Elmhurst Ballet College’s one hundredth anniversary

Elmhurst Ballet School is among the world’s prime ballet faculties and is about to have fun 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 underneath the Directorship of Carlos Acosta CBE, and an on-going partnership with the award-winning Studio Wayne McGregor, strengthens the college’s modern 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 college expanded and a senior faculty was added. By 1933, pupil numbers hit 60.

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

Through 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 fame went from energy to energy. 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. In the present day’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 intention 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 this planet, 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 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 faculty and there was dance in all places…we have been by no means in need of 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 dwelling. Virtually with out noticing, we have been launched to the lasting great thing about motion, music, grace and drama. Every part Elmhurst!

Our grandmother’s imaginative and prescient was at all times finest served by the potential for a brand new imaginative and prescient for the college. Now Elmhurst is about to have fun its centenary in its great, built-for-ballet premises in Birmingham. How proud our grandmother Helen can be! We want to say congratulations Elmhurst in your achievements and all good needs on your celebrations. Might your success at all times proceed.”

Jessica Ward, the college’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 a lot of centenary occasions. There might be loads of nostalgia and recollections and we will even take into consideration what a future Elmhurst appears to be like like. 

Helen Mortimer’s unique intention 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 intention to proceed to be student-centric – our college students are on the coronary heart of the whole lot we do. We need to proceed to ship dance and tutorial 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