Performing Arts students Kian Crowley and Mia Ssali from New City College Ardleigh Green have won scholarships for a once in a lifetime opportunity to study at AMDA (the American Musical and Dramatic Academy).
The talented pair were selected after an intense audition process that saw two million auditionees worldwide compete for places!
AMDA is known internationally as a platform for nurturing the talents of Broadway, and alumni include pop star Jason Derulo and many other famous faces of the stage and screen. There are two main colleges, one in New York and one in Los Angeles.
Kian, 17, from Hornchurch, who was awarded a $9,000 scholarship per year of study on the Bachelor of Fine Arts and Dance Theatre, based in Los Angeles, said: “I’m so excited to move to LA! My friends and family are so shocked that I’m actually going and at how far I’ve come since my early days at dance school. I’m literally just an average boy from Essex who will now be studying what he loves in the USA! My tutors are very proud and have told me all my hard work has paid off.”
He said the audition was tough. Students had to perform to a panel in small groups and were examined in every move. He added: “We were asked to prepare and present two contrasting pieces so I chose contemporary and tap. Then we were put on the spot and the panel asked us to demonstrate our technique – they would name terminology for us to perform and we had no idea what they were going to ask next. They were really testing what we had learned.”
Mia, 18, from Romford, won a $15,000 scholarship per year for a Bachelor of Fine Arts and Musical Theatre programme. Her audition process was slightly different, having to present two written assignments for submission, including an autobiographical piece.
She said: “Everything I have done at New City College has helped me get to where I am today and given me the confidence to audition and study further. We do a lot of audition prep in class, which has helped a lot! In musical theatre we break down the different aspects to focus on, like characterisation through song, which is needed in musical theatre auditions. My written work has really improved too – my tutors have encouraged me and supported me on this and it shows.”
Kian also praised his tutors, saying: “I will really miss the teachers here at Ardleigh Green. They take the time to get to know you as individuals, they work with you on your personal strengths and really encourage your talent. The college has done so much to help my confidence and improve my skills as a dancer and definitely made me want to continue studying in this industry.”
Janet Smith, Principal of NCC Havering’s Ardleigh Green and Sixth Form campuses, both in Hornchurch, said: “I am incredibly proud of the achievement of both Kian and Mia. I have watched them grow as performers during their time at the college and the standard they have reached is exceptional.
“It is a real credit to their hard work and dedication – and the work of their teachers – that they have been so successful in gaining these prestigious scholarships. I wish them every success in this next exciting step in their performing careers.”