ABOUT THE COLLEGE
The Dorset Foundation College opened in 2018, and provides the highest standard of Vocational Dance & Performing Arts Education to students over 16 years.
a Full-Time Foundation Course in Performing Arts, which opens in September 2021!
Our premises, situated on the South Coast in Dorset, boasts numerous purpose built studios beautifully equipped with high tech sound systems and the latest training equipment.
The Dorset Foundation College has the expertise and aptitude to provide all students with the best possible training. Our Teaching Faculty are highly qualified and experienced within their chosen fields, allowing students to grow and achieve their goals and aspirations.
"We aim to provide the highest level of training in a supportive, vibrant and enthusiastic environment."
Founder & Principal - Miss Denise Booth
Born in Leicester in 1961, Denise Booth (nee LaCombe) trained at the
Ann Oliver Stage School from the age of 4; completing regular examinations throughout her childhood and on to her Teaching Examinations with the
BTDA and the RAD.
As a child, Miss Denise (as she is known to everyone) performed regularly in touring pantomimes with Barry Young & was heavily into the competition circuit, achieving the Junior Award at the All England Sunshine Competition for the most promising all-round student in 1969.
In her teenage years, Miss Denise was also part of the Marian Tamsett Dance Ensemble (Classical Company) who worked professionally around the Midlands area. The Ensemble performed with Maynard Williams at the Haymarket Theatre in Leicester on several occasions and in addition performed in regular productions at The Little Theatre with various companies. Miss Denise also played Dulcie in Sandy Wilson’s The Boyfriend at Leicester’s Phoenix Arts Centre; a roll for which she has very fond memories.
In 1981, age 20, she moved to Wimborne with her husband Daryl, and after a few months formed the
LaCombe Dancing School under the guidance of her former Dance Teacher Ann Oliver MBE.
The School opened in Colehill with just 10 students, all of whom are still in contact.
Over the next seventeen years, and as the sole teacher, Miss Denise saw the School grow from strength to strength, with classes held at seven different venues around the Wimborne area – however most will remember with fondness their classes at the Liberal Hall in Park Lane, The Methodist Centre in King Street and the Memorial Hall at Colehill.
Each year, selected Students attended the BTDA Gala Days in Leicester making lasting memories of working in classes with professionals such as Dougie Squires, Antony Johns & Brian Rogers.
In 1998, an industrial unit on Ferndown Industrial Estate was purchased and the name of the School was changed to
Studio One. The unit was converted into a beautiful studio with its own Dancewear Shop & soon after this a second unit was purchased, enabling the number of classes each week to double. At this point in time more teaching staff were employed and the School expanded considerably.
The classes ran successfully in these two studios until 2017 when the buildings were sold and the School moved into its new premises in Cobham Road – also on the Ferndown Industrial Estate. The new premises provide three studios and storage space for costumes & props, as well as a large shop and car park. The School was re-named
Studio One (Dorset’s Centre for Performing Arts) as regular Singing & Drama lessons were added to the weekly timetable.
In 2018 & with AQA approval, a College was opened on the site to provide Vocational Dance & Performance education to the over 16’s. The Dorset Foundation College for Performing Arts can now boast courses in GCSE Dance, RSL Acting, Vocational Dance Examinations with the BTDA & RAD & the newest venture – A Full time Foundation & Audition Preparation Course which opens in September 2021.
The first cohort to achieve the GCSE Dance Examinations achieved outstanding results and the second cohort is now up & running. The third cohort is secure and will begin in September 2021.
The first RSL cohort are approaching the end of their course and results are projected to be high. Applications for the 2021 Course will be open in March.
Students taking Vocational Dance Examinations have gained exceptionally high marks this year with the BTDA & RAD.
This year marks the 40th Anniversary of the opening of the original School in Colehill; and looking back on her achievements Miss Denise reflects on the many Students who have progressed to become professionals in their own right – either Teaching in their specific genres or performing professionally in the UK & around the world. Indeed four of the five Staff currently employed at the School & College began their Dance Classes with her at a very young age.
Over the 40 years, approximately 15,000 Examination Entries have been submitted with the BTDA, RAD & LAMDA.
She goes on..................
“I love what I do, I live for what I do & I put my heart & soul into what I do. It is so rewarding to find something you love & then to pass on the skill & knowledge to Staff & Students.”
And looking forward.........
Miss Denise says there is so much still to achieve!
We have been challenged by the pandemic but Staff & Student moral is amazing & everyone remains enthusiastic for the future !!
The Full Time Course at the College begins in September and we already have some Students in place.
We have secured a Professional Teaching Faculty, all of whom are super-talented in their own rights. They will provide their expertise & knowledge; enabling the students to enhance their technical ability and confidence – leading to successful audition and progress onto a higher level Performing Arts Education Course.
We are currently running virtual meetings & auditions with prospective Students & are very excited and enthusiastic for what the future holds.