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.

2014 Awardee: Pierce Meehan

Without my degree I am unable to receive the training that I require to become the best dance artist I can be.

Biography

Hailing from Dumbartonshire, Pierce worked a number of jobs to support himself through his education.  Whilst studying as an undergraduate, he made the courageous decision to leave university and follow his calling in dance. He went on to complete a two year course at Glasgow Clyde College and gained a place to study a dance degree programme at the London Studio Centre. His ambition is to perform in the West End.

Pierce has the combination of talent, passion and determination necessary to pursue a career in his chosen field, and has even hosted his own fundraising events to support his studies. However, without additional support he found he would be unable to complete his degree.

How the Award Helped

Pierce received a Dewar Award to help him complete his undergraduate studies in Theatre Dance.

Without my degree I am unable to receive the training that I require to become the best dance artist I can be.

2014 Awardee: Chloe McClean

My passion for highland dance is not only with the actual performance but also in its rich history. When I look into my future I cannot imagine a life without dance.

Biography

Hailing from Edinburgh, Chloe is an ambitious and dedicated highland dancer.  Her exceptional talent and natural ability has earned her many championship titles including United Kingdom Champion (two years running), East of Scotland Champion (three times), West of Scotland Champion, North of Scotland Champion and All England Champion.  In 2013, she was the only Scottish dancer from her age division to qualify for the Word Highland Dancing Championships, putting her in the top 20 dancers aged under 16 in the world.

Chloe has a passion for the origins of highland dance, and the associated legends and stories. She hopes to one day establish her own dance school and instill the passion and pride she has for the heritage of highland dance in future generations of dancers.

How the Award Helped

Chloe’s award enabled her to continue training and competing in traditional Scottish dance.

My passion for highland dance is not only with the actual performance but also in its rich history. When I look into my future I cannot imagine a life without dance.

2013 Awardee: Nadina Valenti

I am thrilled to have won a place at "Central School of Ballet" where I can develop my full potential. This would not be possible without the invaluable support from the Dewar Awards. Thank you.

Biography

Nadina is a very gifted and dedicated young dancer with exceptional talent. She started ballet lessons in her hometown of Wemyss Bay at the age of three, and in 2008 she was offered a place at the Scottish Ballet as a Junior Associate.  She went on to achieve a place at the Dance School of Scotland in Glasgow.

During her time at the Dance School she gained distinctions in all her vocational ballet exams, won a Scholarship and Commendation at Dance Summer Schools and achieved a place as a semi-finalist at the Royal Academy of Dance Genée International Ballet Competition 2013.  She also featured in the Dance School’s annual performances in the Kings Theatre and Theatre Royal Glasgow.

In 2013 Nadina successfully auditioned for the prestigious Central School of Ballet in London, gaining a place on their BA(Hons) course in Professional Dance and Performance.

How the Award Helped

Nadina received a Dewar Arts Award to support her studies at the Central School of Ballet.

I am thrilled to have won a place at "Central School of Ballet" where I can develop my full potential. This would not be possible without the invaluable support from the Dewar Awards. Thank you.

2013 Awardee: Karen Walker

Dewar Awards literally changed my life. I will be eternally grateful for this opportunity and I will continue to work hard to ensure that one day my dream of performing in a West End musical is not my ultimate goal but my reality.

Biography

Haling from Glasgow, Karen started her dance training at the age of three and studied jazz and tap, developing a growing passion for stage musicals such as Chicago and Hairspray.  At 16 Karen decided she wanted to make dance her profession and began to take lessons in ballet.  She enrolled at the Anniesland College to study dance, keeping up a number of jobs in the meantime to support herself.  This allowed her to train in a variety of additional disciplines, including contemporary dance, singing and choreography.  She became an active member of the Glasgow dance community, not only by attending workshops and masterclasses to enhance her training, but also by working with and inspiring other dancers.

Through hard work, talent and determination Karen achieved a place on the BA Hons in Theatre Dance at the London Studio Centre, offering her an opportunity to further develop her technique and experience to the level necessary to achieve her ambitions. Karen’s financial circumstances proved a hindrance to accepting the place, and so she applied for a Dewar Arts Award with a glowing recommendation from her tutors.

Karen is described as having outstanding focus, natural ability and musicality with a sense of style that conveys emotion and passion. She is driven to achieve her ambition of performing on stage in London’s West End.

How the Award Helped

Karen received a Dewar Arts Award to support her dance training at the London Studio Centre.

Since the Award

March 2014 – Karen competed against the whole of her college to take part in Move It 2014, and was one of only four second year students to successfully gain a place.  See video below.

Dewar Awards literally changed my life. I will be eternally grateful for this opportunity and I will continue to work hard to ensure that one day my dream of performing in a West End musical is not my ultimate goal but my reality.

2012 Awardee: Gavin McCaig

The award has been invaluable for me. Without the support of Dewar Awards I would have been unable to complete my 3 years at ENB School.

Biography

Originally from Motherwell, Gavin moved to Glasgow at the age of 12 to take up a vocational place at The Dance School of Scotland.  Four years later, he received a scholarship to study at the English National Ballet School.

Since then he has performed frequently, including excerpts from Soireé Musicales and Romeo & Juliet. He has also worked part-time with the Dance School at the Royal Academy of Dance.

Gavin was awarded a scholarship to attend the Prague Masterclasses run by Daria Klimentova, where he won the Boy’s Prize at the end of his first week.  He recently undertook a placement with the Scottish Ballet, performing as part of the company for Christopher Hampson’s new Hansel and Gretel.

Gavin is looking forward to his graduation performances in July 2014 and is eager to begin his professional career.  He hopes to secure a contract with a company in the UK or elsewhere in Europe.

How the Award Helped

Gavin’s award supported him in his studies at the English National Ballet School.

Since the Award

2014: Gavin gained and accepted a contract from the Northern Ballet. He will tour the UK with them from July with some very exciting rep!

The award has been invaluable for me. Without the support of Dewar Awards I would have been unable to complete my 3 years at ENB School.

2012 Awardee: Chrissie Ardill

The Dewar Arts Award has allowed me to take full advantage of my place on the DEBS scheme at Dance Base in Edinburgh and develop my technical dance skills as well as gaining further opportunities to choreograph and perform.

Biography

Originally from Kilkenny, Ireland, Chrissie moved to Glasgow in 2007 to study dance full time.  Alongside her studies, she took advantage of every opportunity to engage in the Scottish dance scene, teaching freelance and choreographing new work.

Sadly, during her time in Scotland, Chrissie’s mother died.  This added significantly to Chrissie’s personal and financial challenges, but she remained determined to succeed in her chosen career.  She proved herself to be an exciting new talent and was awarded a scholarship place on the Dancers Emerging Bursary Scheme (DEBS) at Dance Base in Edinburgh.  This would allow her to receive professional dance classes and mentoring, as well as opportunities for networking and residencies.

A strong dancer with choreography skills that demonstrate “engaging and intelligent lines of enquiry”, Chrissie has been featured in the BBC Alba series ‘Danssa‘ as well as having a duet she choreographed entitled ‘Mangled’ (see below) tour across the UK.

How the Award Helped

The cost of travel between Glasgow and Edinburgh proved prohibitive for Chrissie in accepting her place at Dance Base. Her Dewar Award funded the travel between the two cities, allowing her to make the most of the opportunities offered to develop her skills and further her ambitions.

‘Mangled’ – Choreographed by Chrissie Ardil and performed by Underhand Dance Company

The Dewar Arts Award has allowed me to take full advantage of my place on the DEBS scheme at Dance Base in Edinburgh and develop my technical dance skills as well as gaining further opportunities to choreograph and perform.