Elmhurst Ballet Faculty’s one hundredth anniversary

Elmhurst Ballet School is without doubt one of the world’s prime ballet colleges and is about to rejoice its 100th anniversary in 2023. 

The college 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 tutorial 12 months.

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 college.

Elmhurst enjoys an in depth 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 college’s up to date 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 college, it had a small in-take of younger dance college students earlier than the college expanded and a senior college was added. By 1933, pupil numbers hit 60.

The college survived the Second World Conflict years – college students danced in 59 reveals for the troops – and in 1945 it was recognised by the Ministry of Training. It turned Elmhurst Ballet Faculty in 1947, taking its title from the Elmhurst constructing that housed the college. Scholar 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 college and Elmhurst’s worldwide repute 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. At this time’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 educated on the college 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 satisfy 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 colleges 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 part of skilled dance firms within the UK and abroad, or some safe college locations to reinforce their tutorial achievements. 

Mick Mortimer, grandson of the college’s founder, started working at Elmhurst in 1979. When he retired in 1992 his tenure ended an virtually 70-year household hyperlink with the college. 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 college 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 might be by our extraordinary background. As we grew up it turned clear how particular Elmhurst was to us, and never simply as our residence. Virtually with out noticing, we have been launched to the lasting great thing about motion, music, grace and drama. Every little thing Elmhurst!

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

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

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

Helen Mortimer’s authentic purpose for the 1923 college was to organize 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 the whole lot we do. We wish to proceed to ship dance and tutorial excellence in a caring setting, and prepared the ground with dynamic analysis by means of our brand-new Analysis and Efficiency Division. We may even proceed to problem and query sector norms and transfer with the occasions so Elmhurst stays related for an ever-developing dance sector.”

For extra data: elmhurstballetschool.org