Millfield dancers achieve top GCSE grades this year

Millfield dancers achieve top GCSE grades this year

Three Millfield students have gained top grades in the school’s first set of Dance GCSE results.

Bo Edwards, Naphat Rodsawaeng and Ilaria De Neiva Konig all achieved 9s, equivalent to an A*.

Tanya Hammoudeh and Narissara Chaiyarat both achieved a 6 and 5 respectively, equivalent to B grades.

The results come at a time when participation in creative arts subjects in schools is at an all-time low nationally and bodies representing the creative industries are calling for urgent action to be taken to put dance, drama and music in the spotlight. Millfield launched GCSE Dance in 2020, led by Director of Dance and Drama Rhian Fox.

Bo, a dance scholar and boarder, who came to Millfield specifically to dance, joined in Year 9. Bo is from Martock, Somerset, and is going on to study Geography, German and Economics in Sixth Form. 

As well as being an outstanding dancer, Naphat is a keen mathematician and scientist. The boarder, from Thailand, will be studying Chemistry, Further Maths and Biology in Sixth Form. Bo and Naphat dance six days a week & are part of Millfield’s gifted and talented dance group ‘Aspire’.

Ilaria, a day student from Shepton Mallet, Somerset, who joined Millfield in Year 10, is also a national silver medal gymnast. She attends Millfield specifically for the dance programme and is a member of the school’s dance company as well as studying ballet and modern dance.

Narissara, a day student from Keinton Mandeville, Somerset, who joined in Year 9 from Thailand, didn’t speak any English when she arrived. She spent lockdowns in Thailand and attended online lessons despite the different time zone. Narissara enjoys dance alongside sport including badminton. 

Tanya, a boarder from Jordan, is a street dancer and had not danced before she joined Millfield in Year 9. 

The Dance GCSE exam includes a written exam on six set works, choreography of a dance based on a stimulus set by the exam board and two performances which are video assessed.

Millfield’s dancers include Upper Sixth Noah Miller, an accomplished dancer, athlete, rugby player and musician, who will be representing the student body at Millfield this autumn term as Captain of School.

Rhian Fox said: “I am delighted with our first set of Dance grades. It’s been a real joy to see their dance understanding and ability develop into imaginative, authentic and expressive movement work. The combination of performance skills, choreographic study and written analysis required for GCSE Dance requires real commitment in the classroom and the studio, and this groups’ achievements in all aspects of dance reflect their hard work and efforts across the two years.”

GCSE Dance is part of the extensive dance programme at Millfield. More than 100 students take part in dance at Millfield, with over 35 classes throughout the week in Contemporary Dance, Classical Ballet, Urban Dance, Jazz, Choreography and Musical Theatre. Emphasis is placed on technical, creative and expressive skills across the genres, delivered by a team of six specialist teachers and coaches.

In all disciplines, lessons range from beginners to advance level and the wide choice of sessions ensures students of all standards are catered for. Dancers study the innovative Rambert Contemporary Dance Grades and Royal Academy of Dance ballet grades from Grade 5 to Advanced level. Students can audition to become part of one of the elite dance companies, with full time dancers taking up to 12 classes per week. ‘Aspire’, a group for dancers with a shared ambition to continue study or pursue a career in dance, provides a vocational level pathway.

The annual dance show showcases the work of all students in the dance programme, with over 1,000 parents, staff and students attending the shows which run for four nights and has evolved as one of the most popular events in the school calendar. This is supported by a range of performance opportunities throughout the year, including regular ‘Tea and Dance’, collaborative projects with the drama and music departments and a ballet show. Regular workshops with professional choreographers and companies provide insight and inspiration into the world of dance.

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