As has long been our tradition, on Mother’s Day, May 13th, we celebrated our graduation day – this time for the class of 2018! The lovely ceremony in our theatre was genially hosted by emcees Tyra Temple-Smith and Devon Snell.

Have a look at some of the photos from graduation day! Photos by Yiming Cai.

Brooke Lewis, the class valedictorian, gave a very gracious and moving address at the ceremony. Read an excerpt of her speech below:

“I would like to thank you all for being here to celebrate this milestone with us today. Our journey over the last three years has included every emotion possible, and sometimes all in one day. It has been a challenge for every single one of us, but for the lessons we have learnt, the knowledge we have gained, and the friendships we have built – we would do it all again. We all came to this school for different reasons, we all had different goals to achieve, but through countless hours of hard work and dedication to our passion for dance we have all achieved the same goal today, and any expectations we may have had, I can say with confidence, we have more than surpassed.

When I think about our class the first thing that comes to mind is our great diversity. Between us, we speak four different languages and come from 11 individual places around the world. Having an international class comes with many perks: we have all found a love for Japanese candy, attempted to improve our best French and British accents, and tirelessly questioned Mario about our thoughts of him being a secret Chinese Prince. Our interest in each other’s worlds and our openness to share has led to some thought provoking conversations and debates, with opinions being shaped from varied cultural influences – building bridges between any boundaries we may have had.

Regardless of where we are from, we all came with a shared love for this art form, and with a fierce drive; it is through this that we have become such a closely knit class. Within our little family we show trust, love, and support, and this is what makes us still able to shine our brightest, not only together but as individuals. Being here today proves how much we truly love what we do, and there are not very many people in the world who can say the same about their profession. Merce Cunningham said, “You have to love dancing to stick to it. It gives you nothing back … nothing but that single fleeting moment when you feel alive.” Lucky for us, we have had many fleeting moments in this very theatre and on this very stage; moments that we have had the immense pleasure of sharing with each other and many of you here today.

Our beloved Martha Graham also said, “There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only of you in all of time, this expression is unique.” As we very quickly have approached our release into the world, I am reminded that I have the opportunity to show my unique expression, to show my unique relationship with dance, in whatever way that may be. And to also remember that our world is not so big after all, and the dance world is even smaller. The bonds that have been formed here will stretch and bend to all corners of the globe, but what will hold us together is our time spent here. As we say our final goodbyes and close this one chapter of our lives, I leave you with this from Fred Astaire: “Do it big, do it right, and do it with style.”