Hammond Academy of Performing Arts is a haven of exceptional creativity and talent. As such we relish the opportunity to celebrate this with an annual awards ceremony as well as honouring the legacy of past tutors and friends. We offer our pupils and associates the opportunity to be awarded with one of the following:
The Miss Hammond Award for Achievement
Principal of Hammond Academy
Miss Hammond is a Fellow and Examiner of the ISTD. She began dancing at the age of 7 studying Ballroom, Latin American, National, Greek, Modern Theatre, Tap and Disco. Having trained professionally she performed worldwide. Retiring from the stage, she taught every age group from Montessori to professional dancers in many schools, colleges and theatre groups throughout the UK.
She is qualified in 8 of the ISTD faculties as well as LAMDA and Guildhall. She attained the prestigious Gold Medal for Public Speaking from The Poetry Society.
Miss Hammond teaches full time, examines, adjudicates and trains other professionals. She choreographs shows for theatres and enjoys writing scripts for plays and pantomimes. She served 10 years on the Disco/Freestyle R’n’R Faculty for the ISTD and 14 years on the Club Dance Faculty Committee of the ISTD. 2014 she co-wrote the new Salsa Professional Syllabus for the Club Dance Faculty and the new Street Dance & Commercial Hip Hop syllabus for the Disco/Freestyle R’n’R Faculty.
The Misss Hammond Award for Achievement was presented by the Staff and Cast Standing Ovation IV, Cowboys & Angels in 2012. The Miss Hammond Award for Achievement is presented to a pupil for recognised achievements made at the academy, at school or as external hobbies .This can be anything that has had a significant meaning to the pupil.
The Peter King Award for Enthusiasm
Peter King 1961 – 2000
Peter was born in Eastham on the Wirral in Merseyside and from an early age showed a great love and talent for dance. After leaving school he went on to full-time college attending MERSEYSIDE DANCE AND DRAMA CENTRE for three years. It was here that he not only trained to be a dancer but also a teacher and choreographer.
After graduating he travelled all over the world performing. He later returned to England to teach not only at his former college but at other full-time establishments as well as local dance schools.
Peter never really “retired” from dancing, like the rest of us he continued to perform appearing in the West End in musicals and pantomimes each year.
I met Peter at the MDDC when I was in my first year and he his final year. I had an instant admiration for his enthusiasm and energy (especially whilst being thrown around the Pas de Deux class as he was often my partner!).
Peter was a very thorough teacher who never expected unrealistic goals from his pupils. When teaching he never had favourites and he didn’t care if every student had two left feet! Peter wasn’t looking for the next Nuereyev or Fontain as long as you had energy and enthusiasm he was happy to teach you. Indeed, when Peter walked into a room it would light up with smiles and soon would resound with laughter. That was the effect he had on everybody.
I opened my former school in the Village where Peter was born and taught many pupils who were children of Peter’s old friends.
In 2001 I was honoured to be presented with a shield in Peter’s name by his mother, Mrs Mary King. The shield was donated by Mrs Tina Murray, a close personal friend of Peter’s Family.
The very first presentation of the shield was to Miss Julia who had been a pupil of mine for two years before being asked to join the staff. Her dedication and hard work were one of the reasons the school was such a success.
When HAMMOND ACADEMY OF PERFORMING ARTS was born it only seemed fitting that I bring the shield back into existence.
I have been honoured to perform with, and teach alongside, Peter over the years and even though the months would pass without contact, when we met again it was as if no time had passed at all. In the years to come I will ensure that the shield is awarded in the same manner as if Peter himself were to present it.
A GREAT FRIEND, TEACHER AND COLLEAGUE WHO IS SADLY MISSED, FONDLY REMEMBERED AND NEVER FORGOTTEN!
The Grace Johnson Award for Improvement
Grace Johnson 1914-1993
Vernon Johnson owned a music shop in the wealthy district of Sefton Park on the south side of Liverpool at the turn of the last century. Whilst he taught pianoforte in the shop his wife taught Classical Ballet in a small studio at the rear.
They had two daughters Grace and Olga who both naturally grew up with a love of music and dance. A career on the stage followed for the girls, doing theatre shows around the country and summer season every year at the prestigious Blackpool Tower Ballroom. The two girls eventually took over the family business and so The Vernon Johnson School of Dance & Drama was born.
Miss Johnson (or the Boss as she was affectionately known) never had any children of her own but saw all the children who passed through her school as her own. She loved to watch the development of toddlers as their first co-ordinated steps and actions would happen and praised the teenagers when those tricky combinations they had practised for weeks finally came together. It was not about being the best it was about being the best you can be…. was her ethos.
The Boss would tell us as students and teachers “No matter how big or small try to learn one new thing every day”
I was very fortunate to be trained by this great lady and indeed spent 15 years learning from her. When she died in 1993 a great void appeared in my life . The school continues on and is now over 110 years old.
In memory of an outstanding lady and indeed my mentor I would like to introduce The Grace Johnson Award For Improvement to the Academy. Each year there will be two winners one from the adult school and one from the children’s school.