Pictured: the school’s first students in 1970.
In response to requests for more artistic activity in the Somerset area, The Somerset School of Dancing was established by Sal Hodgson & Anne Cherry in September 1970 with an enrollment of just 40 students. Classes in Ballet, Tap, Modern & Jazz, were initially conducted in Mrs. Hodgson’s living room and shortly thereafter at the Somerset Brigade Band Hall on Scott’s Hill Road.
The following year, under the auspices of the British Ballet Organization (BBO), a major examiner was sent to the school and ballet examinations were conducted for the first time in Bermuda.
With continued growth, and the need for larger premises, prompted the move in January 1981 to The Armoury in Mangrove Bay. In 1982, the school affiliated with the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) and the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance (ISTD), two internationally recognized dance bodies that we still accredit and follow today.
In 1987, the school expanded to the Hamilton area with classes on Saturday mornings at the Masonic Hall on King Street.
Then in 1990, with the closing and government renovation of our beloved studio (The Armory), the amalgamation of both our Somerset and Hamilton studios was a predestined step into a more central location and hence a new hub – the upstairs loft on the corner of Front and King Streets. After 17 years, in early 2007, the school was relocated to our current expansive, 3 studio premises, the Berkeley Cultural Centre, (old Berkeley Building), in the heart of Hamilton.
Although SSOD has a strong platform in classical ballet training, we also offer quality teaching and training in all genres of dance & production, including; but not limited to: Tap, Jazz, Contemporary, Urban (Hip Hop/Street), Musical Theatre and Fitness classes.
SSOD continues to gain recognition as a dance school with the highest standards, a true testament to our success, longevity and generational following.
Internationally recognized portfolio of ballet training & examinations
Our longstanding affiliation with the RAD
This year marks our 47th consecutive year that The Somerset School of Dancing have conducted annual ballet examinations. 11 of those with the B.B.O and 36 with the Royal Academy of Dance, one of the world’s most influential leaders in dance education programmes and qualifications.
We are a recognised RAD centre in Bermuda and promote qualified teachers in both RAD & ISTD certifications.
Our continued agenda at SSoD, is to pioneer for the highest level of dance teaching and standards in Bermuda. Our credentials speak volumes, advocating for not only structured quality dance training but maintaining caliber expected.
Founded in 1920, the RAD is one of the world’s most influential global leaders offering internationally recognised portfolio of exams designed to motivate and encourage students of all ages and levels of ability.
Each year over 230,000 candidates from all over the world take RAD dance exams.
Why do we foster exams?
At SSoD we underscore the importance of our students having an achievable goal, with a core focus and command on technique, creativity and musicality. This is essential to our unwavering understanding that all students require a fundamental platform of proper dance training in order to command succession through the syllabus we provide. Students are nurtured on an individual basis by highly qualified teachers.
What is involved?
All exams and class awards are assessed by an international appointed RAD trained examiner. Only the pianist (higher grades), examiner and students are allowed in the studio during an exam. All candidates who pass an exam receive a certificate of achievement, medal and a breakdown of their result from the RAD.
SSoD & RAD guidelines, policies & procedures?
SSoD work within the guidelines set forth by The Royal Academy of Dance (RAD). These include, respect to outline of Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) and Total Qualification Time (TQT) which encompasses Guided Learning Hours (GLH) & ‘other learning’ guidelines for each grade level. Students are assessed at SSoD throughout the course of Term 1 and Term 2 prior to exam invitations as to their command of the curriculum, technicality and musicality. Attendance is vital if working towards eligibility for consideration for an exam or class award, as the syllabus is learned within the parameters of term dates set forth at beginning of SSoD school calendar year. Teacher recommendation is required for all students to be entered into the exams or class awards.
Did you know: Graded and vocational graded examinations in dance at RQF Level 3 are allocated points on the UCAS tariff. This means that candidates who have achieved a pass or higher in Grades 6, 7, 8, Intermediate or Advanced Foundation, can use their RAD exam result towards their points tariff when applying to a relevant course at a university or higher education in the UK.