At Elmhurst we love our close relationships with friends from across the dance sector and further afield. They help us to stay informed, current and relevant whilst supporting and inspiring our students and staff. Once again the dance sector and beyond came up trumps during lockdown to engage with the entire school. Among them, multi award-winning choreographers and a few of the many Elmhurst alumni who have gone on to have glittering careers.
On the 10th July, the last day of the academic year, we hosted an ‘in conversation with’ Sir Matthew Bourne OBEwho engaged with all our students across both schools, and as Sir Matthew was broadcast to students’ homes across the world via Zoom, we hear excited parents listened in too!
Sir Matthew Bourne OBE is widely hailed as the UK’s most popular and successful choreographer and director, and the artistic director of New Adventures. For over 30 years he has been creating and directing dance for musicals, theatre, film as well as his own highly successful, award-winning companies.
Matthew is the creator of the world’s longest running ballet production, a record-breaking eight-time Olivier Award winner and the only British director to have won the Tony Award for both Best Choreographer and Best Director of a Musical.
He has been recognised by over 40 international awards, including following Dame Margot Fonteyn as only the second dance recipient of the Hamburg Shakespeare Prize for the Arts and being the first recipient, in the arts category, of The British Inspiration Award. He is also the proud recipient of the Evening Standard Award, South Bank Show Award, Time Out Special Award, Drama Desk Award, six Los Angles Drama Critic Awards and the Astaire Award for Dance on Broadway.
In 2007 he received a Special Theatre Managers Association Award for services to dance touring and audience development and was awarded the OBE for Services to Dance in 2001.
Also making use of the Zoom craze and broadcasting their brilliance and expertise to our students was Wayne McGregor CBE, a multi award-winning British choreographer and director, internationally renowned for trailblazing innovations in performance that have radically redefined dance in the modern era. Driven by an insatiable curiosity about movement and its creative potentials, his experiments have led him into collaborative dialogue with an array of artistic forms, scientific disciplines, and technological interventions. The startling and multi-dimensional works resulting from these interactions have ensured McGregor’s position at the cutting edge of contemporary arts for over twenty-five years. We are proud that Wayne is also one of the school’s Vice Presidents and supports our students and senior team throughout the year. We look forward to our relationship with Studio Wayne McGregor developing and going from strength to strength over the next few years.
At Elmhurst we concentrate on the students’ mental health as equally as their physical well-being. For that reason, and especially as the effects of lockdown potentially called for new coping mechanisms, we invited Niall O'Carroll, Sports Psychologist to speak with our students during three online sessions, one for the Upper School and two for our younger students across the Lower School. Over the past decade, Niall has been responsible for developing and driving high-performance programmes for both corporate and sporting organisations around the world, including the number one sales team in Canada, a World Champion team and 27 individual Olympic Champions.
Currently Niall is Chief of Programme for a Tech Wellbeing start-up helping organisations to drive high performance environments through emotional balance and behavioural awareness. Niall is a global leader in his field and with his energy, positivity and invaluable advice for our students, we’ll definitely be inviting him back to school again soon!
We were also thrilled to welcome Amy Dalton-Hardy, a freelance consultant, Executive & Creative Producer to school, also via Zoom. Amy’s current clients are: Earth-bound; Xzibit Young Creatives; Creative Leamington; Patsy Browne-Hope; Matthew Lambden; Chantry Dance Company; and Flexus Dance Collective. She is a Board member of Yugen Arts and a Trustee of Circomedia Centre for Contemporary Circus & Physical Theatre. Amy talked to our students and answered questions about the process of fundraising for their own dance projects.
Our students also received some wonderful ‘lockdown’ messages of support from alumni Joshua Barwick (a former dancer with Rambert and currently Company Wayne McGregor) and Nicol Edmonds (a soloist of The Royal Ballet).