Roshe School of Dancing
To coincide with the 50th Anniversary of the Roshe School, the following charts the establishment and development of the Roshe School and collates many of the achievements of a school that has a reputation for its high standards of teaching and discipline, with numerous past students dancing professionally in Britain and around the world.
The School has never published a summary of its history and achievements, this handout is intended to fill this gap and provide information and guidance to the general public and Roshe students alike on what is an important national dance school operating out of the Felbridge area. All the information has been pieced together from newspaper articles, past show programmes, contacts with old pupils as well as current teaching staff.
The History of the Roshe School
The Roshe School of Dancing was founded on 7th March 1954 in Claygate, Surrey, the name derived from the Christian names of the two Principals, ROSemary Woodd and SHElagh London. Rosemary Woodd had trained under Bridget Espinosa who was the wife of Geoffrey Espinosa, of the renowned family of dancers and teachers, originally of Spanish extraction. Geoffrey’s uncle was Édouard Espinosa, a dancer, producer and teacher, who founded the Royal Academy of Dancing in 1920 and the British Ballet Organisation in 1930. One of his pupils was the acclaimed dancer Dame Ninette de Valois who became one of the great figures of 20th century dance and who founded of the Academy of Choreographic Art in 1926. In 1931 she established a small company of dancers that went on to become the Royal Ballet, Britain’s national ballet company. Bridget Espinosa, born Bridget Kelly in Ireland in 1928, danced with the Embassy Ballet in 1947 and the International Ballet in 1948. She went on to teach dance and became artistic director of Elmhurst Ballet School at Camberley, Surrey, in 1966, being succeeded on her death by her son. Rosemary Woodd has continued the tradition of high standards of dance and discipline under which she was trained during the fifty years of the Roshe School, maintaining a link with the demanding standards that were required in the early 20th century for British ballet to become truly great.
The initial success of the Roshe School of Dancing lies with its co-founders Rosemary Woodd and Shelagh London, and one of the early school pianist’s, Marjorie Crew, who was still playing for the Claygate Roshe in 1979. Initially the School had a handful of pupils, the first of whom was Helen Walters who went on to gain entry to the London College of Dance & Drama, pursuing a professional dancing career before retiring to teach dance.
The Roshe School of Dancing steadily expanded and a second branch was opened on 7th September 1962, operating from the Parish Hall, East Grinstead, Sussex. This branch then moved to the newly opened Felbridge Village Hall, Crawley Down Road, Felbridge, Surrey, in 1965, from where it still operates, and this has now become the Major Branch of the school. Initially students were trained under the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) syllabus of ballet, the style under which Rosemary Woodd had trained. Philip Richardson founded the RAD British ballet examination board in December 1920 in conjunction with an eminent group of dancers and teachers including Adeline Genée and Édouard Espinosa. Originally known as the Association of Operatic Dancing in Great Britain, its aim was to monitor the standards of classical ballet training. It began running a teacher training course in 1947 under which Rosemary Woodd was trained to enable her to open the Roshe School of Dancing. However, this is not the only syllabus for classical ballet and since 1968, the main syllabus of dance to be taught at the Roshe School has been Imperial which is less rigid and a more fluid and musical approach to movement. The Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing was founded in 1904 to supervise teachers of ballroom dancing and other types of dance from around the then British Empire. Today the society has ten faculties each specializing in different forms of theatrical, recreational and social dance. The adoption of ISTD in preference to RAD was suggested by Nancy Robinson who encouraged and supported the re-training of the Roshe School Principal – Rosemary Woodd, who went on to not only teach the ISTD syllabus but also become a major examiner in it. One of the first Roshe students to pass Imperial examinations was Jill Redford, now teaching modern at the Roshe School. Rosemary Woodd went on to become a major examiner for the ISTD and was elected to the ISTD committee in September 1991.
At the time the Roshe School of Dancing moved to the East Grinstead/Felbridge area, there was already an established full-time dance school called Bush Davies School operating from Charter’s Towers, Baldwins Hill, East Grinstead, where students could attend as day pupils or borders, being taught the national curriculum alongside dance, with the emphasis on dance, or as part-time students for ballet. Indeed, Rosemary Woodd also taught part-time at the Bush Davies School during the early 1980’s, taking the Junior Associate class. Pauline Bush had founded the Bush Davies School in 1914 with her daughter Noreen Bush, son-in-law Victor Leopold and contemporary of Noreen, Marjorie Davies. Perhaps one of the most famous dancers to have emerged from Bush Davies School was Doreen Wells who trained under Marjorie Davies, gaining entry to the Royal Ballet School before joining the Royal Ballet. The Bush Davies School taught the RAD syllabus, and this may be one of the reasons why the theatre attached to the school was called the Adeline Genée, after one of the founder members and first president of the RAD. Adeline Genée was born in Denmark in 1878, where she studied under her aunt and uncle. She made her debut at the age of ten as Christiania in Oslo, and by 1893 had joined the Centralhallen Theatre moving to the Berlin Court Opera in 1896, followed shortly after by the Munich Court Opera. In 1897 she began a ten-year reign as the most popular dancer at the Empire Theatre in London before she retired from stage in 1917 after several successful tours of America, Australia and New Zealand. She was made a Dame Commander of the British Empire in 1950, and today the Adeline Genée Gold Medal is the highest award given to a dancer by the RAD.
The Roshe School offers an alternative training to that available at a full-time dance school, whereby students who attend state or private education have an opportunity to take dance lessons outside their academic school hours. For some students dancing is just a hobby whilst for others it is an ambition, the part-time lessons offered by the Roshe School cater for both aspirations and offer many different dance disciplines. The school encourages parental support but parental ‘pushing’ is frowned upon, as students should be allowed to achieve their own aspirations and not those of a parent. Initially, the School offered ballet and modern lessons, with tap being introduced in 1977. Today, the School provides lessons in RAD ballet, ISTD ballet, Pointe, modern, tap, Classical Greek, Freework jazz, Contemporary, singing and LAMDA drama. Students are prepared for the various ISTD (Imperial society of Teachers of Dancing), RAD (Royal Academy of Dance) and LAMDA (London Academy of Music, Drama and Arts) examinations in all aspects of stage dance and drama to a level where they may enter Associate Classes to gain a teaching qualification.
Over the years the Roshe School has steadily grown from the handful of students in 1954, to 150 in 1979 and over 300 in 2004, having trained over 2,000 students to over the past 50 years. The initial Roshe School at Claygate still continued with the first expansion of the School in 1962 when the East Grinstead Roshe was opened at the Parish Hall in East Grinstead before moving to the Felbridge Village Hall in 1965. In the early 1970’s the Roshe School took over the East Grinstead based Audrey Lucking School of Dance on her retirement, and Roshe-trained Lesley-Ann Watson was put in charge of the school. Later Lesley-Ann bought this branch of the Roshe and it became known as Coppa School of Dancing. In January 1992, the Roshe School also took over an established Dance School in West Green in Crawley, Sussex, thus establishing the Roshe Crawley Branch, which later re-located to Northgate for a short period of time. However, due to the high running costs of this branch it finally closed in the mid 1990’s, students being offered places at the Roshe School major branch in Felbridge, most of who accepted.
In 1979, the Roshe School celebrated its 25th Anniversary and to mark the occasion a photograph was taken of the staff and students of the entire school. The 25th Anniversary was also marked by the show called ‘Come fly with the Roshe’ that was held at the Adeline Genée Theatre. Tributes and congratulations were received from numerous organisations, which included:
‘Congratulations from the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing and with Good Wishes for a further 25 years of continued success.’
‘The Roshe School of Dancing first came to the Felbridge Village Hall shortly after it was completed and since that time the School’s activities have been a constant feature in the use of the Hall, in a manner that has added to it’s standing, by the provision of an activity which is a great contribution to the Social Arts. Notwithstanding the fact that the School is a commercial enterprise, the voluntary contributions it has made to the Hall over the years in various ways, including fund raising, is most worthy and is highly esteemed. The dedication and determination of the Principal in both the Commercial and Charitable field is an example to all.’
R G Sheffield (Hon. President), Felbridge village Hall Association.
‘We would like to congratulate you on the 25th Anniversary of the Roshe School. Many pupils of Imberhorne School have benefited from the tuition and experience they have gained with you and have had a positive effect on the music and drama at Imberhorne.’
J H Mallinson (Headmaster) and N C Humphreys (Head of Middle School)
Also, in October1979 a troupe of dancers from the Roshe School were asked to perform at the Barn Theatre in Oxted, Surrey, as part of a charity concert presented by St Mary’s Church of Oxted. The Roshe troupe appeared along side such artists as the pianist Bobby Crush, and entertainers Billy Dainty, Barry Hopkins, Dave Tanswell and Rod Hull and Emu.
In 1993 the Roshe Dance College (RDC) was established to cater for students who are unable to attend a full-time Dance College. The Roshe Dance College offers training in ISTD and RAD Majors and ISTD Associate Ballet, Modern and Tap offering an opportunity to gain Licentiate Teaching qualifications with the option to gain valuable experience whilst assisting Classes at the Roshe School. As the ISTD Associate classes are in the evening, an appropriate motto is ‘Earn while you learn’. Another avenue that the Roshe School branched into in the early 1990’s was the Roshe CIA (Children in Action) Agency, supplying talented children between the ages of three and fifteen, to the entertainment industry including actors, dancers, models, singers and voice-overs. The agency was later taken over by Sue Gielgud (Re-Animator Mini Management) who attends the annual Roshe Show at the Hawth and holds occasional auditions to enrol talented youngsters onto their books. Recent successes include Kristina Hewitt who was chosen to play ‘human’ Glenda, an evil doll that comes to life, in the film Child’s Play Five – Seed of Chucky.
1994 saw the Roshe School celebrating its 40th Anniversary with a dinner held at the Fairfield Hall, Croydon. The Roshe annual show held in the following April at the Hawth in Crawley also celebrated the 40th Anniversary being entitled ‘Celebration of Dance’. Again various tributes and congratulatory messages were received one of which highlights the commitment and professionalism of the Roshe School.
‘My first introduction to Rosemary Woodd was as a name only, a teacher who sent pupils to auditions for my college.
Besides their excellent technical ability, her pupils were always beautifully groomed, professional in approach, committed to their chosen career and overall, showed evidence of a caring and very special training. Not surprisingly, therefore, I have offered places to many former pupils over the years, and all have been a credit to their first teacher, both in their progress throughout their three-year training, and in their successful careers.
Obviously, as time has gone on, I have come to know Rosemary as a person and can see why her pupils are so recognisably hers! This commitment and style is passed on through her dedication to all her students.
Lucky pupils to have so rounded a dance education, and many congratulations to Rosemary on such a wonderful achievement over so many years.’
Doreen Bird of the Doreen Bird College of Theatre Dance.
For the 50th Anniversary in 2004, several events were organised during the year, which was to culminate with a Gala Dinner and Entertainment at the Hawth in September, and a celebration party for the students in December. A tea towel was produced that featured a small drawing and signature of all the students attending the Roshe School. A school trip, once a common event at the Roshe School which had lapsed of late, was organised to see ‘Thoroughly Modern Millie’ in the West End, and to help raise funds a Ladies Night was held and a Gourmet Fish Supper was held at the Barley Mow in Tandridge. These events were followed by the 50th Anniversary show at the Hawth in April 2005 called ‘Name in Lights’. Unfortunately, the 50th Anniversary Gala Dinner that had been planned for September 2004 had to be postponed until September 2005, due to the ill-health and absence of Rosemary Woodd between June and October.
Roshe dress code and Dance disciplines
The Roshe School has a strict dress code to which all students are expected to adhere, being dependent upon the dance discipline and grade. Lessons in signing and drama are also available through the Roshe School, and the dance disciplines on offer at the Roshe School are:
Ballet has its roots in the Renaissance period but moved to France where the foundations of classical ballet as we know it today were laid down in the Royal Court of Louis XIV. The term ballet is now used to describe not only classical ballet and romantic ballet that flowered in the 19th century but also a wide range of non-classically based theatre dance. At the Roshe School, ballet is taught from the age of three with students joining the ISTD Babies/Pre-Primary grade. This is the first step in the grading system that runs to Grade VI, after which there are ISTD Majors from Inter-foundation to Advanced Grades 1 and 2. Advancement depends on ability but the average age for attaining Grade VI is twelve or thirteen years old. As well as ISTD Majors, there is also the opportunity to take RAD Majors from Pre-Elementary to Advanced. For students who have reached Grade V and above, there is a separate class for Pointe work. Finally, there is an Associate Ballet class held by Sally Fredericks, a former member of the Royal Ballet Company who started her training at the Roshe School. Associate Ballet does not have examination work but offers training with someone who has recently danced with a professional ballet company and a chance to gain more varied experience. Students may audition for this class from the age of eight having completed two terms of Grade II ballet.
Modern dance is the term used to denote theatrical dance that is not based on the academic school of classical ballet. It developed in opposition to classical ballet rejecting the structural formality of classical ballet. Perhaps the most striking difference is the abandonment of shoes, particularly pointe shoes, in favour of bare feet. Modern is taught at the Roshe School from the age of four and a half and a Roshe School requirement is that the student should also take lessons in ballet. Students join at ISTD Grade I and advance to Grade 6
Tap dancing is an American dance form characterised by rapid foot-tapping movement. Tap routines encompass complex rhythmical patterns and syncopated phrasing, which can be performed to a wide range of musical styles. At the Roshe School tap is taught from the age of six and a Roshe School requirement is that the student should also take lessons in modern. Students join at ISTD Primary Grade and advance to Grade 6. The dress code for female tap students to Intermediate is the same as for modern except tap students must wear ankle socks with tap shoes and the tap shoes must be Oxford style (if available in foot size). For Intermediate and Advanced black jazz pants and a vest top are worn. Again hair must be neatly swept back in a bun. For male students, the dress code is a white shirt with black trousers and black, laced, low-heeled tap shoes.
This style of dancing is a North American tradition that developed from a mixture of African and European dances, which draws on techniques that isolate various parts of the body in movement. Today it is used extensively in musicals, and is often referred to as show or commercial dancing. Freework jazz is taught from the age of fourteen, the more mature age due to the physical requirements of the dance work.
This style of dancing originated in the late 19th century with such dancers as Isadora Duncan and Loïe Fuller who pioneered a freer and more natural form of expressive dancing and body movements. Contemporary dancing is a freer form of artistic dancing than ballet and today plays a big part in the way dancing is taught.
ISTD Classical Greek
Classical Greek is taught from the age of 5 and follows the same grading system as for classical ballet. The dress code is a tin-strap leotard and footless tights with bare feet, and a muslin/georgette, knee length tabard of any colour, secured at the shoulder straps of the leotard, open down the sides and gathered at the waist on elastic.
Calendar of events
The Roshe has a busy schedule all year round with not only students prepared for examinations up to three times a year, but also entered for various local and national awards and dance festivals. The Roshe School supply students to various touring dance companies, and students can also audition for national youth ballet productions, and various professional pantomimes. The Roshe School also hold a choreographic competition and a ‘Show’ every two years, with an Open Day held at the Felbridge Village Hall every July where the end-of-year cups and awards are presented.
For the more advanced students there are several dance awards that they can enter including the ISTD Awards for Ballet held in February/March, the Stella Mann Award and Janet Cram Modern Awards for modern dance, and the Star Tap Awards. However, performing to an audience is encouraged from an early age and many students, of all ages, take part in Festival work.
The South East round of local Music and Arts Festivals start with East Grinstead in March and ends with Eastbourne and Tunbridge Wells in February the following year. Following each local Festival, students who attain the mark of 84 or above, in any dance category, qualify to compete at the next round of the All England Regional Finals that was formerly held in Maidstone, Kent, moving to the Assembly Rooms, Tunbridge Wells, Kent from May 2005. The South East Regional Finals are held at the between May and June, and Regional winners then go on to compete at the All England Finals held in London at the end of July. The Festivals favoured for entry by the Roshe School are at East Grinstead in March, Orpington in October and Beckenham in November, and occasionally Tunbridge Wells, although Roshe students are restricted to entering only three per year.
East Grinstead Music and Arts Festival
The local festival is the East Grinstead Music and Arts Festival (EGMAF) that takes place at Chequer Mead Arts Centre in April and May, this is one of the first rounds of the All England Finals that take place at the end of July the following year. Dancers who attain a mark of 84 or over automatically qualify for the next round of the All England Finals. Entries to the EGMAF must be submitted by mid February and students can enter a range of categories including, solo classical ballet, modern, character, song and dance, Greek, tap, improvisation and choreography. Apart from solo entries there are also entries for duets and trios in many categories, and groups and troupes, dependant upon the number of performing dancers. The dance section takes place over three weekends culminating with the presentation of trophies at the end of the section. The EGMAF is open for viewing at a nominal charge and for anyone contemplating entering the Festival it is well worth attending to understand how the Festival works, view contemporary performers and enjoy the dancing.
The Roshe School generally fair well at the EGMAF with several dancers qualifying for the next round of the All England Finals. The Roshe School won the Terence Kennedy Trophy for Troupe Dancing outright in 1989, having won it every year since 1970, except for 1977 when the Arnould School of Dancing won it, making a total of fifteen out of sixteen occasions. The Roshe School has also won the School Trophy awarded at the EGMAF on countless occasions, and in between 1982 and 1996 it was for fourteen consecutive years.
The other main festival favoured by the Roshe School is the Beckenham Festival, which is held in November. To perform in the Beckenham Festival, entries have to be submitted by the beginning of July. This Festival is held over the four weekends in November at Kelsey Park School in Beckenham and offers the last chance to qualify for the next round of the All England finals.
The Roshe School provide students for various touring companies that visit the Chequer Mead Arts Centre in East Grinstead, the Hawth in Crawley, the Harlequin in Redhill and theatres further a field. In the past students have performed with the London City Ballet in their production of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ at the Hawth in 1992. In recent years six students, Jessica Canham, Alissa and Sara Churchyard, Rebecca Manley, Nicola Peterson and Lisa Watkins, were selected to dance with the Lewis London Ballet in The Nutcracker at the Harlequin, with Nicola Peterson chosen to dance the role of the Snow Queen. More recently, in 2003, over thirty Roshe students appeared with the Swansea Ballet Russe in their production of The Nutcracker at the Chequer Mead Arts Centre.
Roshe students have also been selected to dance with some of the country’s Youth Ballet’s. 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 Majesty’s Theatre Haymarket. And in 1999, eleven-year-old Charlotte Henley was chosen as a junior soloist for the Southern Youth Ballet production ‘A Winter’s Gala – Scenes from Ballet’ performed at the Devonshire Park Theatre in Eastbourne, Sussex.
Auditions for a number of professional pantomimes take place every autumn. One of the most long-standing associations is with Qdos pantomimes at the Hawth in Crawley where Roshe students have performed for the last seventeen years. Roshe students perform on alternate days to students of the Heathfield School of Dance to cover the number of pantomime performances and remain within the legal allowance of working days for juveniles. Other venues that Roshe students have performed over the years are the Harlequin in Redhill, Surrey, and the Assembly Halls in Tunbridge Wells, Kent.
The Roshe Show
The ‘Show’ was first performed by the East Grinstead branch of the Roshe School in 1963 and previous venues have been Imberhorne School, the Adeline Genée Theatre, East Grinstead and since March 1991, the Hawth at Crawley. All pupils participate in the ‘Show’, regardless of standard and it is an opportunity to gain stage experience and to perform in front of a large audience. The ‘Show’ starts in January when the music is selected by Rosemary Woodd and Miss Candi, head of modern, tap and jazz. The music is then cut and choreographed and the students have just three months to learn their dance routines. Meanwhile, the costumes are discussed, designed and made. The work force, currently under the direction of the School’s secretary Chris Dettmer, is made up of members of the committee and numerous willing parents, with expertise from a considerable number of years experience provided by Ivy Brooker who started making costumes for the Roshe School when her daughter started at the School in 1962. Outside help is sort from Mi Design Dancewear of New Malden, Surrey, for leotards and specialist lycra wear, and today over 1,000 costumes are created for a single show.
Three obviously special Shows have been the 25th Anniversary Show called ‘Come fly with Roshe’ that was held at the Adeline Genée Theatre in April 1979. The 40th Anniversary Show called ‘Celebration of Dance’ held at the Hawth in April 1995, and to celebrate the 50th Anniversary, a show called ‘Name in Lights’, held at the Hawth in April 2005.
Roshe Open Day
This is held at the end of the school year, usually in July. Students and parents are invited to attend an afternoon demonstration of some of the work that the students have learned or performed during the year, either in class or at Festivals, this is then followed by the Prize Giving ceremony where students are awarded an array of cups and shields for achievement during the year.
In 1967 students of the Roshe School took part in the East Grinstead Civic Concert in honour of the French delegates from Bour-de-Peage, the town with which East Grinstead was first twinned. The concert, held at Imberhorne School, (then Imberhorne Secondary Modern School), included thirteen musical songs, comic sketches, dances and dramas, performed by such organisations as the East Grinstead Choral and Operatic Societies, the Boy Scouts, the Townswomen’s Guild, the Lake View Drama and Social Club, the Audrey Lucking School of Dancing, the Bush Davies School, and the Roshe School of Dancing who performed ‘The Little Match Girl’.
The Roshe School were also busy in June 1972 when they gave a demonstration at the League of Friends Fete at Queen Victoria Hospital and performed as part of an evening’s entertainment to demonstrate the new stage curtains and lighting system at the Felbridge Village Hall.
Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing Demonstrations
The meetings held by the ISTD include some of the biggest names in the dance world and over the years, students from the Roshe School have been chosen to perform at such meetings. In 2002, students from the Roshe School were invited to perform at the spring meeting of the ISTD held at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London. Fifteen students under the age of fifteen, performed a contemporary dance called ‘River to Pray’ that had been choreographed by Rosemary Woodd, and which had come first at the Beckenham Festival and the Tunbridge Wells Festival where they had won the under 21-years section.
To celebrate the Imperial School of Teachers of Dancing centenary in 2004, students from the Roshe School were invited to audition to perform in the day of Theatre Faculties held at the Centenary Theatre Congress in the Westbourne Suite of the Royal Lancaster Hotel, London. Of those who auditioned nine students were selected to demonstrate Primary and Grade VI Imperial Classical Ballet. The day of dance demonstrated how the Theatre Faculties’ work had developed over the last 100 years. The day opened with the Sequence Faculty presenting dances that were in vogue when the Society was formed in 1904. This was followed by a demonstration of Modern Theatre Dance featuring students from the Laine Theatre Arts and the Doreen Bird College of Theatre Dance. This was followed by a demonstration based upon the Imperial Ballet syllabus and was performed by students of Joanne Bond, Corraine Collins, Janet Marshall Dance Studios, Performers College and the Roshe School. Then came a demonstration of South Asian Dance incorporating the dance styles of Braratanatyam and Kathak. Then members of the Classical Greek Dance Association presented their various styles of movement and technique. Following this was a demonstration of National Dance including the Lancashire Clog Dance and Maypole Dancing by students from the Bramhall School of Dancing, and a Rumanian Harvest dance by students of Judith Hockaday. Then came a demonstration of the Cecchetti style of Classical Ballet by students from Kate Simmons Dance of Warrington, who performed ‘A Tribute’ choreographed by Jeremy Kerridge, former principal with the Northern Ballet. Following this was a demonstration of Grade 6 Tap performed by students of the Performers College. The morning ended with a performance of Latin American Dancing demonstrating the links between Modern Theatre and Latin American style dancing. The current World Champions, Derek and Anetta, dancers from America and Poland, performed this dazzling demonstration. After a break for lunch an open class with Chris Bailey from the West End was held and the day concluded with a Special Centenary Showcase, a presentation by the Faculties Award winners.
The success of the Roshe School is all due to the high standards of teaching and strict discipline expected by the School’s Principal, Rosemary Woodd. Today eleven members of staff support the School.
Principal of the Roshe School, major branch
Rosemary Woodd, ARAD, FISTD, LISTD
Associate of the Royal Academy of Dance (ARAD) Register Teacher, Fellow & Examiner of the Imperial Society of Teaching Dance (FISTD) [Ballet], Licentiate of the Imperial Society of Teaching Dance (LISTD) [Tap & Modern], Major Examiner [Ballet].
Rosemary Woodd trained under Bridget Espinosa and started her teaching career in 1952, much against her father’s wishes! She opened her own school with Shelagh London in Claygate in March 1954. In 1962 Rosemary moved to East Grinstead and established a second branch of the school, moving to Felbridge in 1965, which eventually became the main branch.
Sally Fredericks started her training at the Roshe School before joining Bush Davies at the age of thirteen. After leaving Bush Davies she went on to the Royal Ballet Upper School. On leaving the Royal Ballet School she joined the Royal Ballet Company, rising to soloist. She has taught Junior Associates for the Royal Ballet and is currently teaching the Associate classes in ballet at the London Junior Ballet and on a part-time basis the Roshe School.
Teaches Classical Greek.
Jolene Kiddle, AISTD, IDTA
Associate of the Imperial Society of Teaching Dance (AISTD), International Dance Teachers Association (IDTA).
Jolene started her training with the Roshe School and in 1986 and, whilst still training with the Roshe School, she appeared in a MacDonald’s commercial on television. In 1992, she gained entry to the Doreen Bird College of Theatre Dance. She currently teaches ballet to the Baby Class at the Roshe School, and covers for most ballet classes at the Roshe School. Jolene runs the Bastet School of Dance with her sister Sophie.
Jill Redford, FISTD, ARAD, PGCA
Fellow of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing [Modern] (FISTD), Associate of the Royal Academy of Dance (ARAD), and Postgraduate Certification in Adjudication (PGCA).
Jill Redford started dancing with the Roshe School as a small child until completing her education at Imberhorne School, East Grinstead. At the age of sixteen she gained entry to the Doreen Bird College of Theatre Dance. After leaving Doreen Bird she danced professionally both in Britain and abroad, and later ran her own dance school. On the birth of her first son, Jill took up freelance teaching and choreography of all forms of dance and drama for schools in Sussex, Surrey and Kent. Jill started teaching modern at Roshe in 1979, then after a short break, returned again in 1998 to continue teaching modern and occasionally tap. Jill is also a free-lance choreographer, examiner for the ISTD and Adjudicator for the British Federation of Festivals, being on the All England panel of adjudicators.
Candi Trabucatti née Woodd, FISTD, AISTD, RAD
Fellow of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing [Modern] (FISTD), Associate of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing [Ballet & Tap] (AISTD), Royal Academy of Dance [Advanced] (RAD).
Candida, the daughter of Rosemary Woodd, started dancing at the Roshe School in the early 1960’s and gained entry to the Bush Davies School c1971, on leaving the Bush Davies School she danced professionally at Lowes Hotel, Monte-Carlo for nine years before joining the teaching staff of Roshe School c1978. Miss Candi, as the students know her, is now head of Modern, Tap and Jazz at the Roshe School. She is also an examiner in ISTD Modern and Tap.
Eunice Walton, ARAD, FISTD
Associate of the Royal Academy of Dancing (ARAD), and Fellow of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (FISTD).
Eunice started dancing over fifty years ago in a part-time dance school like the Roshe School before going on to a full time Dance and Drama College, gaining her Advanced exams in teaching qualifications in Ballet, National, Modern and Tap. After leaving college, Eunice was offered a job teaching full time at the Laine Theatre Arts where she taught for fifteen years. During her time at the Laine Theatre Arts she passed further teaching exams and became a Fellow of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing. Eunice also became an examiner for the ISTD for five years but realised her greatest love was in teaching. Eunice moved to Lingfield, Surrey, twenty years ago and joined the Roshe School in 1984 where she teaches the senior students in the Imperial Ballet syllabus, Advanced Grades 1 and 2 and pointe. She also teaches dancers to teach which she finds ‘very detailed and most rewarding’. When not teaching at the Roshe School, Eunice teaches at her own dance school The Eunice Walton School of Dance, in Edenbridge, Kent.
Jacob Woodd LAMDA (Drama) (London Academy of Music, Drama and Arts)
Primarily in charge of the Roshe PR, but has also taught drama since 1992.
Also in charge of costumes.
Along with the permanent staff there are a number of visiting teachers that give their expertise and knowledge when needed, including Donald Vleugels who started teaching ballet at Roshe in 2000/1, but who now teaches for events like the ISTD Awards. There are two pianists, Brian Broadhead and Paul Matthews, who help out with classes when required.
Joyce trained at the Guildhall School of Music for Drama, taking signing and piano lessons, and most of her life has been associated with Operatic Societies and drama groups both performing and directing. Her first contact with the Roshe School was in 1968 when her daughter Heather started dancing. After the first lesson, Mrs Woodd asked if anyone could play the piano. At the time Joyce was playing for a Nursery School every morning and did not think she would be good enough to play ballet music. At the second dance lesson Mrs Woodd again asked if anyone could help and someone suggested Joyce, who eventually agreed, assisting Wynne Green, the then resident pianist. Joyce’s skills were in particular demand for the shows and festivals, as live piano music was played for the performances, recordings not being introduced until some years later. After eleven years of playing for the School, Joyce was asked to teach singing at the Roshe which she did for eighteen years. When Roshe School (Crawley) opened Joyce was also asked to play for classes and teach singing there. Joyce retired from teaching at the Roshe School in 2003 and died in 2008.
Roshe Student Placings
It is through the dedication of the teaching staff that the Roshe School has gained a formidable reputation over the years and many Roshe students gain places at the top full-time dance schools and colleges including:
Arts Educational School
Bellairs Studio of Dance and Drama
Brit School of Performing Arts & Technology
Bush Davies School
Central School of Ballet
Doreen Bird College of Theatre Dance
Drusilla Duffill Theatre School
Elmhurst School of Dance
Hammond School of Dance & Education
Italia Conti Academy of Theatre
Laine Theatre Arts
Le Manche Academie da Danse Classique
Leban Centre for Movement and Dance
Legat Ballet School
London College of Dance and Drama
London Contemporary Dance School
London Dance Studio
London Studio Centre
Millennium Dance 2000 Theatre School
Performers Dance College
Redhill Theatre and Drama Course
Royal Academy of Dancing (College of)
Royal Ballet School (Lower School)
Royal Ballet School (Senior School)
Stella Mann College
University of Surrey, Dance and Culture
Urdang Dancing Academy
Many former Roshe students have danced or are currently dancing with major companies all over the world, including:
Ballet Rambert Company
Berne City Ballet Ensemble
Birmingham Royal Ballet
English National Ballet Company
German State Opera Ballet Company
London City Ballet
London Youth Ballet
National Youth Ballet
Northern Ballet Theatre Company
Norwegian National Ballet
Pact Ballet, South Africa
Rambert Dance Company
Royal Ballet Company
Royal Ballet Sadlers Wells
Royal Danish Opera and Ballet Company
Southern Youth Ballet
St. Pölten, Stadttheater, Austria
Vienna State Opera and Ballet Company
Other students perform in Contemporary Dance Companies, and are appearing in the West End, on cruise ships, at international hotels and casinos and on television, including:
West End productions:
Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Phantom of the Opera
Spirit of the Dance
Whistle Down the Wind
Phantom of the Opera in Hamburg
Moulin Rouge, Paris
On Your Toes Ensemble, Japan
Cunard Cruise Lines
Grand Princess Cruise Ship
The Q.E. 2
Past Student Successes
The following is a short list of some of the past student success stories.
Alex was born in 1974 and began her training at the Roshe School before gaining entry to the Bush Davies School where she learnt ballet, step, modern, jazz, contemporary and character. She then continued her training in dance and drama at the Doreen Bird College of Theatre Dance between 1990 and 1993. Her qualifications include AISTD ballet and modern, tap advanced, RAD ballet and LAMDA, drama. During her dance training Alex appeared in numerous productions at the Assembly Hall, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, including, Ugly Bug Ball, Carousel, Half a Sixpence, The Bartered Bride, The King and I, Cinderella, and West Side Story. In 1991 and 1992 she appeared at the Trinity Arts Theatre as Gwendolin in The Importance of Being Ernest, and Eliza in Pygmalion. After leaving the Doreen Bird College, she worked as assistant choreographer on several cruise ships and performed in several shows including Mack and Mabel, the Andrew’s Sisters Revue, Chorus Line and the 20th Century Revue.
Now based in Germany, Alex released a CD called Weinnacht in Wunderland in 1996, followed in 1998 by Love Train. Since then she has appeared regularly on the German stage in the musical production Hair, a 60’s musical called Let’s Twist, a 50’s musical called Jailhouse – Rock’n Roll, and a 70’s and 80’s musical called Ti Amo. Alex has recently released another CD entitled Es tut nicht merh weh, and is currently appearing in the stage show Mamma Mia.
Victoria trained with the Roshe School where she studied ballet, modern, tap and jazz to an advanced level. She then went on to teach freestyle jazz and tap at the Elsie Marie Academy. Later Victoria went on to study dance and culture at the University of Surrey at Guildford. She also has extensive performing experience and is a choreographer for the Uckfield Youth Theatre.
‘I commenced at the Roshe when Rosemary Woodd started in East Grinstead in 1962. I continued at the Roshe until 1978, leaving school in 1973 and working as a Dental Nurse at Queen Victoria Hospital until 1978 when I started my teacher training/performing arts at the Laine Theatre Arts. The Laine course was from 1978 to 1981.
In 1980 I started teaching for Rosemary at the Roshe, starting Jazz classes, Tap classes and Drama. I also taught National and Modern and took the occasional ballet class! I also started a boy’s class.
I continued to teach up until my first son Christopher was born in 1986, and my second son David born in November 1987. I then left the Roshe School and went to teach at Coppa School of Dancing run by Lesley-Ann Watson, (a former Roshe student), until I found I was expecting another child, my daughter Kelly, so I decided to stop teaching at this point!
I then worked in a Fish & Chip Shop before starting gardening for others – the rest is history. I still teach at Blackwell Primary School on a voluntary basis, and have done so for the past thirteen years’.
Born in 1973, Emma started dancing with the Roshe School becoming Head Pupil between 1989 and 1991. Emma then went on the Royal Ballet School and completed her training at the Doreen Bird College of Performing Arts. She has performed in the ballet production of the Graduation Ball in Bromley and Saudades for Belinda King Productions in Portugal. She has also toured with the Sundance Workshop, run by the Sundance Company.
Emma has also appeared in cabaret in Britain, Crete, Greece, Portugal and Slovenia, in various jazz and street dance productions in Britain and India, and in variety and character in Britain, as well as Bollywood, India. Although now officially retired from professional dancing, Emma still does the occasional dance job with her own dance group, mainly at Naval, Army and Air Force bases around the country.
Emma is currently teaching at Tonbridge Grammar School, Tenterden Ballet Studios, Theatre Train and the Pauline Howard School of Dance.
Susie was born in 1964, and as a small child started dancing at the Roshe School. In 1979, she was one of a troupe of five Roshe students who performed in a charity concert at The Barn Theatre, Oxted, along side performers such as Bobby Crush, Billy Dainty and Rod Hull and Emu. After leaving the Roshe School in 1981, Susie went on to the Doreen Bird College of Theatre Dance where she studied ballet modern, pas de deux, character, national, contemporary, jazz, tap and drama. After graduating in 1984 Susie joined the St Pölten, Stadttheater, one of several ballet companies attached to opera houses in Austria. She remained here until 1987 when she joined the Alexander Roy London Ballet Theatre. Alexander Roy was a German-British dancer, choreographer and director who founded the International Ballet Caravan in 1965, being renamed the Alexander Roy London Ballet in 1976. Although based in London the company toured extensively and Susie appeared in several productions including La Ronde, Coppelia, Beauty and the Beast, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and the Magic Flute. Susie is currently working for British Airways, and performs annually in their pantomime production at the Hawth in Crawley.
Scott was born in Wimbledon and trained with the Roshe School becoming a Royal Ballet Junior Associate in 1985. In 1988, he gained entry to the Legat Ballet School in Crowborough, in 1990; and went on to join Le Manche Academie de Danse Classique in Normandy, France, and the Royal Ballet School.
Scott then went on to dance at the Pact Ballet in Pretoria, a South African ballet company formed in 1963 at the behest of the South African government. The company incorporated the old Johannesburg City Ballet and took its name from its sponsoring body, the Performing Arts Council of the Transvall (PACT).
In 1996, Scott joined the Norwegian National Ballet based in Oslo. The company is Norway’s only classical ballet company formed from a group called the Ny Norsk Ballett (the New Norwegian Ballet) in 1945. The British dancer and teacher Joan Harris was an influential early director adding a corps de ballet, producing classics, introducing English ballets to the repertoire and RAD teaching to the associated school. At the Norwegian National Ballet, Scott has danced the roles of Odin in Volve, Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Kain in Kain & Abel and Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet. Scott has also danced as a soloist in Vier Letzte Leider, A Dull House, Voluntaries, Mythical Hunters, The Nutcracker, Rite of Spring, Serenade, Heart’s Labyrinth Bella Figura, The Tempes’ and Por Vos Muero.
Tamara trained with the Roshe School before being accepted at the Bush Davies School, c1984. She is currently the choreographer in residence at Cotham School in Dorset, and a Curriculum and Professional Development (CPD) trainer for the Arts Council of England’s Arts Education Interface, teaching both teaching and support staff to use dance skills.
Abigail was born in 1972, and whilst training with the Roshe School became a Royal Academy Scholar in 1985. Abigail was accepted at the Central School of Ballet in 1988 and then joined the Ballet Central, the company comprising of dancers drawn from the Central School of Ballet. In 1992 she joined the English National Ballet and then the Northern Ballet Company, being a soloist from 1993 to 1997. Between 1997 and 1998, Abigail worked as a freelance dancer in London followed by a one-year contract with the Lucerne Ballet. Since 1999, Abigail has been a member of the Ballet Ensemble of the City Theatre of Bern.
Alice was born in Crawley, and trained at the Roshe School before being accepted at the Royal Ballet School. She joined the English National Ballet, formerly the London Festival Ballet, in 1990, becoming a soloist in 2002 and a senior soloist in January 2003. Alice is considered a lovely character dancer and being small and slim excels at portraying ‘little girls’. Her favourite roles include Clara in The Nutcracker and Alice, a role she created in the English National’s production of Alice in Wonderland at the Apollo Theatre in 2000. A bronze statuette of Alice as Alice in Wonderland was presented to a member of the committee of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing on her retirement in 2001. One of the highlights of Alice’s career to date is that she has won the Markova Bagrit Award at the Royal Ballet School, the award named after two great dancers, Alicia Markova and Patricia Fleur Bagrit.
‘Holy Cow could someone pinch me please?’ – lyrics from a song in Annie, that so accurately described how I felt the moment my number was called.
I, along with five other ‘orphans’, had been picked from thousands of hopefuls to appear every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night at the Victoria Palace Theatre for six months in one of the most successful shows at the time.
It was an experience of a lifetime – the memories will always be with me - from taking the tube from our flat in West Kensington to the theatre every day, and people nudging each other saying ‘ there’s the kids from Annie’, to sitting in Vidal Sassoon waiting for Annie to get her roots done, to our routine medical every 6 weeks in Harley Street, to Stratford John, Shelia Hancock and the late John Thaw’s daughter Joanne, playing in our dressing room during the show, to a roller disco to celebrate the first anniversary, to making props for Michael Crawford and appearing in the Evening Standard, to opening a Charity show at the Royal Opera House in the presence of Princess Michael of Kent, to my scrubbing brush bouncing back out of my bucket during the opening of ‘It’s a hard knock life’ and landing in the orchestra pit …… the list just goes on and on.
At twelve it is difficult to fully appreciate just how lucky you are, but as the years go by – (all twenty six of them), I still look back and smile and feel very grateful to Julia Harris’s mum for suggesting that I should try my luck at the open audition, Rosemary Woodd and my teachers at Roshe for giving me the training and courage to do so, the two coach loads of supporters from Roshe who came to see me, and most importantly my Mum and Dad for letting me live the dream and fulfil my ambition to appear in a West End Musical.
Now life brings other new and exciting experiences to look back on, living in East Grinstead with my four year old son Oliver, and partner Louis – one thing is for sure, however, I will never forget my incredible time in Annie’.
In 1985, whilst training with the Roshe School, Liesl became a Royal Ballet Junior Associate. In 1986, she gained entry to the Hammond School, and eventually pursued a career as an actress. Liesl married American actor Mark McKerracher who has appeared in numerous musicals including Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and Evita. In 2004, Liesl appeared in the On your Toes tour of Japan.
Anne, who lived in The Limes in Felbridge, started dancing with the Roshe School in the early 1970’s whilst attending Felbridge Primary School, being accepted at the Royal Ballet (Lower) School in September 1977. She joined the infamous Hot Gossip dance troupe in the mid 1980’s, and appeared in the Peugeot 205 car commercial based on the film characters - Thelma and Louise in the 1990’s. In 1990, she made her debut on screen playing the Scarf Girl in the nightclub scene of Black Hunter White Heart starring Clint Eastwood.
Kimberley was born in Crawley, West Sussex in 1990 and started ballet training at the Roshe School at the age of three. At the age of five she performed her first song and dance routine as Pinocchio in the East Grinstead Music and Arts Festival. Kimberley then expanded her dance training to include modern and tap. She also began to gain stage experience by performing in the various Festivals around the South of England, culminating with Second Prize at the All England Finals held at the Peacock Theatre, Sadlers Wells, performing A cup of tea, song and dance duet with fellow Roshe student Lauren McPherson.
At the age of ten, Kimberley joined Stonelands Theatre School in Hove in East Sussex, a full-time theatre school where she could peruse her academic and dance studies all in one. She went on to win a scholarship to the Sylvia Young’s Theatre School in Marylebone, London, and was successfully accepted to join the Mid-Associates Saturday class at the Royal Ballet School.
Kimberley has appeared as Marge, an orphan, in Annie at the Hawth Theatre in Crawley, in 2001, a workhouse child in Oliver at the Town Hall Theatre, Stourbridge in 2002, and as Marta in the Sound of Music at the Horsham Arts Centre. In 2003 Kimberley appeared in the pantomime Mother Goose at the Chequer Mead Arts Centre and also in 2003, was selected to play the part of Jemima the West End production of Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang.
Juliet trained with the Roshe School before being accepted at the Doreen Bird College of Theatre Dance in 1995. On leaving the Bird College, Juliet joined the cast of the West End production of Miss Saigon and went on to play Aretha Franklin in the national tour of the Blues Brothers, and Mrs Potipher in the tour of Joseph.
Matt was born in 1978 and trained with the Roshe School, studying ‘A’ level psychology, sociology and theatre studies whilst at school. He became joint deputy head pupil between 1991 and 1995, and head pupil between 1995 and 1996. He was accepted at the Doreen Bird College of Theatre Dance in 1996 and over the next three years received a full range of dance training to intermediate standard, joining the Bird Theatre Company in 1999. Matt attained his MA in choreography and continued his academic career with a PhD in choreography. He is currently running an adult improvisation class at the Capital Theatre, Horsham, West Sussex.
After training at the Roshe School, Hannah pursued a career in singing, appearing with the Theatre of Friends in Annie at the Chequer Mead Arts Centre in 2000, and The King and I, at both Chequer Mead and Hawth in 2004.
After completing her training at the Roshe School, Kate joined the Contemporary Dance Theatre in London, becoming a principal c1978/9. In August 2002, she played the part of the Virgin Mary in Robert Cohen’s ballet Stabat Mater with music by Antonio Vivaldi, which was first produced by Cohen in 1975. Kate is currently involved, through the London contemporary Dance Theatre, with the Foundation for Community Dance, who aim is to bring movement and dance to the community.
Charlotte, one of three dancing sisters, started dancing at the Roshe School at the age of four in 1993, when her family moved to England from America, and during her eleven years with the Roshe School she has been lucky enough to be given the chance to take part in a variety of experiences, as well as being involved in a number of events with the school itself. Charlotte’s training at Roshe has also enabled her to partake in many outside performances, the most memorable being selected to perform as a junior soloist with the Southern Youth Ballet, in their production ‘A Winter’s Gala – Scenes from the Ballet’, at the Devonshire Park Theatre in Eastbourne, in 1999. Then in December 2000 Charlotte performed as a junior soloist in the Southern Youth Ballet’s production of Cinderella and in December 2001 as part of the corps de ballet in their production of Coppelia.
The skills that Charlotte has learnt at Roshe have also proved useful while taking roles such as Annie in the production of Annie in April 2000 and Dorothy in the production of The Wizard of Oz in December 2002. Charlotte is hoping to pursue a performing arts career, ideally in West End musicals.
Kristina, born in 1997, has been dancing with the Roshe School since 2000, and was selected to demonstrate Primary Grade Classical Ballet at the ISTD’s Centenary in 2004. Stage appearances include, the Hawth pantomime in 2003 and 2004, and Annie at the Chequer Mead Arts Centre in 2004. Kristina also made her film debut in 2004, appearing in the horror movie Child’s Play Five – Seed of Chucky by Universal Pictures, in which she played the human Glenda, an evil doll in the film.
After training with the Roshe School, June joined the Royal Ballet and appeared in La Sylphide, the two-act ballet with choreography by Filippo Taglioni, in 1974, The Dream, a one-act ballet choreographed by Sir Frederick Ashton, in 1975, and Concerto Barocco, a one-act ballet choreographed by George Ballanchine, and Summertide in 1977. In 1982 and 1983, June appeared with Sadlers Wells in Swan Lake, and in 1984, she appeared in Raymonda, a three-act ballet with choreography by Marius Petipa and Concerto, a one-act ballet choreographed by Sir Kenneth MacMillan and The Dream. Also in 1984, June became a soloist with Sadlers Wells, and a principal in 1988.
In 1990, June joined the Birmingham Royal Ballet, which was an offshoot of the Royal Ballet organisation, being now a fully autonomous company based in Birmingham.
After training with the Roshe School, Kathryn gained entry to the Doreen Bird College of Theatre Dance in 1997. After leaving college she gained employment working as a dancer on the cruise ship the Grand Princess.
After training with the Roshe School, Louisa gained entry to the Doreen Bird College of Theatre Dance in 1997. After leaving the Bird College, Louisa has been working continuously for the Cunard Cruise Lines, being Dance Captain for the last year, and is currently cruising the Amazon.
Sophie won the Junior Dancing Progress Cup at the Roshe in 1988 and the Personality Cup in 1989 and was joint deputy head at the Roshe between 1995 and 1996. In 1997, Sophie gained entry to the Doreen Bird College of Theatre Dance and qualified by becoming an Associate of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (AISTD). Since leaving college she has appeared as Meg in the Phantom of the Opera, in Antwerp and later moving to Hamburg to do the same show. She has also appeared on television in Prisoners of Childhood, and in the stage productions Destination Dance, Graduation Ball, Snoopy, Thickly Whittington, The Wizard of Oz and Cinderella. Sophie currently runs Bastet School of Dance with her sister Jolene.
‘I started Roshe at the age of five in 1967 as a hobby originally as am sure most little girls did, but after getting a taste for being on stage I never looked back. I was at Roshe until the age of sixteen and was very proud to have been the first pupil to have passed my Intermediate RAD before moving on to full-time dance school. In 1977 I left to go to the Doreen Bird College, now just the Bird College. I was there for three years and in 1981 I joined the Ballet Company of the Theater Der Stadt Koblenz in Germany. I was there for four years in which, as well as being part of the Corp de Ballet, I also did many solo parts too. In 1985, I left to come back to the UK to continue my career here but sadly due to many things, including a back problem, I gave up my dance career.
I have now for the past seventeen and a half years been working for the Airlines as cabin crew, firstly with Dan Air and for the last thirteen years with British Airways on longhaul. BA has enabled me to come back to my roots and for the past twelve years I have been performing in the British Airways Pantomime at the Hawth every February. Also for the past few years dancing along side me have been Heather Groom and Susie Brown both working for BA and ex Roshe girls.
I have many wonderful memories of Roshe, all the shows at the Adeline Genée Theatre although my first was Imberhorne School, and of course the fun times at the EG Music and Arts Festival of which we all won loads of cups.
Rosemary, I thank you so much for what you did for me and wish you a wonderful 50 yrs Anniversary, you have an amazing school and you deserve it!’
Dorian trained with the Roshe School whilst completing his academic studies at Sackville School in East Grinstead. In 1983, he appeared in Another Country in the West End, where he played the role of Wharton, along with Miles Griffith, Miles Parsey and Nicholas Irons, and in 1986, he succeeded in getting the main part in the HTV production of Dramarama. In 1988, Dorian was accepted at Chichester College of Drama & Arts, and has since appeared in A Touch of Frost, Inspector Morse and featured in The Bill.
After training with the Roshe School, Emily gained entry to the London Studio Centre, in1992. Emily went on to run the Yew Tree Dance Academy in Tunbridge Wells. Emily, now known as Emily McAllister-Brown, runs the McAllister-Brown Dance School. Based in Tunbridge Wells, the school offers Jazz, Tap, Modern, Ballet, Singing and Drama, including RAD and ISTD syllabus classes. Founded in 2000, it now has over 200 students, and recently performed at The Assembly Halls (Nov 28th 2004), with their latest show "Variety".
Carla trained with the Roshe School becoming joint deputy head between 1995 and 1996. In September 1997, she gained entry to the Doreen Bird College of Theatre Dance. On leaving the Bird College, Carla joined the cast of the West End production of Chicago and is currently touring as one of the lead dancers in the Spirit of the Dance that recently performed at the Hawth Theatre in Crawley.
Nikki trained with the Roshe School before going on to the Doreen Bird College of Theatre Dance between 1978 and 1981. She then had a successful dancing career both here and abroad before taking up teaching in the 1990’s. Since retiring from professional dancing Nikki has choreographed several shows for the Croydon Operatic and Dramatic Association, the Harlequin Community Theatre company of Redhill, the Student Players of Oxted and the East Surrey Operatic Society. Nikki is currently the Principal of Reigate School of Modern Theatre Dance and also teaches ballet at the Reigate School of Ballet and is Head of Dance at the Micklefield School in Reigate, Surrey.
Jo, born in 1982, trained with the Roshe School and in 1996, was awarded ‘Most Outstanding Dance’ in the Premier Class of the Janet Cram Awards. Based in the Docklands, London, Jo spent the early years of her career teaching and competing in dance competitions, modelling and touring the country as a member of various girl bands, appearing on the same bill as artists such as Samantha Mamba and Blue. It was whilst touring that Jo was spotted as the potential final member of a new girl band formed and managed by Simon Webbe from the boy band Blue. Jo has now joined Lareece Ward and Francesca Mitchell in the band called L.A.D.É., the group combining dance and urban music with a sound that will also appeal to the mainstream record buying public.
Jemima, known as Jemma, trained with the Roshe School and began her performing career as a child joining the cast of Annie in the West End in April 1981, and Les Miserable, appearing on both sides of the Atlantic. In 1985, she appeared in the Hovis advert on TV, and in 1986, she appeared in The Little Match Girl on TV. After leaving academic education at Croydon High School for Girls and the Roshe School, Jemma went on to study musical theatre at Mountview Conservatoire, London, 1996. From her early twenties, Jemma has pursued a career as a singer/song writer releasing her first CD, Easy in 2001. She has supported such artists as Jools Holland, Deacon Blue and Bap Kennedy and in 2004, About a Girl was published, this was a book and mini CD of her poetry and song lyrics, she also released her second CD Turn out the Light. For a short period of time Jemma was a member of the band Sacred, but since the late 1990's she has been collaborating with Polish writer and guitarist Mirek Latosek, forming The Jemma Price Band with a new album out in 2010.
Whilst training with the Roshe School, Michelle became a Royal Ballet Junior Associate in 1987. In September1991, she gained entry to the Royal Ballet Upper School. She is currently teaching at Dennard Theatre Arts and Theatre Factory, and is now working towards her Associate Diploma qualification.
After training with the Roshe School, Beth gained entry to the Laine Theatre Arts School in 1984. She has appeared in the Hale and Pace Show, The Big ’ and a St Ivel Gold commercial on television. Theatre credits include, Grosvenor in Radio Times at the Queen’s Theatre, and Simeon’s wife in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the London Palladium. She has also created the part of Her in Romance, Romance at The Gielgud, and been the Swing/Dance Captain in Cats for the UK Tour, and in 1999, played Tantomile in the production of Cats at the New London Theatre. She was also Swing and second Assistant choreographer on the Cats video produced by the Really Useful Group Ltd in 1998.
Claire from Warren Close, Felbridge, started dancing with the Roshe School as ‘a tot’ whilst attending Felbridge Primary School, and at the age of ten was accepted at the Royal Ballet (Lower) School. She then graduated to the senior school and gained experience touring with Sadlers Wells. Whilst in class, Claire was noticed by Danish talent scouts and was offered a contract with the Royal Danish Ballet, Copenhagen, Tivoli, Denmark’s national ballet company. This was the first time that the Danish company had taken non-nationals into its ranks. Denmark has a tradition of court ballet performances dating back to the 16th century, but is was not until the 18th century that a ballet company was established at the Royal Theatre at Kongens Nytorv that opened in 1748 as a stage for music, drama and dance.
By 1989, Claire had become a soloist at the Royal Danish Ballet dancing roles like the Blue Bird pas de deux from Sleeping Beauty, the pas de deux from Jazz, both partnered by Thomas. Claire is currently a principal dancer with the company.
Katy, the older sister of Claire Still, also trained with the Roshe School and went on to study modern, singing and drama at the Laine Theatre of Arts in Epsom, Surrey. After dancing professionally abroad and on cruise ships, Katy retired from performing and opened a dancewear and children’s clothing shop, First Stage, with her husband Stephen Adkin in Sevenoaks, Kent in 1987. They then acquired their second shop at the far end of London Road, East Grinstead, before moving to their present site of 4a High Street, East Grinstead, in 1989. At the time of moving to East Grinstead the Bush Davies School was still operating from Baldwins Hill and there were at least three part-time dance schools, including the Roshe School.
First Stage sells an extensive range of children’s clothing, including well known makes such as Timberland, Osh Kosh, Kenzo and Coco, plus school uniforms for pupils at Fonthill Lodge in East Grinstead. Along side the children’s clothing they stock a full range of dancewear from two years to adult, including: regulation leotards, tights, leggings, satin, leather and split sole ballet shoes, jazz shoes, including split sole, character and tap shoes, ballet bags and accessories, and, by supplying Claire Still with pointe shoes can boast to be suppliers the Royal Danish Ballet.
Todd started his dance training at the Roshe School before gaining entry to the Doreen Bird College of Theatre Dance. Since leaving the Bird College he has worked continuously in the West End, first appearing as Skimbleshanks in Cats, then as Expresso in the Starlight Express, he then appeared in the Pyjama Game, La Traviata, and Music of the Night before going back to Starlight Express as Purse and in 2002, went on to appear in Chicago. Todd has also appeared with Sarah Brightman on her La Luna world tour, and Kylie Minogue in her pop video Spinning Around.
Television credits include An Audience with Lulu, Heineken Night Live, Miss Universe 2000, and Barrymore. Todd has also appeared in commercial fashion shows for Wrangler, Top Shop and Ben Sherman.
Katie started dancing with the Roshe School in 1986 and whilst with the Roshe appeared on Blue Peter performing scenes from Alice in Wonderland in 1996. In 1997, Katie was selected as a member of the National Youth Ballet, dancing in Cinderella for their 10th anniversary with performances at the Ashcroft Theatre, Croydon and Her Majesty’s Theatre, Haymarket. Katie also danced with the London Youth Ballet and gained entry to the London Studio Centre in 1998, but sadly, due to unforeseen family circumstances, had to give up a promising career in dancing shortly after.
Lesley-Ann started dancing at the age of three at the Nancy Robinson School of Dance in Streatham, but due to her family frequently moving around the country her early dance training was fairly disrupted. In 1970, the family moved to Felbridge and Lesley-Ann enrolled at the Audrey Lucking School of Dance in East Grinstead and for the next two years began to catch up on her dance training. Having gone as far as she could with Audrey Lucking, Lesley-Ann joined the Roshe School in 1972, taking her ISTD and RAD Elementary dance qualifications and then her ISTD Intermediate, enabling her to become a student teacher.
Shortly after passing her teaching qualification, Lesley-Ann was put in to run a newly acquired branch of the Roshe, the former Audrey Lucking School of Dance, bought on the retirement of Audrey Lucking. Shortly after the acquisition, Lesley-Ann bought the branch opening it as Coppa School of Dancing, which she continued to run for the next fifteen years. In 1992, due to family commitments, Lesley-Ann decided to retire from teaching dance and Coopa School of Dancing was sold to Kay Ball.
Roshe School, http://www.roshe.demon.co.uk
Oxford Dictionary of Dance by Craine and Mackrell
Show could be basis of Arts Festival, Local Newspaper article, 1967, FHA
New lights at Village Hall, local newspaper article June 1972, FHA
Encore! Encore! EGC article, 4/3/99, FHA
On with their dance, local newspaper article, Sept. 99, FHA
Charlotte is junior soloist in Youth Ballet Gala, local newspaper article, 2/12/99, FHA
Pupils perform in panto, local newspaper article, 8/12/99, FHA
Stage is set to make fantasies come true, EGC article 6/9/01, FHA
Successful year for Roshe girls, local newspaper article, 18/4/02, FHA
Pupils born to dance, EGC, 24/4/03, FHA
School celebrates 50 years of dance, EGC article 10/4/03, FHA
Roshe Programmes, 1963-2003, FHA
East Grinstead Music & Arts Festival Programme, 2004
My thanks go to all the staff and pupils, past and present, who have contributed their biographies, stories and information about the school.