We are thrilled that a number of our young students have been selected to perform in Sir Peter Wright’s world-famous production of The Nutcracker at Birmingham Hippodrome (22 November – 14 December) and the Royal Albert Hall in London (28 – 31 December) this Christmas season 2019.
Year 7 student Wesley Mpakati from Tyseley in Birmingham and Year 9 student Joseph Burdett from Plymouth both successfully auditioned for the role of ‘Fritz’ in front of Marion Tait, BRB’s Acting Director. The character of young Fritz appears in Act One of the much-loved production and helps the story unfold when he mischievously takes a Christmas present meant for his sister Clara.
Other students joining Wesley and Joseph and also dancing in the Birmingham Hippodrome performances are: Holly Guiney (Year 7) from London; Leo Luscombe (Year 7) from Plymouth; Benedict Harrison (Year 8) from Bromsgrove; and Thomas Kujawa (Year 9) from Isle of Wight.
In this production of The Nutcracker, first seen in Birmingham almost thirty years ago, young Clara is swept away into an enchanting winter wonderland of dancing snowflakes and a Sugar Plum Fairy. Year after year, a magical Christmas tree and a handsome prince with his army of toy soldiers continues to engage audiences of all ages. The Elmhurst students will join other young children, 60 BRB dancers and the Royal Ballet Sinfonia in the annual Christmas treat that The Sunday Times said ‘no other version comes close’ to.
Wesley, Joseph and Benedict joined the Lower School from our ‘Elmhurst Young Dancers’ programme. The programme of weekend classes for younger children helps to prepare them for full-time vocational training and another step closer to a professional career in dance. The weekend classes are held in Birmingham, Manchester, Plymouth and Sunderland.
Denise Whiteman, Director of Dance Training and Elmhurst Young Dancers: “On behalf of everyone at Elmhurst and the Young Dancers programme, I wish all our students taking part in this magical production, a very special time over the coming months. This is a fantastic experience for them and it also inspires the next cohort of students who wish to pursue a career in dance. Without the generosity of our supporters, including The Cecil King Memorial Foundation, our Elmhurst Young Dancers programme might not exist and a young person’s talent for dance could be missed.”
Through our on-going relationship with BRB, our students continue to enjoy close links with the main company, not only exposed to its incredible history and repertoire but they also take part in company class, experience company dancer and staff visits to the school, and have opportunities to tour both nationally and internationally, most recently in David Bintley’s Hobson’s Choice, and David Bintley and Galina Samsova’s Giselle.
Photograph credit: Birmingham Royal Ballet in Peter Wright’s The Nutcracker. Bill Cooper