Ashton Event at Elmhurst

Wednesday January 25th 2023

At the beginning of the spring term, Elmhurst hosted a special event for Birmingham Royal Ballet and The Frederick Ashton Foundation. The Foundation’s overarching purpose is to enrich the legacy of Frederick Ashton and his ballets by developing the skills of those who are registered to teach, coach and stage Ashton's ballets.

During the evening, Christopher Nourse, Executive Director of The Frederick Ashton Foundation introduced Lesley Collier, a former Principal dancer with The Royal Ballet who facilitated a masterclass coaching the central pas de deux from Ashton’s Rhapsody.

The one act ballet was originally created on one principal couple, Lesley Collier and Mikhail Baryshnikov, and a corps de ballet of six men and six women. The ballet premiered at the Royal Opera House on 4th August 1980 and was dedicated to Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother on the occasion of her 80th birthday. 

Birmingham Royal Ballet dancers Oscar Kempsey-Fagg, a former Elmhurst student, and Frieda Kaden danced beautifully as Lesley coached them during the masterclass in the Elmhurst Studio Theatre. Audience members enjoyed Lynne Wake's film Frederick Ashton: Links in the Chain during the second part of the evening.

Robert Parker, artistic director of Elmhurst Ballet School, said: "Elmhurst was thrilled to partner with The Frederick Ashton Foundation and Birmingham Royal Ballet to host this memorable evening of dance at the school. We very much enjoyed welcoming audience members and distinguished guests of the ballet sector to Elmhurst, especially during our Centenary year."

Our building and studios host many organisations throughout the year. Facilities available to hire include a 220-seat theatre, seven dance studios, classrooms, onsite accommodation for up to 127 people (Easter and Summer school holidays), and offsite accommodation (a 10-minute walk from our main site) for up to 47 people (Easter and Summer school holidays). For more information, please contact

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