A Brief History
Nobody could have foreseen what started in a back bedroom in Claygate in March 1954 becoming one the most successful Performing Arts Schools in the UK with a proven track record of pupil achievement.
But over sixty years after Roshe School was opened in Surrey with just a handful of pupils by Rosemary Woodd and Shelagh London (the word ROSHE derives from the first 3 letters of both their names), the much-beloved school has gone on to grow out of all proportion. Soon after its foundation, Rosemary Woodd moved to East Grinstead and opened a second branch.
The two schools were then run independently, where Mrs Woodd continues to this day to propel the Felbridge & East Grinstead branch to great heights within the Performing Arts industry.
Once settled in the Sussex town, Roshe began to flourish. At that time, East Grinstead was only home to two similar establishments, Audrey Lucking School and the full-time Bush Davies. Over the years a strong link was forged between Bush Davies and Roshe with Mrs Woodd teaching their Associate Classes on a Saturday.
Having originally trained under Eugene Wheelright & Bridget Espinosa, Rosemary Woodd has maintained the tradition of high standards in both dance and discipline during the past 60 years of Roshe, carefully reflecting the conditions in the early 20th century that allowed the British ballet to triumph on the world stage.
Her early training was as an RAD Teacher and RAD is till taught at the school from Inter Foundation up to Advanced 2. In the 1960’s she was introduced to the ISTD work by Nancy Robinson and fell in love with the beautiful dance quality the ISTD taught in its syllabi. Further encouraged and mentored by Jean Campbell, Rosemary quickly became a qualified ISTD teacher and started teaching all Grades and Majors to her growing number of pupils. Much like the legacy of RAD, students at Roshe continue to this day to learn ISTD Ballet, Modern, Tap and Greek from Primary up to, and including, Advanced 2.
To Mrs Woodd, becoming an ISTD Ballet Examiner still remains as one of the highlights of her career. But it was far from over. As her momentum grew, she went on to become a Senior Examiner for the ISTD. Now well-respected as a highly esteemed figure-head, in the early 2000s Rosemary was named a member of the ISTD Ballet Committee and was awarded the Jean Campbell Award for services to the ISTD, a great honour and significant moment in her life.
To this day Roshe School offers an alternative training to that available at a full-time dance school. Rosemary Woodd prides herself of ensuring students who attend state or private education have an opportunity to take lessons in dance and performance outside their academic school hours. For some students dancing is just a hobby; for others, a life-long ambition. Subsequently, the lessons offered by Roshe will always cater for both aspirations and offer an array of different disciplines, encourage parental support and foster each pupil’s personal aspirations.
From its humble beginnings in 1954, Roshe now provides over 70 lessons a week, including RAD Ballet, ISTD Ballet, Pointe, Modern, Tap, Classical Greek, Freework Jazz, Contemporary, Musical Theatre and Irish Dance. 60 years on and Rosemary Woodd is still at the helm and continues to teach.
Over these past six decades pupils have gone on to complete their training at all the world’s foremost Ballet Schools and Colleges, have danced with just about every major Ballet Company and West End Show and toured the world many times over. Rosemary is also exceedingly proud of all those pupils trained the ‘Roshe way’ whom, following on from their own careers in dance, have gone on to become teachers themselves, many opening their own dancing schools.
The success of the Roshe Performing Arts, as it is also known, is all due to the high standards of teaching and strict discipline expected by the School’s Principal, Rosemary Woodd, along with the other members of staff that support her.
Roshe are incredibly lucky that they have Choreographers following in her footsteps who like to push the boundaries and try something new and different. By being like this Roshe naturally have pupils that take on our choreographic style and make it their own. Roshe will always encourage and nurture the pupils to be creative.
We are also fortunate to have so many past pupils and families that keep supporting the school. Roshe has a legacy to uphold and our former pupils ensure that the standards remain as high now as they were when they came to Roshe.
Whilst Ballet has always been at the forefront at Roshe, as this is a good grounding for all other dance styles, Roshe has always been an innovator over the years introduced Modern, Tap, Jazz, Greek & Musical Theatre with Teachers at the top of their field and more ISTD Examiners. Continuing this tradition of always offering the best to its’ pupils and to ensure that they receive a thorough training Musical Theatre and Contemporary are important additions to the classes and also most recently PBT (Progressing Ballet Technique) has been added.
Roshe still holds the same values and dedication to their students as when they were founded over 60 years ago and is certain to continue for many years to come.