Archive for the ‘Leisure’ Category

Stoke Gifford dancer earns place on London academy programme

Posted on Friday 18th January 2019 at 9:40 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of Grace Cousins dancing. Photo of Grace Cousins dancing.

Thirteen-year-old Grace Cousins, who is a member of the Stoke Gifford School of Dance, has successfully auditioned for a place on an associate programme at the prestigious Urdang performing arts academy in London.

Grace has been dancing since she was three years old and over the years has developed a love and passion for dancing, having performed in numerous shows and entered a variety of competitions.

The Urdang Academy, based in Islington, offers training in dance and musical theatre for students aged 16 and above, but starting in January 2019, it is offering places on an associate programme for students aged 10 and above. The course will have a strong focus on the core technical subjects and aims to produce strong, well-rounded dancers. It will cover the three basic dance styles of ballet, tap and jazz as well as offering acrobatic and technique classes. Grace is most looking forward to developing her ballet skills as this is her favourite style of dance. She said:

“I enjoy all styles of dance but my favourite is ballet because I’ve been growing up doing it and I enjoy dancing it. I’m also someone who likes having a good technique and being precise and neat, which is the main focus of ballet.”

Grace found out about the course from her dance teacher Miss Eve, who encouraged her to go and audition as it would be a good way to push her to becoming a better dancer. The audition took place on Sunday 2nd December 2018. Grace said:

“I felt quite confident about the audition so I didn’t need to prepare much. I just needed to show them some impressive moves and tricks in order to display my ability and to wow them. I felt like the audition went well; I showed my personality through my dancing and executed the steps well.”

More: Grace will attend Urdang Academy every other Sunday »

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Fortnightly gospel choir sessions in Stoke Gifford

Posted on Sunday 21st October 2018 at 7:10 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo showing some members of Stoke Gifford gospel choir singing during a performance.

By Emma Smallwood, choir leader.

Did you enjoy the Royal Wedding gospel choir? Do you like to sing along to the radio in your car? Do you love to sing in the shower? Do you think you might like to have a go at singing in a community gospel choir?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then the Stoke Gifford Gospel Choir might be just the thing for you. Part of the GGCC group of Bristol choirs, the Stoke Gifford choir has been going for two years now and has had some amazing adventures together. They have sung with the world-renowned London Community Gospel Choir, been part of various Bristol singing events, had a few road trips and put on their own concerts in venues such as the Victoria Rooms. When the current members joined the choir, I doubt they would’ve thought they could do any of these things but after being taught in a really fun, easy to access way, they have learned new skills they didn’t have before, made lots of new friends and had a lot of fun along the way.

We’re always open to new members. We meet fortnightly on a Tuesday evening in the St Michael’s Centre, The Green, Stoke Gifford, usually in the hall next to Old School Rooms Coffee Shop. We start at 7.30pm and finish at 9.15pm. The choir is for anyone, we love to have a wide mixture of people, that’s what ‘community’ is all about. We sing gospel music because at its heart it is about hope and that’s never a bad thing to have! You don’t have to call yourself a Christian or have any kind of faith to be in the choir; if you’re happy to sing gospel then you’re in!

We don’t audition people and there is no membership fee – we just have a donations box at every rehearsal. Rehearsal dates for October are 9th & 23rd, then 6th & 20th November . If you would like to come and see what we get up to, then do just turn up. If you have any questions then do email Emma Smallwood at

If you fancy catching us in action, we’ll be performing in local concerts during December. On the weekend of 7th-9th, we will be singing somewhere in Bristol (still to be confirmed) and on 15th December we are performing with Bath Community Gospel Choir and Geraldine Latty at the Roper Theatre in Bath. Details for all these events will appear on the GGCC Facebook page.

This article originally appeared in the October 2018 issue of the Stoke Gifford Journal news magazine (on page 18). The magazine is delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to over 5,000 homes in Stoke Gifford, Little Stoke and Harry Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

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Little Stoke Garden Society annual show

Posted on Friday 12th October 2018 at 11:42 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of Rev Simon Jones (left) with some of the cup winners.

Held on Saturday 1st September, this was the 43rd annual show, having unfortunately missed last year’s due to the refurbishment of Little Stoke Community Hall, writes John Harris (chairman).

Having previously been a closed show for members only, it was decided to open it up to local residents this year. We had a good response, although entries were down, due, in part, to the adverse weather earlier this year, and several people who said: “I didn’t think I was good enough.” In fact, we are all amateurs, and have good days as well as failures; it is hard work, but good fun!

There are several categories, open to adults and children: vegetables, fruit, flowers, homecraft, handicraft and photography, with cups awarded for the best. Entries are assessed by experienced, external judges – so there is no favouritism.

Judging takes place in the morning, and the awards ceremony is held at the end of the afternoon. Cups to be held for one year, were presented by Simon Jones, Rector of St Michael’s Church, Stoke Gifford.

A special award, introduced by Les Davis, was given this year to Mr David Hutton, in appreciation of his many years of hard work for the Little Stoke Garden Society. He was given a ceramic model of a garden shed and a lifelong membership of the society, presented by Janice Szczelkun and Maureen Harris.

We would like to thank everyone who worked hard over the weekend to make this year’s show another successful event.

More photos from the annual show »

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Dance school wows Christmas show audience

Posted on Monday 8th January 2018 at 11:18 pm by Laura Mortimore

Photo of the four main characters in the show (l-r): Yuying, Grace, Ruby and Grace.

The Stoke Gifford School of Dance have performed their Christmas show ‘Beyond the Rainbow’ to an audience of family and friends.

The show, which took place at King’s Oak Academy, Kingswood on Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th December, was a huge success. The cast, which consisted of 47 girls aged between 3 and 18 years old, showcased their wonderful talents in ballet, modern and tap.

Eve Brewer, principal of the school, explained what preparation is needed to put together a show of this magnitude:

“We have been working on the show since the start of term in September. The preparation includes music editing, choreography, organising costumes, designing the tickets and programme, and rallying up the support of parents and friends for ticket sales and to help with the smooth running of the show, and all that before we even start teaching the dances to the children! In the final week leading up to the show, the children are all very excited and we look forward to seeing the result of all their hard work on stage.”

The performance was based on ‘The Wizard of Oz’ with Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Lion and the Tin Man taking centre stage to lead the rest of the cast through 26 different songs and dances that followed the theme of colour, including ‘Purple Rain’, ‘Men in Black’ and ‘Follow the Yellow Brick Road’. With dances ranging from pre-school and reception ballet all the way up to senior tap and modern, there was plenty of variety for the audience to delight in. Lisa Rush, who watched the Sunday performance, described the show as “very enjoyable; it flowed well and the dancers performed beautifully and confidently”.

More photos of the cast »

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