Today, Elmhurst Ballet School, the vocational school in association with Birmingham Royal Ballet, announces details of its annual summer shows. From 5th to 11th July 2019, ‘Awakenings’ will bring to life a diverse programme of dance by world leading guest choreographers, the school’s artistic staff, and students whose talent shines in choreography as well as performance.
Elmhurst Ballet School moved from Surrey to Birmingham in 2004 and celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2023. It is a world-renowned centre of excellence and prepares talented young dancers aged between 11 and 19 to become the thinking dance professionals of the future. The mixed programme of Lower, Upper and Whole School Awakenings shows, presented in Elmhurst’s studio theatre, will evidence this as the students perform classical ballet to cutting edge contemporary dance. Always a favourite with audiences, flamenco makes a fiery return too!
The Upper School shows include Wayne McGregor’s Entity (excerpt) performed by the very first Elmhurst Ballet Company made up of graduate students who are about to leave the school and enter professional dance companies at home and across the world. Wayne McGregor CBE, Artistic Director of Studio Wayne McGregor and Resident Choreographer of The Royal Ballet, Covent Garden, is a Vice President of Elmhurst and the recent appointment marks an ongoing partnership between Elmhurst Ballet School and Studio Wayne McGregor.
More contemporary dance pieces choreographed by Daniela Cardim, Stephen Delattre and Hannah Lockyer will showcase the versatility of the young dancers, and Ana Garcia, the school’s flamenco teacher, creates a new work for students across all Upper School year groups. Creating a jazz piece for Elmhurst Ballet Company (the graduate year) is Nikki Woollaston whose choreographic credits include Anton and Erin (2015 and 2016 tours); Porgy and Bess (Royal Danish Opera, Copenhagen); Ballroom to Broadway Tour (Anton Du Beke – 2014 Tour); The King’s Speech (Wyndhams Theatre & UK tour); Oklahoma! (Chichester Festival Theatre); and The King and I (UK tour).
Completing the Upper School performances will be excerpts from Peter Wright’s The Sleeping Beauty, one of the grandest ballets ever created, with a classical score by Tchaikovsky and original choreography by Marius Petipa. Sir Peter Wright's 1984 production is acclaimed as one of the best in the world. Watch as students awaken their talents through Wright’s choreography, and with thanks to the wardrobe department of Birmingham Royal Ballet they adorn the production’s stunning tutus and costumes designed by Philip Prowse.
For the Lower School students and shows, alumnus James Lovell returns to the school to create a new work for Year 11, the final year of the Lower School. Lovell graduated from Elmhurst a year early in 2018 to join the cast of Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake for which he received rave reviews for his portrayal of The Prince. Elmhurst encourages its students from all year groups to create dance, and the Lower School shows will present choreography by Year 10 Ronnie Bates (Lower School Choreography Competition winner), Year 11 Olivia Chang-Clarke (David Bintley Choreographic Award and recent Phyllis Bedells Bursary Award winner) and Year 11 Serena McCall (Elmhurst Ballet School Choreographic winner, Bloch EU artist and Can You Dance UK ‘Dance Star’).
Some of the Elmhurst Young Dancers from the school’s weekend classes will perform during the Lower School show on Sunday 7th July at 2pm.
The Whole School come together in four performances during the summer run of shows, giving audiences an opportunity to see the impressive range of choreography on offer including the works by Peter Wright, Wayne McGregor, Daniela Cardim and Stephen Delattre.