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Graduate Testimonials

Liam Francis
Liam graduated from London Studio Centre with a First Class BA (Hons) in Theatre Dance, winning the award for Outstanding Performance with INTOTO Dance. He has been member of Rambert Dance Company since July 2014.

Liam Francis in Rambert's Dark Arteries. Photography © Eric Richmond
Rambert's Dark Arteries. Photography © Eric Richmond

From a young age I was lucky enough to work with ZooNation Dance Company. Here I was surrounded by an abundance of incredible dancers, many of whom trained at London Studio Centre. It was the sheer versatility of these performers that sparked my interest in the school. When the time came I chose London Studio Centre as it showed promise in allowing me to enhance a large array of skills, rather than focusing solely on one dance genre.

Having only trained in hip-hop prior to attending LSC, I felt I had more work to do than the other students in my year at developing a solid technical understanding of ballet, jazz and contemporary. During my three years, my dedication and determination was only ever met or enhanced by the teaching staff at LSC, who nurtured and encouraged my urge to learn. In my second year at LSC I decided, via the option system, to alter my timetable so it focused more heavily on contemporary dance techniques. Due to the nature of the course I was able to do this without sacrificing the development of my other dance techniques.

Something I love about LSC is the great array of dance related projects and activities it offers. Before my third year, I had directed a short film, twice collaborated with art students to create new works and had numerous opportunities to choreograph and perform. Not only did these opportunities encourage me to explore and expand my love for creating, but as a graduate I am still continue to benefit from the contacts and knowledge I gained.

At LSC, students are encouraged to make individual decisions that mean their journey through the school is an individual one. The decision I treasure the most would be my choice to join INTOTO Dance in my third year. Originally I was torn between third year companies as I had far more experience in hip-hop and commercial dance, for example having performed alongside Joe McElderry, LMFAO, JLS, on The X Factor and for Adidas, as well as being Resident Director for ZooNation’s Groove on Down the Road at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. However, the emphasis I chose to place on contemporary dance during my first and second year meant I felt well equipped for a year in LSC’s contemporary dance company. Being part of INTOTO is one of my fondest memories of LSC and it is only with hindsight that I can appreciate the true value of INTOTO. Upon graduating I joined Rambert Dance Company as an apprentice, placing me right in the midst of some incredible and experienced dancers. I expected the company environment, creation processes, touring and overall nature of a professional company to be intimidating and overwhelming, but due to my experience with INTOTO this was not the case. I felt confident and prepared because my third year company provided me with the right experiences, tools and knowledge.

Overall, the dancers of whom I am still in awe, the choreographers and directors I have worked for and the new dancers, writers and creators I am yet to meet are all part of the London Studio Centre journey I can so proudly say I am part of. The vast influence of London Studio Centre, which spans far and past all realms of dance and theatre, is a true reflection of the eclectic and open-minded person and performer it offers every student the chance to become.

Bekka Bowling
Graduated in 2007 in BA (Hons) Theatre Dance. Winner of the Sheila O’Neill Award for achievement in music theatre over three years, and the Tom Merrifield Award for the triple threat student with the most potential to succeed

Bekka Bowling in Edge of Heaven
Bekka Bowling in Edge of Heaven

Bekka was a member of Seedtime 2007, and worked in musical theatre before pursuing her dreams of TV comedy acting and writing. She spoke about her inspirations while at LSC and her career so far.

After graduating from Seedtime in 2007 I dabbled in musical theatre for a year or so and did a couple of European tours, but deep down I knew it wasn't for me – I wanted to be doing my own thing on my own terms and making people laugh, not standing in the chorus like a clone. I'd had a taste throughout my second year, and again in Seedtime, of being cast as quirky, comical characters who stood out from the crowd and I had the comedy bug – I honestly think that if it hadn’t have been for those experiences, I wouldn’t be doing what I am now.

I finally took the plunge in 2011 and tried my hand at stand-up comedy, entering the annual ‘Funny Women’ competition, and somehow came runner-up! Off the back of that, I was then fortunate enough to be signed up by one of the best comedy acting agencies in the UK and I now work in television as a comedy actress.

My first job was a bit part in Not Going Out and since then I have gone on to work in lots of lovely sitcoms and dramas, including Heading Out, The Wrong Mans, Medics, Edge of Heaven, Britain Unzipped, Switch and The Smoke. Recently I completed my first film – The Phonecall – alongside Sally Hawkins and Jim Broadbent. I have also been fortunate enough to do commercials for the likes of Lucky Charms, Go Compare, KFC, PG Tips, Carphone Warehouse, Toblerone and Pepsi and as well as silly hidden camera shows such as Richard Hammond’s Secret Service and National Jokers, which were both a real adrenaline rush. I also have a special voiceover agent who helps me get voiceover work, and my somewhat nasal tones have graced various campaigns and TV shows.

I am also a keen writer, and have written a sitcom that has just been optioned by Hat Trick Productions – which is really, really exciting!!

I was truly inspired at LSC by Jane Atkinson, who helped me so much and got me interested in acting; by Jane Elson, whose drama improv class was so fantastic; by the legendary Clare Calder and brilliant Susan Raasay; and, of course, by the amazing Ian Dewar who was the one who told me I could do it!

I feel incredibly grateful for my time at LSC and for what everyone there has done for me in preparing me to go on and live my dream.

Jye Frasca

Jye Frasca, Stanley in Kaufman's Game
Jye Frasca, Stanley in Kaufman's Game

Jye has had an extensive career in the West End after studying at London Studio Centre, and is now in a new phase of his career working in the film industry, as well as returning to LSC as a teacher in Jazz Theatre Dance. He spoke about his experiences and the role of LSC in shaping his career:

I auditioned for London Studio Centre in my native Australia at the age of 15, joining the college a year later in 1997. While I was in my first year, I was privileged to be asked to join the Seedtime production of Hair, eventually taking over the part of Claude when the original cast member left to take on a role in the West End’s Jesus Christ Superstar.

This turned out to be the launch of my career: I was signed up by an agent and was offered a role in the Prince Edward Theatre’s revival of West Side Story – my first West End role!

From then, I performed in a whole range of West End productions: as Pepper in Mamma Mia; as Carbucketty and Mr Mistoffelees in Cats; the National Theatre’s Anything Goes and Love’s Labour’s Lost, directed by Trevor Nunn; We Will Rock You; the original casts of Mary Poppins and Wicked; and as Joe Pesci and Frankie Valli in the original cast of Jersey Boys. I also starred in the off-West End production of Thrill Me – which later transferred to the West End – for which I was nominated for Best Actor at the 2012 Offies.

Over the last couple of years, my career has taken a turn in a different direction, into film: I’ve played the lead in Kaufman’s Game alongside Amy Pemberton (star of Rock of Ages and Storage 24), as well as in a short film Reality Mine, based on Harold Pinter’s One for the Road. On stage I’ve also moved into acting, performing in Fiesta (The Sun Also Rises), an adaptation of Ernest Hemingway’s novel at Trafalgar Studios.

This transfer to film was only possible because of the kind of training that LSC provides. Luke Evans was also in my year group, and he has made a similar move from West End musicals to movies. There’s a risk in this industry that you can become boxed into one career, but it doesn’t have to be like that – LSC’s training makes this possible.

London Studio Centre definitely nurtures this ‘triple threat’ training – you really do get the opportunity to do absolutely everything. I wasn’t at the college long enough to join a third year company, but I would have opted for musical theatre. When I was younger I loved dancing, but I also enjoyed singing and acting: LSC nurtures all three talents, so it was the perfect fit for me.

The move into film work also allowed space to do more teaching. I’d guest-taught throughout my career, but without the pressure and vocal demands of eight shows a week, it’s easier now. Teaching at LSC feels like coming home; it’s great to be able to give something back, and I find joy in passing on more than 12 years’ worth of knowledge to the students. I know what it’s like to be going into the industry at that kind of age. My pre-training took place practically in a tin shed down a dirt track in Australia – and that’s not an exaggeration! – and if I can achieve what I have from those beginnings, I can inspire the students to go after their dreams. Technique and training is important, but passion and drive is what makes anything achievable.

Ryan-Lee Seager
Graduated in 2012 in BA(Hons) Theatre Dance - Winner of the Tom Merrifield award for the triple threat/most likely to succeed

Ryan-Lee Seager, Spring Awakening (Moritz Stiefel)
Ryan-Lee Seager, Spring Awakening (Moritz Stiefel)

One of the highlights of LSC is that you choose your timetable around what you want to do in your career – so instead of it being a straight dance or musical theatre course, you can do whatever you want. I chose my entire timetable around musical theatre and picked commercial dance classes as options, while taking part in ballet and jazz technique every day.

The 3rd year is another reason I chose LSC, as you get to choose which company you want to go into for your final year. I chose Seedtime, led by the amazing Matthew Shaw. I learnt so much during my year with Seedtime, and everything started to click. We took part in some inspirational West End workshops and classes in TV acting and acting through song; we were also lucky enough to work with Broadway and American stars who came in and taught us.

Now that I have graduated from LSC, I have a good understanding of the professional world. I have been lucky enough to work in a variety of areas in the industry, including commercial work dancing on The X Factor and with Justin Bieber, Pixie Lott and Paolo Nutini. I also love to choreograph and last year alone I choreographed three musicals (Streets, Another Way and Kiss Me Kate). The musicals have been great successes and have been nominated for 12 awards in total. I have also choreographed for BMW, Sky and for musical theatre composer Scott Alan. My next adventure is the Fame UK Tour 2014.

I am so proud that I trained at London Studio Centre and of who taught me. I wouldn’t be as versatile as I am now if I hadn’t gone to LSC – so thank you to London Studio Centre and Seedtime, for making me the best I could be!

Benjamin Warbis
Graduated in 2009 with a First Class Honours in BA(Hons) Theatre Dance

My name is Ben Warbis, and I graduated from London Studio Centre in 2009. In my third year I trained with Intoto, before leaving a few months early in order to start a full-time contract with Michael Clark Company. The curriculum at LSC was the reason I auditioned in the first place. It offers a great range of disciplines, and the teaching staff are fantastic at allowing you to achieve a balance across all of your studies. The day always begins with ballet, which is a brilliant way of maintaining strength in the classical technique, as well as nurturing an appreciation for getting warm in the morning and establishing a level of stamina. The building on York Way is vast and energising; a great place to spend the long days!

The timetable you are provided with is always varied and (nearly) always evenly distributed throughout the week. This is what makes the training at LSC so exciting and fulfilling. Ballet is typically followed by jazz, contemporary, singing, and a lecture - all in one day! It's tiring and demanding, but it certainly sorts the men from the boys. The teaching staff work very hard to make your training in their subject the best it can be, whilst still allowing you to commit just as highly in all the other dance and theatre subjects.

Since graduating (with a First Class BA Hons!) I have performed with Michael Clark Company almost full time. Besides London, our tour dates have included Venice Bienalle, Paris, Berlin, Stockholm, New York, Melbourne International Arts Festival, and Edinburgh International Festival, to name just a few. Such a demanding rehearsal and performance schedule is, at times, very difficult to rise to, but I can safely say that my ability to achieve these goals is almost entirely thanks to my wonderful training at London Studio Centre. I have also worked as a model, and I am represented by Premier Model Management. I am extremely proud of the cover shoot I did for Arena Homme+ magazine; shot by Nick Knight and styled by Nicola Formichetti.

At LSC, I particularly enjoyed the contemporary and jazz training. It is diverse, interesting, and often very unforgiving!! It's great. On the whole, the studio facilities are spacious and clean. I should give a mention to the wonderful musicians too; the pianists and percussionists who accompany the ballet and contemporary classes are absolutely top class. I believe that they provide a unique and vital energy to the class, and they strike up great working partnerships with the teachers. As you progress through the course, and you have more opportunity to select some aspects of your timetable, the classes and choreography (thanks to the students whom you are alongside) become increasingly enjoyable and fulfilling. Like I said, the course at LSC makes you or breaks you, and it really allows you to prioritise and achieve things that you want to achieve. This is one of the reasons why I chose to train here, and if you choose it too, I can guarantee that you will meet some diverse, intriguing, and dedicated performers (young AND old)!! Just make sure you always work hard.

Edd Mitton
Graduated 2009 with a First Class Honours in BA(Hons) Theatre Dance

Edward Mitton (Photo: property of UdifyDance Company)
Edward Mitton
(Photo: property of UdifyDance Company)

At 18 I knew I wanted to perform, but in what I wasn’t sure. I was interested in musicals, contemporary dance, theatre… The choice of potential schools and courses was overwhelming, and my main reason for choosing London Studio Centre was that it would allow me to keep training in a wide variety of styles and genres. It was a decision I have never regretted. Not only did the diversity of the course keep me interested and challenged (I feel sure I would have floundered in a more subject-specific course), it has left me with a very wide base of skills which have been invaluable to me since graduating – opening up the types of work available to me, and giving me a huge range of styles and influences to draw on. I now consider this versatility my greatest strength as a performer, and it is evident in the diverse work I have done since graduating – ranging from abstract contemporary dance, to jazz dance theatre, character roles in opera, and movement direction for theatre productions.

The course at LSC is not only physically demanding, but intellectually challenging too. The academic side of the course really helped me develop a critical eye for performance, and made me hone the way I perceive and critique dance work. I think this has given me a deeper appreciation of the work that I do and the processes behind it, and has also given me the tools to become a confident teacher – something that came as quite a surprise to me! I hope to take a postgraduate course in the future and feel that LSC’s BA has given me a solid basis to start from.

Having acquired a very wide skills base in the 1st and 2nd year and tried out a variety of different styles, I was able to confidently make the choice to specialise in contemporary dance in my final year. My time in Intoto Dance Company was so beneficial to me – refining and developing some of the skills and techniques we had begun in the previous years. I left the company feeling less like a ‘jack-of-all-trades’ but a professional contemporary dancer with a gamut of contributory skills and experiences. Leaving college for the ‘real world’ could have been a very daunting concept, but the experience of having worked in a company environment had given me a good understanding of what to expect and prepared me very well for the professional arena. Working with professional choreographers for the Intoto tour had also allowed me to establish some important contacts in the dance world, which proved absolutely invaluable to me at the start of my career – my first job was with one of our guest choreographers!

I think very fondly of my time at London Studio Centre – I really feel that individual personalities are encouraged and nurtured, which makes it a very vibrant place to be! I met people at LSC who I’m sure will be friends for life, and am really glad to have kept in touch with some of my teachers, whose help and guidance still comes in useful! Overall, it was the ideal place for an ‘all-rounder’ like myself, which allowed me to follow my interests, nurtured me as a person, and left me with the tools and training of a standard I needed to forge a very exciting and varied career as a professional dancer.

Sarah Robinson
Graduated in 2007 with a 2.1 in BA(Hons) Theatre Dance

I still remember my audition day at London Studio Centre. At the time I had auditioned for eight of the other leading dance colleges and LSC was my last – I knew as soon as I walked in the door this was where I wanted to be. The current students were friendly and smiley and the staff were happy to help.

My time at LSC was inspirational. We had some of the best teachers in the business, not only on a day-to-day basis, but also the guest teachers who were currently working and who gave us a taste of what we could be doing when we left. The course itself gave me a vast knowledge of the industry – what would be expected of me and what I was to expect.

My third year is the one I look back upon with the fondest of memories. I took the Jazz route with our mentor Petra Siniawski. Her ideas and teachings were motivating and artistic. She brought in choreographers who we auditioned for and together we created a graduate show.

I have the utmost respect and admiration for all who taught me at LSC. I was enriched and developed as a performer and it widened my knowledge of the industry, allowing me to have a successful career as a performer.

Since leaving I have been lucky enough to work vastly in all areas of the industry. I have worked with artists such as Enrique Iglesias,, Kanye West, Take That, Madonna, Will Young, Snoop Dogg, Pixie Lott, Paul McCartney, Taio Cruz and any more. I have done six tours to date with not only pop artists but also operatic stars too. I have been in commercials, films and extensive live TV, and have also, with my height, been able to branch out into fashion.

In my opinion I believe London Studio Centre is the best dance college, and I am proud to say I trained here.

Ashley Nottingham
Graduated in 2004 with a 2.1 in BA(Hons) Theatre Dance

Ashley Nottingham, 42nd Street (Billy)
Ashley Nottingham, 42nd Street (Billy)

London Studio Centre gave me the knowledge and technique to succeed and survive in the industry. The wide variety of classes, lectures and teachers allow you to understand and appreciate all aspects of Dance as an art form.

I graduated feeling capable of performing in any part of the industry. I have worked in Musical Theatre, Television, Corporate events, Pantomimes, Choreographed, and taught all over the UK. The versatility in the college leaves you no restrictions to branch out and fulfil your dream.

The great thing about LSC is that because the building has many studios and students, it gives you the reality of the competitiveness of the industry and like all things in life; you have to push and believe yourself. This is the only way to succeed in the industry.

I enjoyed the freshness of teachers from the current industry who would keep you up to date on everything happening in the outside world. Another highlight is after a while you are able to customize your own timetable choosing classes to major in. You can either pick your strength to thrive in or a weakness to improve in.

I chose LSC because it has a university feel. You get treated like an adult giving you a grounding that would last long into your career.