This year’s Elmhurst Ballet Company with its twenty graduate-year members is our largest ‘E.B.C.’ cohort to date and highlights the local, national and international makeup of the school. The company is now in its third iteration and comprises of final year students from across the West Midlands, further afield in the UK and internationally hailing from Australia, Germany, Italy and Japan.
As the current climate casts added pressures on our sector and graduate year, many who have been at Elmhurst for almost eight years, it is paramount we continue to support the young dancers by offering them a diverse range of learning and refining dance opportunities that give them the best chance to succeed beyond their graduation in summer 2021.
Last month Elmhurst Ballet Company experienced a classical ballet mock audition in the Elmhurst theatre space. The guest panel included two Birmingham Royal Ballet Principal Dancers, Samara Downs and Brandon Lawrence, and from The Royal Ballet, former Elmhurst student now Senior Soloist with the company, Tierney Heap. The ‘audition’ ballet class was delivered by Dominic Antonucci, a Ballet Master at Birmingham Royal Ballet. Elmhurst Ballet Company dancers also had the opportunity to perform a classical ballet solo and they were given constructive critique by the panel on all areas of their dancing including technical, musical and performance feedback.
During the autumn term, the school’s links with the award-winning Studio Wayne McGregor strengthened as the company’s Associate Director, Odette Hughes Walker, worked collaboratively with Elmhurst Ballet Company to create a new work, marking the third commission between the school and the London based company. The thirteen minute contemporary dance piece is based on the students’ experience of the Coronavirus pandemic. Each student was given the task of selecting a single word that encapsulated their emotions during the first period of lockdown and this was used as a stimulus to develop their personal movement vocabulary.
The school is extremely grateful to Studio Wayne McGregor and Odette for supporting the students during this difficult period and looks forward to working with them again very soon. The new work will be presented as part of ‘Proxemics’, an evening of dance performed by EBC in February 2021.
The performances will be live-streamed from Elmhurst’s Studio Theatre on Friday 5th and Saturday 6th February. Tickets will be on-sale in the New Year. In ‘Proxemics’, the new commission by Studio Wayne McGregor will be performed alongside excerpts from La Bayadère, plus a collaboration with Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Brandon Lawrence and spoken word artist Davy Lazare, and student choreography.