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Press Release: Elmhurst Ballet School presents its summer show programme 2017

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Elmhurst Ballet School presents its summer show programme 2017




  • Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Director David Bintley choreographs his first work for the school
  • Explosions Polka by Sir Frederick Ashton performed for the first time in over thirty years
  • Specially commissioned contemporary dance works by guest choreographers 
  • Three programmes of performances showcase Elmhurst Young Dancers and Lower, Upper and Graduate School students 



Photo credit: David Bintley, Director of Birmingham Royal Ballet, creates Komic Kutz, his first work for the school on Elmhurst students – photography by Ty Singleton




Under the leadership of Principal Jessica Wheeler and Artistic Director Robert Parker, Elmhurst Ballet School, the associate school of Birmingham Royal Ballet, announces details of Summer Variations, its summer show programme for 2017. The shows take place at Elmhurst’s studio theatre in the school’s Birmingham home from Friday 7 to Friday 14 July 2017. 


A major coup for Elmhurst, David Bintley CBE, Director of Birmingham Royal Ballet, choreographs his first work for the school. Entitled Komic Kutz, the 15 minute work in five sections has been choreographed on Upper School students. The witty bursts of entertainment will showcase the personalities of each dancer.


Bintley is one of the major players in British ballet: first as a marvellously musical and entertaining character dancer with what was then Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet; for 20 years now, as Director of the company it became, Birmingham Royal Ballet; and, throughout, as one of the most distinguished neo-classical choreographers of the modern age. Bintley is also an Artistic Advisor of Elmhurst Ballet School. 


Komic Kutz is set to the music of Raymond Scott, whose scores were adapted for many 1930s cartoon classics such as Warner Brothers’ Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig and Daffy Duck from the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series. Scott's melodies can also be heard in contemporary shows such as The Simpsons and Batfink


David Bintley said: I have very much enjoyed returning to Elmhurst to choreograph my new piece for the summer show. Many of Birmingham Royal Ballet’s current dancers trained at the school, and former dancers have gone on to teach there, so it is an incredibly important part of the Company. The Upper School students have impressed me with their professionalism, energy and enthusiasm. Many of them will be graduating from the school this summer, and I wish them all the best for the future.


A highlight of the school’s year, the summer show is an opportunity for students from across the Lower and Upper Schools to showcase their dance talent. It also marks the final school performances for the graduate students as they bid farewell to Elmhurst and join professional dance companies across the world. 


Summer Variations’ mix of repertoire is choreographed and restaged by Elmhurst’s vocational staff and guest choreographers and highlights the range of work embraced by the students over the course of a year, such as ballet, character, contemporary, jazz and flamenco dance. The shows emphasise the diversity of styles that equip an Elmhurst student, making them ready for today’s profession and beyond. 


Divided into three programmes: Lower School (Year 7-11), to include Elmhurst Young Dancers on Sunday 9July; Upper School (Year 12-14); and concluding with two shows performed by the entire school; the Summer Variations’ repertoire in 2017 is the result of some exciting collaborations


Restaged for the first time in over thirty years, with thanks to the Frederick Ashton Foundation, the Upper School’s Year 13 students will perform Sir Frederick Ashton’s Explosions Polka.  The rarely seen divertissement, revived for Elmhurst by Ann Whitley, accompanied Ashton’s Voices of Spring pas de deux in the Royal Opera’s 1977 production of Die Fledermaus. The ensemble piece was last performed during the 1984 Christmas season at the Royal Opera House.


Throughout their training at Elmhurst, students are introduced to choreographers from across the world and closer to home. French-born Stéphen Delattre, Choreographer and Director of Delattre Dance Company, has been commissioned to create a contemporary dance work on Graduate students and Birmingham based contemporary dance choreographer Adam Rutherford will create a new piece for Lower School Year 11 students. 


Elmhurst vocational staff creating and restaging work for the shows are Sarah Blackwell, Ana Garcia, Laura Green, Gloria Grigolato, James Grundy, Michael Ho, Nicky Linzie, Hannah Lockyer, Susan Lucas, Jenny MacNamara, Graeme Pickering, Errol Pickford, Lee Robinson, Judith Rowann, Andrea Tredinnick, Denise Whiteman (Assistant Artistic Director), David Yow and Lei Zhao. 


Also included in Summer Variations are two short pieces by Year 9 student Olivia Chang-Clarke and Year 13 student Chloe Jones. Both are recipients of Elmhurst’s annual David Bintley Choreographic Awards and both choreographed on their respective year groups. 


Robert Parker, Artistic Director of Elmhurst Ballet School, said: There’s always a buzz throughout the school as students and staff prepare for the summer shows. The link to Birmingham Royal Ballet is extremely important to Elmhurst and so it’s a real honour to have David Bintley creating a work for the students, his first for the school. It’s wonderful experience for the students to dance choreography by Sir Frederick Ashton too. All this combined with bringing in choreographers from today’s contemporary dance scene, helps our students to develop as versatile artists and people.”


Parker continued: “Summer Variations would not be possible without the invaluable support and tireless input of Elmhurst staff, and of course, our incredible students. On behalf of the entire school, I look forward to welcoming parents, friends and supporters to Summer Variations in 2017. 





Elmhurst Ballet School – Summer Variations – Summer Show 2017 performance schedule: 


249 Bristol Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B5 7UH


Friday 7 July at 7:00 pm Lower School Performance 

Saturday 8 July at 7.00pm Upper School Performance

Sunday 9 July at 2:00 pm Lower School & Elmhurst Young Dancers Performance 

Tuesday 11 July    at 7:00pm Upper School Performance 

Wednesday 12 July at 2:00pm Lower School Performance 

Wednesday 12 July at 7:00pm Upper School Performance 

Thursday 13 July at 7:00pm Whole School Performance 

Friday 14 July at 2:30pm Whole School Performance 


Elmhurst Ballet School is the oldest vocational dance school in the UK. Founded in 1923, in Camberley, Surrey, it relocated to Edgbaston in Birmingham in 2004. The modern school, under the leadership of Principal Jessica Wheeler and Artistic Director Robert Parker (former Principal dancer with Birmingham Royal Ballet) is the only purpose-built vocational dance school in Europe and includes a studio theatre, seven dance studios, academic classrooms, on-site accommodation and a state of the art Health and Well-being Centre. 


Elmhurst Ballet School is a world-renowned for the training and education of classical ballet dancers and the school benefits greatly from its association with Birmingham Royal Ballet which offers students significant performance opportunities and inspiration.


The school takes a holistic approach to professional dance training and believes for students to thrive in a specialist vocational environment, the three strands of its Live, Dance and Learn philosophies are equally important. Elmhurst aims to nurture the thinking classical ballet professional of the future - healthy and well-rounded human beings who are trained and educated to outstanding artistic and academic standards. 



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A pity that the Lower School and Elmhurst Young Dancers Performance on 9th July clashes with the RBS main house matinee - but good to see that, unlike last year, there don't seem to be other clashes with RBS end of year performances.

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