Following an exciting inaugural year that included performances in Birmingham, and in London at the Lilian Baylis Studio, Sadler’s Wells, dancers of the first-ever Elmhurst Ballet Company hand over the reins to the 2019 – 2020 graduate year students and bid farewell to Elmhurst Ballet School, as they continue their professional paths with a range of dance opportunities in the UK and overseas.
Elmhurst Ballet Company, set up in 2018, bridges the gap between school and professional life and equips final year students with the necessary skills and attributes to help secure dance employment and apprenticeship opportunities.
The Class of 2019 join a long list of Elmhurst alumni who are currently working in professional dance settings both nationally and internationally.
In August, Ryan Felix joins Birmingham Royal Ballet as an Apprentice and the third recipient of the ‘Birmingham Royal Ballet and Elmhurst Ballet School Award for Excellence’. This annual award is made possible by a generous gift from an anonymous donor and funds one exceptional Elmhurst graduate to join Birmingham Royal Ballet on a one-year apprenticeship. Ryan follows in the footsteps of Jade Wallace, 2017 awardee, and Joseph Taylor, awardee in 2018, and joins other Elmhurst alumni who are currently dancing with Birmingham Royal Ballet: James Barton; Laura-Jane Gibson; Rosanna Ely; Miles Gilliver; Emma Price; Hamish Scott; and Joseph Taylor.
Also staying in the UK is Amy Turner-Daly who joins the Professional Graduate Programme at Northern Ballet where former ‘Elm’ Abigail Prudames is Principal Soloist.
Taking the Elmhurst Ballet School and Company names further afield to work internationally: Nina Avrillon-Rivault joins Ballet de Catalunya as Trainee; Andrea Canalicchio joins Moravian National Theatre in Olomouc in the Czech Republic; Samantha Clay and Isla Ghali join the Junior Company of Compagnie Chorégraphique François Mauduit in Toulouse, France; Amelia Hancock joins Cork City Ballet in Ireland; Ellie Hennequin joins Teatrul de Balet Sibiu in Romania; Joseph Tidswell joins Serbian National Ballet; Theresa Tan joins Europaballett in Austria as a Trainee; and heading to the United States of America is Samuel Parham who joins the Studio Company of Sarasota Ballet in Florida, and Kirsty Walker joins Orlando Ballet, Florida, as a Trainee. Olivia Duran joins global cruise line MSC Cruises.
Alex Johnson leaves Elmhurst to pursue a career in teaching and has gained a coveted place on the Royal Academy of Dance ‘Professional Dancers’ Teaching Diploma’ course.
Francesca Hardwick and Nicholas Vavrecka have been offered ‘Elmhurst Ballet School Graduate Placements’. This one year award allows graduating students to continue their training in kind and gain invaluable experience across all school including Artistic, Boarding, Development and Communications, and Health and Wellbeing departments.
Eleanor Waite continues her training at the Kings International Ballet Academy (UK) and Emilia Rouanet Feliu seeks out opportunities to continue dance training in the UK.
In the last three years alone, Elmhurst alumni have gone on to work with Aalto Ballett Theater, Essen; Atlantic City Ballet, Ailey II, Ajkun Ballet Theatre, and Sarasota Ballet, all in the USA; Birmingham Royal Ballet; Ballet Black; Ballet Cymru; Balletto di Siena in Italy; Ballet Di Catalunya; Ballet Nice Méditerranée; Cork City Ballet; Compagnie Chorégraphique François Mauduit, France; Northern Ballet’s professional apprenticeship programme, UK; Estonian National Ballet; Vanemuine Ballet, Estonia; Romanian National Ballet; Tokyo Ballet; Vienna Staatsballett; Vienna Festival Ballet: and Wroclaw Opera Ballet in Poland. A small number of students have gone on to perform in professional musical theatre productions (includes UK and International tour of CATS, West End production of An American in Paris) and some decide to study at University and their UCAS applications are supported by the school.
Image credit: Andrew Ross