family has achieved this year, despite all the setbacks and hurdles.  

Teamwork, resilience, fun, learning new ways of working, completing challenges, stepping outside the box, laughter, feeling proud, being part of something special, enjoyment, great memories, endurance, zoom, fitness, leadership, competitions, trophies, high fives, being thankful, positivity, cheerleading. Are just some of the things that spring to mind to sum up 2020.

In January the Disney land rehearsals were in full swing (sadly on hold till we can safely go ahead with this once in a lifetime opportunity).

February saw the annual awards show, where we look back on the previous year’s achievements and all our beautiful student’s perform. 

Through the early Spring we had many successes at competitions in both dance and with CCDA Phoenix cheerleading who competed at new competitions. We had twelve students involved in the Kingshill senior school dance awards and were extremely proud of all the winners. 

March and COVID-19 hit us all, we became a home dance school! We want to say how amazingly all the students (and families!) coped with making your living rooms, bedrooms, and gardens your studios. We carried on learning, having fun, keeping fit and mentally motivated during a challenging time. You should all be really proud.

In April we launched CREATE an online choreography competition nationwide to raise funds for the Trussell Trust food banks, raising £915.14.

As a school despite the capacity restraints and the needed Covid protocols, we have kept lessons going throughout the Summer and November lockdowns via Zoom (software I had never heard of until 2020!).

Late July/August we reopened the studio for small groups, ran an outdoor musical theatre bootcamp week and were lucky to have our SKILLS summer school week happen in person.  

From September we returned to the studios and we want to thank you all for adapting. As a school, we have been focusing on technique, fun, and improving the mental health of all our pupils. 

We have launched two new programmes: CCDA Classical program – combining the core genres of Tap, Ballet & Modern. Alongside the CCDA Urban Chorus program which focuses on Urban dance & Acrobatics. We have also continued to build on the CCDA Phoenix Cheerleading program, despite the social distant rules and no stunting being allowed nationally. Adults were given the chance to forget the world issues and dance in both Ballet & Tap classes. We have increased Preschool provision with Carer & child Urban Bears classes. 

As the November lockdown hit we were once again back to Zoom. But that didn’t stop you guys and the school even took part in The Children In Need TAPATHON online – raising another £200!

December and 70 students took socially distant dance exams in multiple genres. With two students even managing to do four exams (ballet, tap, modern and jazz!). The sheer work ethic and determination to carry on with their training has been outstanding during this difficult year. 

I am also very proud that in December we were accredited as a centre for National Sports & Dance Leaders qualifications, which will enable our teenagers to further build their abilities and gain new leadership skills, which can be used to further CCDAs work in the community.

Due to the bonus week of classes, the CCDA community took full advantage to help those in need and we dressed up to raise money for a local Homeless shelter charity The Big yellow Bus project. Raising £227.70 

Of course, we did have some disappointments, as for the first time in 23 years, we were not able to have our annual summer show spectacular in Jul and we have had to alter the weekly timetable to allow for the new capacity rules. Sadly, we have also had to put on pause the CCDA Fairford branch due to issues with the venue, but we are very pleased that we have been able to accommodate those pupils into the main school.

So, despite the challenges, another busy year at CCDA. Thank you all for supporting the Academy in all our endeavours.

January 2021 – another lockdown, but with an end in sight we are excitedly looking forward to the Presentations of Awards performance at the Sundial Theatre in March, whilst planning for 2021 summer show running between the 7th – 10th July.

Thankyou all for being involved with the school in the last year, we appreciate you all please keep hopeful and keep dancing!

CCDA Year in Review 2016-2017

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Teaching Staff

Besides our regular teachers, Miss Katherine, Miss Laura and Miss Alice, we have had Miss Caley Merchant working on the CCDA apprentice scheme.  We have also been lucky enough to have Miss Adri, a former South African ballerina, teaching prima bears ballet, adult ballet and Solo Latin to kick off CCDA daytime provision.  Regular guest teachers have included, James Garland-Marks, who has recreated Priscilla for the Gala and Miss Amy Flynn, who has inspired the original “Strongest Suit dancers” to wear their spotty dresses again. Miss Camilla, who has provided several new epics, including Dr Who and an updated Spice Girls.

NEW for Autumn Term

Dance Basement, CCDA’s own studio, has allowed us to extend even further the diversity of the classes offered. New from September 11th, 2017

*NEW    Prima Bears Ballet for 2-4 years, unique to CCDA, this new class will be taught by Miss Eleanor on Saturdays.

ccda ballet bears photo 2

“Billy Elliot” Boys only ballet class, Thursdays with Miss Katherine.

CCDA boys dance 1

The daytime timetable will include –

Adult Ballet: Solo Latin; Dance Fitness; New Performers’ Foundation Course.

Festivals and other Activities-2016-17

Cheerleading – Over the year the cheerleading groups have gone from strength to strength.  In November the Flames entered a competition in Gloucester and gained a 1st and 2nd place and were awarded the trophy for the highest mark in the festival.  In April CCDA entered again in 3 age groups: the youngest – CCDA Sparks, inters – CCDA Ignites and seniors – CCDA Flames with both cheer and pom routines.  CCDA came away with four 1st’s, a 2nd and again the highest mark in the festival.  The girls are all getting excited about competing at the National Championships in Manchester in the autumn and fundraising like mad for new uniforms for the Ignites, as well meeting the costs of the competition!   

Quizzes – We organised two fundraising quizzes.  These were great fun for all age groups – keep a lookout for the next one!

Festivals – Over the year Pre- Junior, Junior, Inter and Senior Festival students have been entered into competitive dance festivals. Some excellent results have been obtained and many medals awarded.  

Trophies awarded included-:

Junior Classical Duet Trophy, Tewkesbury – Agnes Warner and Oliver Horne

Boy’s Award, Kingswood – Oliver Horne

All England Dance – Several pupils qualified for the prestigious All England Regional finals with their solos! – congratulations to:

Hollie Boxell – lyrical

Stella Stephens – song & dance

Alice Fisher – song & dance

Mia Brooks – contemporary

Refugees – CCDA was also thrilled that the combined age group ‘Refugees – a modern-day issue’ qualified for the Regionals – a tremendous achievement for this new group.  You will be able to see this powerful piece in the show!

  • Competitive dance festivals take place throughout the country.  The Academy regularly enters solos, duets, trios and groups. If you are interested in entering festivals please let Katherine know.  
  • Advent Market 2016 – the CCDA Harmony group performed at a number of venues around the town on the evening of the Advent Market.  Performances enjoyed by many.
  • The Cirencester Pantomime, January 2017 – A number of students had fun performing in this year’s pantomime – Aladdin.
  • Presentation Evening, January 2017 – The annual awards evening celebrated the success of the CCDA pupils with their recent exams and gave parents a chance to see some of the class work.  
  • Cirencester Fleece Fair – May 2017 – The cheerleaders provided the entertainment at the first annual Fleece Fair, performing in the Market Place outside the Parish Church.
  • Phoenix Fringe Family Day – May 2017 – CCDA again performed a display at this fundraising event – this year in lovely weather!
  • South Cerney Street Fair – May 2016 – Despite a rather wet day –  CCDA pupils brought a ‘little sunshine’ to the street fair with their performances of groups, solos and duets.
  • Summer Fetes – Chesterton, Somerford Keynes and Ashton Keynes invited CCDA to perform at their summer fetes.   A selection of solos, duets, groups and the cheerleaders entertained the crowds.
  • Phoenix Festival, August 2017 – CCDA have been invited back to perform at the Phoenix Festival this year at the end of August

What a performance year we have had at CCDA!

Outstanding Achievements & Moving On

Outstanding examination results included a complete cohort achieving distinction for tap from primary up to grade 6, Jazz results from Hollie Boxall & Stella Stephens 92 and excellent grade 6 modern results. Stella has also won a place on the prestigious National Youth Musical Theatre Summer School, she will be singing, dancing and acting in The Little Princess.

Moving On

This year we have three graduates moving on to exciting futures: all of whom have become CCDA stars and will be missed for their fabulous dancing.

Alice Fisher – is going to Chichester University to study a degree in Musical Theatre.

Mia Brooks – who is auditioning for drama schools next year, whilst doing further training with the National Youth Theatre.

Eleanor Cheesma– Who will be continuing her dance teacher training, and teaching tap and ballet for the younger grades.

Former CCDA students & graduates News

Lydia Holt graduates from Elmhurst Ballet School and has an internet ship with Northern Ballet – (those lucky enough to be watching Saturdays Gala will see her dance) Lydia has also landed her first professional engagement with The Cork ballet company.

Ashleigh Cheadle – After training with CCDA, she took up a scholarship at Arts Educational School Tring Park, before achieving an acting degree at Central School of Drama; she has appeared in War Horse in London’s West End, and is currently acting on Sky television.  

Camilla Bates This year Camilla has been responsible for training Senior B and implementing the new contemporary syllabus, whilst coaching students privately for exams and festivals.  Once again she has taken on a lot of extra work and choreography to support CCDA pupils. She has also been maintaining her own performing career, highlights being dancing for Fleur East at Wembley and filming on a Bollywood movie, all whilst running her personal training business. Much of her work can be seen on her YouTube channel camillamilliebates.

Tom Ashton (Wilkinson) Graduate Tom Wilkinson has been progressing his true passion as a choreographer and this year has seen him choreograph at several vocational colleges (Bird, Lipa, Masters)

James Garland has completed his third year as Head of Dance at Elstree Technology School, London.  James was invited to help create the GCSE dance specification this year and he continues to thrive and learn as a teacher.

Lottie Selwyn trained vocationally at Laban after CCDA then completed an MA as a member of Mapdance at Chichester University.  She continues to perform with Commotion Dance and teaches workshops from Early Years to Adults.  

Sophie Gooding who trained at Urdang Academy’s after CCDA has set up her own agency supplying dancers & models (we are being treated to her solo in the Gala).  

Dan Holley – who trained at Italia Conti Theatre Arts after CCDA, is currently in Starlight Express in Germany.

Lorna Hall- who trained at Urdang Academy after CCDA has been acclaimed for her dancing and choreography in Saucy Jacks and the Space Vixens in London. She is also a member of Burlesque group The Folly Mixtures.

Rachel Daly continues with her writing and directing in London.

Alex Fobbester has spent the past year playing Buddy Holly in the touring production of Buddy the musical. We were fortunate to take a group of CCDA students to catch his production at Swindon’s Wyvern theatre in November.

Jenny Webster who studied at MTA after CCDA, is continuing to increase her performing and circus skills. This year has seen her perform in panto and this summer is touring the festivals circuit with her circus group

Hannah Ponting who trained at Urdang after CCDA has been in pantomime at Milford Keynes, as well as dancing in fashion week in Milan

Ed McCollum has been working in Lazy Town the musical in Dubai.

Ryan Full has graduated and is currently auditioning.

Amy Williams has just completed her 2nd year at the Institute for dance in Barcelona

Caley Merchant has just graduated from Gloucestershire University, where she studied her degree in performing arts, alongside her teaching commitment to CCDA.
Congratulations to them all for their continued success.

June Newsletter 2015

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CCDA Dance Basement PhotoAs we come to the end of another CCDA year, which has been a very busy time preparing for the annual show, and with the advent of CCDA Dance Basement, the new home of CCDA. I have started to reflect on the past years and the growth in opportunities that CCDA offers.

The new timetable has less change than usual, but has some exciting opportunities in the upper school I have introduced a progressing technique class, aimed at those more serious students, who want even more from their dancing.

I have also set into motion ‘The CCDA Sunday Workshop Scheme’ every week from September there will be the opportunity to take part in a workshop on Sunday afternoons. The full timetable will be available in mid-August but will include a different workshop each week on subjects such as singing technique, musical theatre, tap, drama, performance technique, audition preparation, confidence building, classical ballet, progressing technique and many others. These will be run by guest lecturers all of which will be former or current working professionals.

For the lower school, more first level classes including “CCDA Tots and Company” classes from 18 months. Adult provision will have ballet as well as tap and jazz classes, and personal training available.

For the next term the examination system will be the same, with parents expressing interest and assessments taking place to determine the pupil’s readiness. From January 2016, this will change, details will be available in the autumn newsletter.

Competition & Performance groups will continue as set until January 2016, with the exception of Senior Tap Group, which will fold. All groups will be reviewed this term and further information will follow early in the autumn term.

Excitingly this year is the 18th show for CCDA , which means that plans for the 20th anniversary show and celebration a ball will be put into action, it’s going to be a big affair that no one will want to miss.

If you haven’t yet booked for the summer opportunities the Musical theatre Boot camp is now full, but there are some places available on the summer workshop week, 3-7 August.

Please keep sharing both the show posts and the CCDA Cirencester creative Dance Academy Facebook community page, we currently stand at 712 Likes.

Hope to see you at Summer School, if not we look forward to the start of the new term on the 14th September.

Kind Regards,

Miss Katherine
Principal CCDA