London Contemporary Dance School
Image: Camilla Greenwell
Veronica Lewis, former Joint Principal of the Conservatoire for Dance and Drama, has been awarded a CBE in the New Year Honours List for 2019 for Services to Higher Education in Dance, Drama and Circus Arts in the UK and Abroad.
Veronica’s lifelong belief in the power of the performing arts to enrich lives from toddlers to elders has led to a career focussed on forging accessible pathways into these disciplines.
In her early career, Veronica worked across England as a Gulbenkian Dance Fellow, and was one of the first dance animateurs – highly skilled practitioners whose role was to encourage greater participation in the arts – in a nationwide programme funded by the Arts Council. She was a pioneering force in establishing the national Centres for Advanced Training (CATS) in Dance which enable aspiring young dancers to attend regular classes with their peers from the age of ten, and the Dance and Drama Awards (DaDAs) which help talented students with the cost of performing arts training.
Veronica was Principal of London Contemporary Dance School at The Place for 19 years. During this time, she was instrumental in the founding of the Conservatoire for Dance and Drama, now a thriving Higher Education Provider comprising specialist schools delivering world-leading education and vocational training in the performing arts. The Conservatoire model has enabled young people from all backgrounds to access training at these outstanding schools, contributing to the UK’s worldwide reputation for innovative leadership in performing arts education. Veronica served as Joint Principal for the Conservatoire until 2014 and retired from her role as Principal of LCDS in December 2017.
Veronica Lewis said: “I feel honoured to receive this award. It has been my life mission to make education in the performing arts available to all, regardless of personal circumstance. The founding of the Conservatoire was a central part of that mission and it’s been wonderful to see how the institution has grown and thrived in the higher education sector.”
James Smith, Chair of the Conservatoire Board of Governors, said: “The Conservatoire could not have got going nor prospered without Veronica. Her love of the arts and of students from all backgrounds shines through in all she does.”
[Image: Veronica Lewis with the recipients of the Principal’s Award Alethia Antonia and Frankie Hickman at London Contemporary Dance School leavers Ceremony 2017. Photo by Alicia Clarke.]