Final curtain for A Level dance students at Newcastle High

Jessica Carrick, 18 from Newcastle and Alys Pigott, also 18 from Northumberland showcased their dance talents at their last performance at Newcastle High School for Girls on Thursday 28 April before they leave school in July to pursue a career in dance at a prestigious dance school in London, having received offers from Laine Theatre Arts College in Surrey, Laban and London Studio Centre.

All 14 A Level and GCSE students performed their examination pieces in front of an appreciative audience of family and friends at Newcastle High on Thursday night.

Dance is an extremely popular subject at the school and is taught in nursery from age 3, with 26 studying the subject to GCSE and A Level.  Several dance groups, ‘Kinima’ and ‘Porphyra’, also provide an impressive training ground for young dancers in school.

Heading up the dance department at Newcastle High is former pupil (Central Newcastle High), Julie Bowman who trained at the Royal Academy of Dance, gaining a degree in Ballet Education and Licentiateship.

The school has well-established links with professional dance groups and Dance Academies giving the girls exposure to professional artists during their studies and gaining an insight into the profession and what it takes to secure places at highly selective dance schools, as well as in professional theatre and dance productions.

Newcastle High has produced and trained an illustrious list of dancers and theatrical artists, among their ranks are Alice Stokoe, who last year took the lead in the West End production of Mamma Mia and Laila Zaidi, who graduates from the Arts Educational School this year and recently performed live on BBC 1’s Shakespeare Live event to commemorate Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary.  

Sophie Knowles, another former Newcastle High pupil, is currently in the second year of her undergraduate degree in Dance at the University of Surrey and has been offered a year-long placement at Rambert Dance for the 3rd year of her degree. She hopes to become a choreographer when she graduates in 2018.

Julie, Bowman, Director of Dance, commented; “The GCSE and A Level dance show is always a fantastic spectacle. Over the years it has provided a showcase for our many successful dancers and theatrical artists and we have a long list of alumnae who are now ‘treading the boards’ in this country and internationally. 

“This year we have a host of talented dancers among our A Level and GCSE students with many planning to study dance in the Sixth Form, with many more exciting dancers coming up through the school. 

A number of girls are training on the CAT programme at Dance City and Phoenix Academy in Gateshead.   The Senior International Tap Scholarship Winner Georgian Eddon and British Junior All Girl Classical Sequence Champion, Hannah Bulman both attend Newcastle High.

“This show is always bittersweet – great to see what the girls have accomplished, sad because it will be our A Level students’ last school performance.”