Matthew Rawcliffe, who left Loreto two years ago, and is now in his second year at Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance, has achieved major success in the prestigious biannual BBC Young Dancer Competition. The competition features four categories of dance: Ballet, Contemporary, South Asian Dance and Street Dance.

Following two competitive rounds, twenty dancers were shortlisted for the Category Finals. The Contemporary Final saw Matthew perform on his home turf at Salford’s Lowry Theatre, where he has performed many times as part of the Lowry CAT programme. A highly competitive event saw each dancer perform two solo pieces and a duo, before Matthew emerged victorious and advanced to the televised Grand Final in Birmingham. Despite not winning this time, Matthew again performed with distinction at this extremely high profile event. He described the experience thus:

“The whole young dancer experience has been so amazing, even though it’s a talent competition it’s been so useful to have an understanding of dance beyond just the steps – I definitely owe a lot to the Loreto Dance Department for nurturing this and making me delve into my own choreography for my A-level work which now feels like the tip of the iceberg of many exciting things to come!”

Loreto Dance teacher Pippa Hudson is full of praise for Matthew and takes great pride in his achievements, explaining that:

“I had the absolute honour of being invited to watch the Grand Final, along with Matthew’s parents and friends, and I struggle to express how extremely proud I am of his achievements. The maturity that this competition expects of its performers is high and Matthew shone throughout. His ability to push the boundaries of his style, challenging interpretations of contemporary dance and generate choreographies which engage the audience, is exceptional.

When Matthew was at Loreto, I was very fortunate; I had a wonderful small cohort of extremely talented, diligent and joyous students to teach, who all excelled in their A Level Dance exams; each of these students brought out the best in one another and supported each other. Matthew is a naturally gifted choreographer and performer; this, combined with his hard-work, determination, passion and intelligence made him an absolutely exemplary dance student and young man to teach. He was an active member of the performing arts department, performing and choreographing for dance shows, the musical production of Guys and Dolls, the Creative Arts Exhibition, and was the student director of our Shakespeare Festival productions of Macbeth and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

We are immensely proud of what he has already accomplished and will continue to watch this talented young man grow in his achievements.”