The centre has a very long history with ballet. Before the academy was even established, there was another school called ‘Goldsmiths Ballet School’ which moved places in 1999. From there, Liz Wood took over, starting Goldsmiths Dance Academy. Hundreds of children have taken Royal Academy of Dance accredited ballet examinations over the history of the academy with a 100% success rate. Next year, the Ballet School will be celebrating its 25th year anniversary and a performance is being planned for it.
As the academy continued to grow, Jazz Dance and then Musical Theatre were added. Liz’s first big show with the Musical Theatre group was James Bond in around 2008. After this, Liz did some whole school shows, including ballet students, and also some musicals. I spoke to her about which ones were her favourites and she said these:
There was also a Senior Musical Theatre show called ‘What Happened to Mrs Body?’ in 2016.
Because the Musical Theatre group is no longer as big, shows like these are not as easy to do. However, that doesn't make recent shows any less successful and ambitious. Liz began to do Pantos, which are usually just after Christmas. Goldsmiths Pantos became extremely popular and introduced many new people to the Musical Theatre group, including myself. Some recent pantos are: Saving the Rainbow, 2022; Alice in Wonderland, 2019 and Once Upon a Time, 2017. Alice in Wonderland was a major success, raising around £2,200 for the centre.
Down Memory Lane, in 2021, was the first intergenerational project that Goldsmiths Dance Academy had done, with the Musical Theatre Group collaborating with Bring Me Sunshine to create this cabaret exploring entertainment history in Britain.
Then, after the two groups decided they would like to collaborate again, they performed Jubilee Jive in 2022 for Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee. This was the first Arts Council England funded show that had been done, which meant live musicians could be paid for it. These intergenerational performances were extremely positive for both the young and old members of the cast and had a very uplifting effect on the community, especially after the hardship of the COVID-19 lockdowns.
Guest post by Claudia Griffiths for work experience