The Duke of York is Patron of The Place and this year a new scholarship was established in his name. Deepraj’s story, including his involvement in the Backing Youth event, is recounted here by Professor Veronica Lewis, MBE, Director of London Contemporary Dance School:
In July 2013 Deepraj Singh became the first Duke of York Scholar at London Contemporary Dance School. The award was made possible through the generosity of His Royal Highness who has been Patron of the school since 1988. The scholarship aims to support undergraduate students from the UK who have the potential to become successful dance artists of the future, but whom without support, would not be able to benefit from training.
Deepraj, from Bristol, started capoeira angola at the age of 8 and it was his interest in the movement quality and musicality that led him to take up dance a few years later. He performed in several local dance projects before joining Kinesis Youth Dance Company. Whilst studying GCSE and A-Level dance, Deepraj successfully auditioned for Youth Dance Academy (Swindon Dance Centre for Advanced Training), initially training in urban dance (locking, popping and breaking) before moving onto contemporary.
Deepraj joined London Contemporary Dance School in September 2012. He was one of a select group of first year students chosen to perform at Backing Youth, an event hosted by The Duke of York at Buckingham Palace. To Deepraj’s great surprise, on meeting His Royal Highness he learnt of the scholarship and moments later performed to a specially invited audience in the intimate space of the Picture Gallery.
Deepraj is immensely grateful for the scholarship and thanked The Duke for ‘believing in my potential and helping to relieve some of the financial burden.’ His family are all incredibly proud and Deepraj has begun his second year of training with renewed confidence and an even greater passion for dance.
Professor Veronica Lewis, MBE, Director of London Contemporary Dance School