2019 Awardee: Kirsty Craig

"I am truly grateful to the Dewar Arts Awards for their tremendous generosity. Their belief and support has enabled me to take the next step in my career and fulfil my potential at a prestigious training establishment. From the bottom of my heart, thank you."

Biography

Kirsty Craig grew up in Glasgow and is a passionate dancer with strong determination.

Kirsty began attending The Studio in the West End of Glasgow in 2007 and continued through to her Award in 2019. During this time, Kirsty danced lead roles and achieved exceptional marks in her examinations, up to and including the Advanced 2 vocational Cecchetti Classical Ballet exam. She also worked towards her teaching Diploma in Dance Education (accredited by the ISTD).

From 2016 to 2019, Kirsty attended Dance Studio Scotland at Anniesland College and achieved an A grade in her HND Dance Artists course. Her versatility and skillset were broadened, including jazz, tap, contemporary and choreography skills. She also began tuition in singing and acting, enabling her to be a multi-faceted performer in preparation for auditions.

Alongside her many dancing commitments, Kirsty sustained a part-time job in retail to help her save money. A keen student, Kirsty was Head Girl at school and achieved 5 As in her Highers. She has also taken part in volunteering, completed both the Duke of Edinburgh Award and the Youth Philanthropy Initiative, and raised thousands of pounds for charity.

In Spring of 2019, Kirsty successfully auditioned for a competitive BA (Hons) Professional Dance and Musical Theatre course at Bird College in London. The panel (including the Principal and Artistic Director) were so impressed, she was offered a place on the day, without waiting the customary three-week period to hear an outcome.

Bird College offers excellent performance opportunities, world class facilities and leading industry professionals who equip their students with a plethora of skills and connections with the industry. Through studying at Bird College, Kirsty aims to achieve her dream of becoming a professional performer.

How the Award Helped

Due to the intense financial demands of studying in London, Kirsty applied for grants to alleviate the pressure. Without the help of the Dewar Arts Award and her teachers in Scotland, Kirsty says she would not have been able to train at her dream college.

"I am truly grateful to the Dewar Arts Awards for their tremendous generosity. Their belief and support has enabled me to take the next step in my career and fulfil my potential at a prestigious training establishment. From the bottom of my heart, thank you."

2019 Awardee: Karah Pollock

"The Dewar Award has afforded Karah the opportunity to pursue her dream, an opportunity that would not otherwise have been available to her"

Biography

Born in Glasgow in 2002, Karah started her dance career in competitive freestyle at the tender age of three.   Showing a natural flair and talent from the outset, Karah won every major title she set her sights on throughout an impressive ten-year career.  She was scouted to participate in a Channel 4 documentary following her dance lifestyle.

Karah retired from competitive freestyle to pursue a dance education at the prestigious Dance School of Scotland, and after a successful audition was one of only nine students selected from thousands of auditionees to attend.

While at the Dance School of Scotland, Karah gained Adv 1 Ballet and Adv 1 Modern with Distinction.  She also earned the opportunity to tour Scotland with Scottish Ballet and was the youngest inductee of their Youth Exchange Programme touring New York and performing in the Joyce Theatre.

Karah then auditioned for the best Dance and Musical Theatre Colleges in the UK and was accepted for both Laine Theatre arts and the Urdang Academy.

How the Award Helped

Karah decided to continue her technical training at the Urdang Academy. She received a Dewar Award to support her studies on the BA (Hons) course in Musical Theatre and Dance.

"The Dewar Award has afforded Karah the opportunity to pursue her dream, an opportunity that would not otherwise have been available to her"

2019 Awardee: Jennifer Bruce

"Receiving this award has allowed me to study at my dream school Bird College...This truly does mean the world to me"

Biography

Jennifer became interested in the performing arts from a young age and began dance lessons when she was 5.  While at high school, she sought out additional opportunities to build her dance/performance skill set, and in 2014 successfully auditioned for the Scottish Ballet Youth Exchange with Singapore School of the Arts.

Continuing to improve her skills, Jennifer gained a place in the National Youth Dance Company of Scotland. This  allowed her to find her own artistry and confidence with improvisation, as well as performing internationally. Jennifer performed in India for the International Dance Bridges Festival, Australia with Yellowwheel Dance Company, and Groupe Grenade in Marseille, France.

Jennifer also expressed an interest in musical theatre, and in 2013 she had chance to perform as part of the Tom Daniels Musicals ensemble in Scotland’s Young Variety Show, followed by their annual musical production and Christmas show. She continued with singing lessons and annual showcases.

In June 2019, Jennifer completed her HND Dance Artists from Glasgow Clyde College. She went on to gain a place on the BA (Hons) in Professional Dance and Musical Theatre at Bird College, one of the top schools in the UK to study the performing arts. This brought her another step closer to her dream of being a professional performer.

Jennifer loves the freedom of expression and escapism that performance provides, allowing her ‘to be anyone, anywhere at any time’ and share this with an audience.

How the Award Helped

Jennifer received a Dewar Arts Award to support her studies at Bird College, as well as helping her to buy necessary equipment including character shoes for singing and musical theatre classes, pointe shoes for ballet, and additional uniform and study materials.

"Receiving this award has allowed me to study at my dream school Bird College...This truly does mean the world to me"

2017 Awardee: Rory Swietlicki

"I am extremely grateful to the Dewar Arts Award for enabling me to attend the Central School of Ballet, and setting me on the path to gaining the experience and training to hopefully fulfil my dream of becoming a professional dancer."

Biography

Rory began dancing at a very young age, and has always shown passion, strong focus, and commitment to developing his skills to the highest level.

At age 12, Rory took part in a competitive audition process and gained a place at the prestigious Dance School of Scotland.  During his time at the school he was awarded the Progress Prize, took part in the school’s choreography performances, and performed in end of year shows at the Theatre Royal, Glasgow and The Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. In 2013 he successfully auditioned for a part in Scottish Ballet’s production of Hansel & Gretel.   At the age of 16, Rory gained his RAD Advanced 1 (Ballet), ISTD Advanced 2 (National Dance), and ISTD Intermediate (Modern Dance) certificates.

In 2016, Rory was offered a place on the Scottish Ballet’s Youth Exchange Programme, where he attended weekly classes and workshops at Scottish Ballet.  This took much dedication and commitment as he took part in this alongside his dance school classes and studying for his National 5 exams.

Rory travelled to New York with the Youth Exchange group to collaborate with students from TISCH School of The Arts at New York University.  While there he had the opportunity to take classes at New York City Ballet.

At age 16, Rory competed against students from the UK and abroad for a place to study at the prestigious Central School of Ballet, London.  He was proud to be the only student in his year achieve this, and accepted a place on the BA (Hons) in Professional Dance and Performance.

How the Award Helped

Rory’s Award supported him in attending the Central School of Ballet, and pursuing his chosen career.

"I am extremely grateful to the Dewar Arts Award for enabling me to attend the Central School of Ballet, and setting me on the path to gaining the experience and training to hopefully fulfil my dream of becoming a professional dancer."

2016 Awardee: Petre Dobre

"To put it simply, this award has totally changed my life."

Biography

Petre was born, raised and schooled in Craiova, southern Romania. Whilst at school he developed a love for performance including physical theatre, comedic mime and dance.

Petre joined the school dance group, No Limits, and over a six year period entered multiple competitions and toured both nationally and internationally. The group appeared on numerous TV shows including Romania’s Got Talent, fuelling Petre’s desire to become a professional performer.

Petre lost his hearing as a young child.  Through contact with Glasgow’s Solar Bear Theatre company, he discovered the new course for deaf actors being launched at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in 2015. With no possibility of vocational performance training for the deaf in Romania, and finding an affinity to the city of Glasgow, . Petre became determined to gain a place on the ground-breaking BA Performance in BSL and English, and set about learning British Sign Language.

After a short audition process he was successfully accepted into the first cohort of the at the RCS, which opened his eyes to the wealth of disciplines and possibilities available in performance. As part of the programme, he was involved in the multi-media presentation ‘Dream On’ at Glasgow University celebrating Shakespeare 400, as well as acting in short films and several plays.

Petre’s dream for the future is to perform in theatre and film. He plans to be based in Scotland – his new home – and to combine his experience of dance and movement with new skills learned at the RCS. He aims to explore new visual theatrical forms of storytelling involving sign language and sign poetry, and to perform internationally.

How the Award Helped

This Award allowed Petre to continue his studies at the RCS, and to fully focus on his ambitions to become a performer. Without this support, he would have struggled to afford to stay in Glasgow and finish his degree.

Petre feels that, as a deaf actor, the opportunities that he has been able to access at the RCS have been exceptional, allowing him to develop skills and experience that he could not have achieved elsewhere. To put it simply, he says. this award has totally changed his life.

"To put it simply, this award has totally changed my life."

2016 Awardee: Harvey Littlefield

"I am extremely grateful to the trustees and all those who have believed in me. Without this award I may not have been able to continue to explore and develop to become the dancer I dream of being. I shall strive to work hard and embrace every moment."

Biography

Growing up in Glasgow, with both parents working in the arts, Harvey was never under any illusions about the dedication needed to pursue a career in ballet. He knew it could be brutal and exhausting, requiring total commitment and focus, but also how fantastic and rewarding this profession could potentially be.

At age 10, Harvey joined Scottish Ballet Junior Associates, where he was first inspired to focus on ballet. He then moved to the Dance School of Scotland, where he graduated in 2016 receiving the Outstanding Achievement Award.

In 2015, Harvey was one of around 200 young people throughout the world to apply to The English National Ballet School. He attended the summer school, and was offered a final audition without having to complete the preliminary stage. He successfully gained a place and became one of only two British boys in his year.

Harvey and his family are incredibly proud of his achievements to date, and feel he could not have done this without the support and commitment from his initial teachers in Scotland.  His ambition is to become a principle dancer in a ballet company, performing the well-loved classical ballets as well as new and exciting works.

How the Award Helped

Harvey’s Award assisted him in his further training, enabling him to build on the opportunities he received in Glasgow, and take him closer to achieving his dream.

"I am extremely grateful to the trustees and all those who have believed in me. Without this award I may not have been able to continue to explore and develop to become the dancer I dream of being. I shall strive to work hard and embrace every moment."

2016 Awardee: Robyn Casey

"Without the great help from Dewar Arts Awards I would not have the immense pleasure of being able to pursue this course. When I am at the pinnacle of my career I will be proud to be able to say that Dewar Arts Awards helped me get there.”

Biography

Hailing from Alexandria, Robyn began studying jazz, tap and ballet dancing at just two years of age. Her dream became to perform in one of her favourite musical theatre shows in the West End.

At the age of 17, Robyn joined Anniesland College to study an HND in Dance. This opened her eyes to other styles of dance as well as choreography.  She went on to audition for the BA Hons in Theatre Dance at London Studio Centre, and was successful in gaining a place.

In order to fundraise for her studies, Robyn taught regular classes in jazz and contemporary dance whilst in Glasgow.  She then supported herself through her first year by working in a local pub. This proved challenging, as she would finish college, work until 2am and then be up at 6:30am for her first class the next day.  The second year was set to be even more physically demanding, and so Robyn applied to the Dewar Arts Awards for financial assistance.

How the Award Helped

Robyn’s Dewar Award enabled her to continue her studies without financial pressure, allowing her to fully apply herself to achieving her ambitions.

"Without the great help from Dewar Arts Awards I would not have the immense pleasure of being able to pursue this course. When I am at the pinnacle of my career I will be proud to be able to say that Dewar Arts Awards helped me get there.”

2015 Awardee: Scot Baldie

The award that I received from the trust was invaluable in allowing me to commence with my training at the Central School of Ballet...I would like to take this opportunity to thank the trust for my award.

Biography

Born and brought up in Glasgow, Scot joined the Dance School of Scotland in 2011, having never had a dance lesson in his life.  Whilst there he performed in the Scottish Ballet’s staging of Hansel and Gretel as well as in venues such as the King’s Theatre, the Theatre Royal and the Royal Concert Hall.

After just three and a half years at the Dance School he audiitioned for the Central School of Ballet in London.  He was successful, and became the only member of his year group to gain a place at this prestigious institution.

Scot has natural movement, co-ordination and stamina, which has enabled him to develop an outstanding technique in a short time. Coupled with his dedicated work ethic, Scot demonstrates the qualities necessary to achieve at the highest level.

How the Award Helped

Scot’s Award enabled him to attend the Central School of Ballet and continue to develop his talents.

The award that I received from the trust was invaluable in allowing me to commence with my training at the Central School of Ballet...I would like to take this opportunity to thank the trust for my award.

2015 Awardee: Lewis Normand

“The Dewar Award allowed me to study and network in Amsterdam...This provided an extremely valuable context for my work as a performer and a choreographer."

Biography

Lewis Normand is an intelligent, dedicated and exceptionally talented dancer.

Growing up in rural North East Scotland, Lewis describes his household as playful and creative, in spite of challenging financial circumstances.  “My family’s appreciation of and play in nature, my experience of fewer material things, and my growing up in Scotland is part of me; a driving force, a connection to other people and part of my inspiration.”

It wasn’t until Lewis was 15 that the family moved to Edinburgh and he began to study dance.  However, in just a few short months he had become proficient in his Advanced/Professional Level Contemporary Dance class. Whilst studying for a BTEC in dance he attended nine hours a week of extra classes, which he paid for with his Education Maintenance Allowance.

Lewis went on to gain a place to study at the Royal Conservatoire of Dance.  Whilst there he performed with the Scottish Ballet’s education tour and received the Program Prize for Modern Ballet as well as the Veronica Bruce Trust Award. He graduated in 2014 with a BA in Modern Ballet.

As a professional dancer, Lewis has performed with David Hughes Dance, Errol White Company and the Scottish Opera. He choreographed and performed in Dreamland Theatre’s first production, introducing French song and classical dance to children, and completed a Choreographic Residency at Dance Base.

How the Award Helped

Lewis received a Dewar Arts Award to enable him to attend a month-long training and information-gathering opportunity at the Henny Jurriens Dance and Choreography Intensive in Amsterdam.

The event brings together international teachers and performers of the highest quality and provides an intense learning opportunity, allowing Lewis to explore how his classical training sits in a context of international contemporary work.

Glory on Earth

Credits: Head shot Tania Gardener. Dance shots Erik De Roij Photography.

“The Dewar Award allowed me to study and network in Amsterdam...This provided an extremely valuable context for my work as a performer and a choreographer."

2014 Awardee: Amy McEntee

I hope to have the opportunity to inspire and support other young Scottish dancers to pursue a career in professional dance.

Biography

Amy has lived in Scotland all her life.  She began ballet lessons at the age of six, and four years later became a Scottish Ballet Junior Associate.  In 2010 she successfully auditioned for the Dance School of Scotland in Glasgow and began her vocational training.

Whilst in Glasgow, Amy achieved distinction in all her exams in ballet, national and modern dance.  She also studied tap, contemporary and choregraphy alongside sitting her National 5 exams. She gained performance experience in competitions and showcases at key Glasgow venues including the King’s Theatre and the Royal Concert Hall, and represented the Dance School of Scotland at a range of events.

In 2014, aged just 15, Amy secured a place on the BA (Hons) in Professional Dance and Performance at the prestigious Central School of Ballet in London.

How the Award Helped

Amy received a Dewar Award to enable her to study at the Central School of Ballet. She hopes to dance with the school’s touring company, Ballet Central, and to eventually dance for her national company, the Scottish Ballet.

I hope to have the opportunity to inspire and support other young Scottish dancers to pursue a career in professional dance.