Date: 9th Sep 2016
A Buckinghamshire New University graduate has won an award for gaining the highest mark in her BA (Hons) Dance and Performance degree.
Alex Gifford achieved a first-class honours degree after gaining a mark of 72% and received her degree in a ceremony at the Wycombe Swan theatre, in High Wycombe.
The ambitious graduate said she was 'shocked' to win the award and now intends to pursue opportunities in business-orientated roles such as arts administration.
Alex, who also trained in dance at Miskin Theatre in Dartford, Kent, said: "When I heard that I had won the award I was shocked as it was completely unexpected. It's so nice that all of the hard work and effort that went into my work has paid off and been recognised by the University.
"Dance has always been an important part of my life since taking dance lessons at a young age. This led to competing at national competitions and now teaching choreography for Stage Theatre Society, a youth theatre company based in Kent.
"So, when it came to choosing a degree I wanted to focus on something that I loved while continuing to learn and build upon existing skills that would be transferable and invaluable, thus enabling me to inspire others.
"Within the course, I enjoyed many aspects but in particular I really enjoyed the business part of the degree. I went to University to study dance as my main goal was to perform but through the completion of my degree I now find myself wanting to focus on a career in a more business orientated role such as arts administration."
Lotti Nichol, Dance Lecturer, said: "As a lecturer in Dance and Performance I had the privilege of teaching Alex on the degree in a second year scenography module and in the third year as her dissertation tutor.
"Her dissertation on anxiety in dancers was just a culmination of the skills, knowledge, experience and incredible development she made over the course of her studies.
"Alex has always been a conscientious student who gained increasing confidence in her ability to succeed in her work in both the practice of dance choreography and technique and her critical approach to studying the discipline of dance.
"In light of this I know that she will be successful in whatever she wishes for her future career. I believe she truly deserves this award in honour of the consistently high level of commitment she gave to her studies."
Alex was supported at her graduation by parents Ralph, a civil servant, and Sandra, a banking advisor.
First picture caption: Alex Gifford with the Dance teaching team.
Third picture caption: Graduates from the Dance programmes at Bucks New University.