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Chichester Residential Summer School 2013

Chichester Residential Summer School 2013

31 December 2013

Nicola May Bishop, John O’Brien and Hilary Whitley review a wonderful week of Tap

This was my first time at Chichester summer school and I will certainly be returning! The teaching faculty is incredible and yet so down to earth and happy to help you with anything you need. The classes available are of an excellent standard and there is something for everyone, whether you are working for your DDI or are fully qualified and just going to keep yourself up to date. I have already told all the teachers I know that they must come next year! Thank you for a wonderful week.

Nicola May Bishop

Yet again top marks for a fantastic week at the Modern Theatre and Tap Dance Summer School at Chichester this year!

“The rhythm of the first days only grew, mostly due to everyone’s desire to feel the excellent atmosphere of artistic expression”

After a very unexpected start with the daunting news of the passing of Deborah Capon, the Tap Dance Faculty Chair, (so suddenly, only the week before) the rhythm of the first days only grew, mostly due to everyone’s desire to feel the excellent atmosphere of artistic expression and learning that always permeates at Chichester. We all knew this would have been Miss Capon’s desire for us.

Alison Forrester with Tap delegates

I happily participated once again in the Tap week, this time avidly receiving the new Grade 5 Tap syllabus work, along with all the other colleagues and dancer-friends present from the periphery of the globe. The work, finely taught by Alison Forrester and Nick French in their usual thorough, yet amusing manner, is really great. This is the missing piece that links the new Grade 4 syllabus to the now established, thrilling work of Grade 6. The natural evolution of the technical exercises through to the four very distinct amalgamations makes the Grade a fun thing to do. Knowing that our students are all very varied in types and styles, there’s something for absolutely everyone here.

During the week, we also had Licenciate and Fellowship guidance sessions with Miss Heather Rees, so masterfully aiding all the candidates with expert tuition and lots of fun stories of personal experiences.

Above all, I have to say that all the members of both faculties were so helpful and so ‘there’ for everyone at all times of the day, that this summer school is invaluable to all of us who teach the ISTD work, especially for those of us abroad. So thank you to one and all, lecturers and delegates in kind, for making this experience so very nourishing!

John O’Brien


Having survived intact and thoroughly enjoyed the Chichester summer school, I would urge any teacher who hasn’t attended yet to book (early) for next time. Not only do we cover new material from the best in the business, but have the privilege of learning some amalgamations from the choreographer and hence the intended feeling and style, and not our own interpretation, which may be rather different. Whether it’s Lyn Richardson’s exquisite grade 6 Lyrical, Ruth Armsrong’s delicious Silver Jazz or Nick French’s fab Barnam-esque grade 5 Tap amalgamation, you know it’s the real McCoy.

I had a “Huh, what on earth… is that!” moment witnessing Katie Morea pouring herself along the “floor is our friend” like a kitten (Advanced 1 falls). Later on we were encouraged to be panthers, and though I knew my body, and certainly my brain, were not going to cooperate as in my youth, I just had to have a go at whatever she threw at us. Rather more Smurf than panther I fear, but now I know what it should look like – and how I’m going to teach it. Thank you to Miss Morea and Nathan for demonstrating that yes it is physically possible, and how gorgeous the advanced syllabi are. You have won me over completely. I can’t wait for the new Intermediate to catch up.

Nick French with Tappers

Can you envisage mealtimes with 100 plus excited dance teachers all chattering at once? You get the picture. The camaraderie was great and helped create a very positive atmosphere. Teachers from various countries, some as far as Canada and Singapore, a wide age range, different backgrounds but all working together and helping each other get to grips with the new material.

I would like to thank the tutors for their enthusiasm and encouragement, and their time spent organising and planning the event. My brain may have been mushed-out some of the time but I now feel equipped to hit my students with the new work, confident in my knowledge and able to relay my enthusiasm in turn, so that hopefully they will feel the joy of it too. 

Hilary Whitley

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