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Press Release: The Duchess of Cornwall will visit Elmhurst Ballet School in Birmingham on 22 January 2020

Jan McNulty

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The Duchess of Cornwall will visit Elmhurst Ballet School in Birmingham on 22 January 2020


Media release: Monday 13 January 2020 – The Duchess of Cornwall will visit Elmhurst Ballet School, the vocational school in association with Birmingham Royal Ballet, on 22 January 2020. Her Royal Highness has been Patron of Elmhurst since 2006 and this will be her fourth visit to the Edgbaston based school.




Her Royal Highness will be received by the Lord Lieutenant for the West Midlands, Mr John Crabtree OBE, and introduced to the Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Councillor Mohammed Azim, and his consort Lady Mayoress Bushra Bi, Principal of Elmhurst Ballet School Jessica Wheeler, and the school’s Chair of Governors Mr Daniel Howard.

Her Royal Highness will observe a Year 7 ballet class, watch a performance in the school’s studio theatre and take a short tour of Elmhurst’s state-of-the-art Health and Wellbeing Centre.


The Health and Wellbeing Centre, in development the last time Her Royal Highness visited the school in 2014, was officially opened in 2016 by Carlos Acosta, international ballet star and new Director of Birmingham Royal Ballet. The centre offers a wide range of services and facilities, including a purpose built physiotherapy and exercise suite. Run by a dedicated team, the centre includes specialists in paediatric and emergency nursing, dance injury prevention and management support, performance enhancement coaching, counselling services, and access to The Young Performers’ Health Trust Scheme, a bespoke healthcare provision for elite dance students, pioneered by the school.


Her Royal Highness will meet a number of school representatives, including: Head Boy Bradley Howell from Devon, and Head Girl Maddie Irwin from Cheshire, both currently Upper School students in their penultimate year of training; Annelli Peavot, Assistant Principal responsible for Health, Wellbeing and Safeguarding; and Nico Kolokythas, the school’s award-winning Performance Enhancement Coach and a University of Wolverhampton PhD candidate who continues to conduct pioneering studies to challenge attitudes and approaches to ballet training, and dance injury prevention and management strategies.


Jessica Wheeler, Principal of Elmhurst Ballet School, said: “It is always a great pleasure to welcome Her Royal Highness, a long-standing supporter of Elmhurst, to Birmingham and the school. On behalf of all our students and staff, we are thrilled Her Royal Highness has included a visit to the school in her busy schedule. Since Her Royal Highness’s last visit we have continued to work hard to retain our place at the forefront of ballet education and training, ensuring our students leave us with the very best chances to succeed in a professional dance life. We look forward to sharing our latest news with our wonderful Patron.”






  • This will be The Duchess of Cornwall’s fourth official visit to Elmhurst Ballet School.
  • The Duchess of Cornwall last visited the school in 2006, 2009 and 2014.
  • The Duchess of Cornwall has been Patron of Elmhurst Ballet School since September 2006.
  • Elmhurst Ballet School will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2023. The school opened in Camberley, Surrey in 1923 and relocated to Edgbaston in Birmingham in 2004.


  • Elmhurst Ballet School is a world-renowned centre of excellence in association with Birmingham Royal Ballet and prepares talented young dancers aged between 11 and 19 to become the thinking dance professionals of the future. The school nurtures individuality through a holistic approach to training, education and health, which helps students to become independent, collaborative and versatile artists, ready to take their professional places on the world stage. Elmhurst’s dance training is of the highest quality and is delivered by current and former dance professionals. This training is enhanced by opportunities to work with Birmingham Royal Ballet, visiting choreographers and dance artists. Elite but not elitist, Elmhurst believes that talent is classless and its exceptional training opportunities should be available to young dancers regardless of their financial, social or cultural backgrounds. Whilst Elmhurst is an independent school, typically some 80% of students benefit from Government support to train at the school.

  • The school’s latest Vice President, Wayne McGregor CBE, is Artistic Director of Studio Wayne McGregor and Resident Choreographer of The Royal Ballet, Covent Garden. The appointment marks an ongoing partnership between the school and Studio Wayne McGregor. The school’s other Vice Presidents are: Carlos Acosta CBE; Maina Gielgud AO; Dame Merle Park DBE; and Sir Peter Wright CBE.

  • Performance Enhancement Coach, Nico Kolokythas, received the esteemed International Association for Dance Medicine and Science (IADMS) Dance Educator Award 2019, acknowledging his work and research in the field of dance science and education. Kolokythas has been working in sports science for over ten years and moved into dance science research in 2015 when he was first engaged by Elmhurst Ballet School through a partnership with University of Wolverhampton. He undertook a PhD in Dance Science under the supervision of Matt Wyon, Professor in Dance Science at University of Wolverhampton. He has been disseminating his PhD research findings over the last few years, including 11+ Dance, an injury prevention and management strategy.

  • Elmhurst’s Young Dancers Programme includes 280 young people, from Year 4 upwards who are engaged in weekend lessons in Birmingham, Manchester, Sunderland and Plymouth. In addition, Elmhurst now works with approximately 500 young people in local Birmingham state schools each year through dance workshops and lecture demonstrations to widen the reach of ballet as a leisure activity or potential profession.

  • Photography credit: Elmhurst Ballet Company in ‘Paquita’ excerpt. Photography Andy Ross
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  • 2 weeks later...
3 hours ago, Jan McNulty said:

"She amped the look up further by adding a turquoise scarf that had stars emblazoned over it ..."


I wonder if she was aiming to blend in with the Elmhurst logo?!

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