Elmhurst Ballet College’s a centesimal anniversary

Elmhurst Ballet School is likely one of the world’s high ballet faculties and is about to have fun its 100th anniversary in 2023. 

The varsity will commemorate the momentous milestone throughout its Elmhurst 100: Extra Futures to Form marketing campaign, with centenary performances, alumni and fundraising occasions within the 2022-23 educational yr.

Her Majesty The Queen Consort – previously HRH The Duchess of Cornwall – has been Patron of Elmhurst since 2006 and final visited the Birmingham web site in January 2020, marking her fourth go to to the varsity.

Elmhurst enjoys a detailed affiliation with Birmingham Royal Ballet, the UK’s premiere touring ballet firm below the Directorship of Carlos Acosta CBE, and an on-going partnership with the award-winning Studio Wayne McGregor, strengthens the varsity’s up to date dance supply. 

Elmhurst Ballet College began life as The Mortimer College of Dancing in Camberley in Surrey in 1923. Based by Helen Mortimer within the grounds of a neighborhood preparatory faculty, it had a small in-take of younger dance college students earlier than the varsity expanded and a senior faculty was added. By 1933, pupil numbers hit 60.

The varsity survived the Second World Warfare years – college students danced in 59 exhibits for the troops – and in 1945 it was recognised by the Ministry of Schooling. It grew to become Elmhurst Ballet College in 1947, taking its title from the Elmhurst constructing that housed the varsity. Pupil numbers had now reached 240. 

In the course of the many years to comply with, glitterati of the ballet world, many dancers turned dance educationalists, made their mark on the varsity and Elmhurst’s worldwide popularity went from power to power. The late Bridget Espinosa, a profitable dancer and Elmhurst alumna was Creative Director from 1966-75, and Alfreda Thorogood, a former Principal dancer with The Royal Ballet was Creative Director of Dance from 1994-2004. At present’s Elmhurst additionally advantages from two former dancers on the helm: Jessica Ward, Principal since 2010; and Robert Parker, Creative Director since 2012 following his retirement as a Principal dancer from Birmingham Royal Ballet. 

Stars of stage and display educated on the faculty throughout its Camberley years, together with Dame Merle Parke DBE, Hayley Mills, Juliet Mills, Jenny Agutter, Susie Blake, Fiona Fullerton, Sarah Brightman, Helen Baxendale and Hermione Norris. 

Elmhurst’s high-profile relocation to Birmingham in 2004 was overseen by the then Principal John McNamara and supported by the UK Authorities, Birmingham Metropolis Council and Birmingham Royal Ballet. The goal of the relocation was to satisfy the rising demand for skilled dance coaching, schooling and analysis exterior of London. The invaluable hyperlink with Birmingham Royal Ballet was additionally initiated. 

2022 and Elmhurst has firmly secured its place amongst the highest ballet faculties on the earth, attracting native, nationwide and worldwide dance college students to Birmingham. Not too long ago, college students have reached the finals of the BBC Younger Dancer Competitors and, on commencement, alumni be a part of skilled dance firms within the UK and abroad, or some safe college locations to boost their educational achievements. 

Mick Mortimer, grandson of the varsity’s founder, started working at Elmhurst in 1979. When he retired in 1992 his tenure ended an virtually 70-year household hyperlink with the varsity. On behalf of the Mortimer household, Mick commented: 

My brothers Lawrence, Christopher and I have been born to Elmhurst…however to not dance! In our very early years, we lived on the faculty and there was dance all over the place…we have been by no means wanting leisure!

In these early years, the late forties into fifties, we couldn’t have realised how influenced we’d be by our extraordinary background. As we grew up it grew to become clear how particular Elmhurst was to us, and never simply as our house. Virtually with out noticing, we have been launched to the lasting great thing about motion, music, grace and drama. All the things Elmhurst!

Our grandmother’s imaginative and prescient was all the time greatest served by the opportunity of a brand new imaginative and prescient for the varsity. Now Elmhurst is about to have fun its centenary in its great, built-for-ballet premises in Birmingham. How proud our grandmother Helen could be! We wish to say congratulations Elmhurst in your achievements and all good needs in your celebrations. Could your success all the time proceed.”

Jessica Ward, the varsity’s ninth and present Principal: 

Elmhurst at 100 is a really particular second within the faculty’s historical past and we’re thrilled to mark the event with quite a lot of centenary occasions. There will probably be loads of nostalgia and reminiscences and we may also take into consideration what a future Elmhurst appears like. 

Helen Mortimer’s unique goal for the 1923 faculty was to arrange college students for the calls for of a profession in dance and drama. 100 years on and we’re extraordinarily proud that her founding precept nonetheless stands. 

Past our centenary, we goal to proceed to be student-centric – our college students are on the coronary heart of every little thing we do. We wish to proceed to ship dance and educational excellence in a caring surroundings, and paved the way with dynamic analysis by means of our brand-new Analysis and Efficiency Division. We may also proceed to problem and query sector norms and transfer with the instances so Elmhurst stays related for an ever-developing dance sector.”

For extra info: elmhurstballetschool.org