Elmhurst Ballet Faculty’s one centesimal anniversary

Elmhurst Ballet School is among the world’s prime ballet faculties and is about to have a good time 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 website 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 beneath the Directorship of Carlos Acosta CBE, and an on-going partnership with the award-winning Studio Wayne McGregor, strengthens the varsity’s modern dance provide. 

Elmhurst Ballet Faculty began life as The Mortimer Faculty of Dancing in Camberley in Surrey in 1923. Based by Helen Mortimer within the grounds of an area 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, scholar 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 Training. It grew to become Elmhurst Ballet Faculty in 1947, taking its identify from the Elmhurst constructing that housed the varsity. Pupil numbers had now reached 240. 

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

Stars of stage and display screen skilled 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 purpose of the relocation was to fulfill the rising demand for skilled dance coaching, training 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. Just lately, college students have reached the finals of the BBC Younger Dancer Competitors and, on commencement, alumni be part of skilled dance corporations 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 nearly 70-year household hyperlink with the varsity. On behalf of the Mortimer household, Mick commented: 

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

In these early years, the late forties into fifties, we couldn’t have realised how influenced we might 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 dwelling. Virtually with out noticing, we had been launched to the lasting fantastic thing about motion, music, grace and drama. Every little thing Elmhurst!

Our grandmother’s imaginative and prescient was all the time finest served by the potential for a brand new imaginative and prescient for the varsity. Now Elmhurst is about to have a good time its centenary in its great, built-for-ballet premises in Birmingham. How proud our grandmother Helen could be! We want to say congratulations Elmhurst in your achievements and all good needs in your celebrations. Might 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 shall be loads of nostalgia and reminiscences and we will even take into consideration what a future Elmhurst seems to be like. 

Helen Mortimer’s authentic purpose 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 purpose to proceed to be student-centric – our college students are on the coronary heart of every little thing we do. We need to proceed to ship dance and educational excellence in a caring atmosphere, and prepared the ground with dynamic analysis by our brand-new Analysis and Efficiency Division. We will even proceed to problem and query sector norms and transfer with the instances so Elmhurst stays related for an ever-developing dance sector.”

For extra data: elmhurstballetschool.org