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PRESS RELEASE - Two top ballet schools in Birmingham and London unite to share message of solidarity and hope

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Media release: Thursday 16 April 2020 - Elmhurst Ballet School in Birmingham, and English National Ballet School in London are two of the UK’s top ballet schools whose students go on to dance with professional companies at home in the UK and across the world.


Currently in lockdown and closed until further notice, the schools have united to share a message of hope and support in footage filmed by students from both schools dancing at home, kindly edited by the BalletBoyz.


The short film can be viewed here: 




As the ballet schools and its students consider new ways and spaces to train, they hope by working together to create and share the short film, it will inspire more dancers to find their own ways to keep dancing, stay connected and feel less isolated during the lockdown.


Jessica Wheeler, Principal of Elmhurst Ballet School said: The majority of our students live on site and they split busy days between academics and dance training. Many students have been with us for almost eight years through Lower and Upper Schools and whilst they are used to being together with their year groups, we encourage individual learning too. This strength, with the school’s ethos Live Dance Learn sees them maintaining a level of training at home during a very different Easter break for us all. Alongside English National Ballet School, it’s wonderful to see the students’ tenacity and drive, from both schools, highlighted in this timely film and collaboration.


At Elmhurst, we are currently confirming the details of a virtual timetable for the summer term and as all departments work on ways to sustain a level of dance training and schooling for our students, our friends and supporters can continue to look online to our website and social media pages as we launch a COVID-19 interim social media campaign over the coming weeks. This will keep our supporters connected with regular updates and input from our senior leadership team, artistic, academic and health and wellbeing teams, and students.


Until we can open our doors again, keep well and stay safe, and please stay in touch!”


Viviana Durante, Director of Dance at English National Ballet School said: “Our number one priority is the health and wellbeing of our students. With our building in Chelsea closed for the foreseeable future and with 80% of our students coming from overseas, the School has moved online for the first time in its history.


Our remote learning platform is constantly growing in order to provide support and teaching that matches as closely as possible the range of provision at the School, ensuring students stay fit, positive and engaged during this time. I am thrilled with the positive feedback from our students so far, and it has been wonderful to see them continue dancing during this time.


I am delighted that students from both English National Ballet School and Elmhurst Ballet School have joined forces to offer some solidarity, inspiration and joy to everyone, wherever they may be. Please continue to stay safe, support, and look after each other however possible.”






To date, English National Ballet School’s online offer includes:

- Live ballet classes with live accompaniment by Head of Music, Chris Hobson

- Recorded ballet classes

- Live group Pilates

- Live strengthening classes

- Recorded fitness exercises

- Inspiration videos from guest choreographers Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Didy Veldman and Mavin Khoo from Akram Khan Company

- Classes in Gaga technique led by teachers trained by Ohad Naharin who created the method

- Tutorials and academic studies continuing as normal

- 1:1 wellbeing sessions

- Individual interviews with all students, their tutors and the Director of Dance

- Fortnightly assemblies for each year group

- 3rd Year audition showreel for those yet to secure contracts


All live classes and assemblies are grouped by time zones, ensuring equal provision for the School’s students during the coming weeks wherever they are based. Over the Easter break English National Ballet School will continue to enhance its learning offer by trialling and piloting new schemes for online learning.

Elmhurst Ballet School’s artistic and academic online offer, devised for Lower & Upper Schools, will include:


  • Live ballet classes for Years 7 - 14 (Lower School, Upper School and Graduate Year/Elmhurst Ballet Company)
  • Live contemporary and jazz dance warm-ups with appropriate exercises for Years 7 – 13
  • Live Strength and Conditioning for Years 7 – Graduate Year/Elmhurst Ballet Company
  • Stretch classes for Years 9 - 13
  • Flamenco classes for Years 7 - 11
  • Targeted training devised by Strength and Conditioning Coach
  • Rehabilitation classes for students with specific injuries will continue to take place
  • All tutors will have tutorials with their year groups
  • elmhurst@home will provide care packages with extra-curricular guidance, for example, signposting students to ballets being live-streamed with focus on technicality, musicality and performance
  • 6th form will continue their Professional Dance Studies
  • Guest interviews with inspirational dance sector guests
  • Association with Birmingham Royal Ballet (BRB) continues as Elmhurst Ballet Company is invited to join online classes with BRB, pointe-work classes delivered by Assistant Director Marion Tait and access to Strength and Conditioning programmes created by BRB’s Jerwood Centre



  • Continuation of Academic studies via a diverse range of delivery including live lessons, pre-recorded lessons, information sharing on a dedicated site for Elmhurst students and access to external sites such as DrFrostMaths.com for instant feedback
  • Tutorial check-ups with form tutors
  • A taster of A level (Applicable to year 11 in some subjects)


About English National Ballet School - English National Ballet School prepares the finest young ballet dancers for a lifetime of achievement. Our state-of-the-art facilities are matched by world-class training, education, pastoral care and performance opportunities. We provide our students with the confidence, creativity and skills for a career as a professional dancer with the major international companies, and for a future beyond performing. We aspire to be the school of choice for the next generation of ballet artists and to pioneer the future of dance education. www.enbschool.org.uk


About Elmhurst Ballet School - Elmhurst Ballet School celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2023. The school opened in Camberley, Surrey in 1923 and relocated to Edgbaston in Birmingham in 2004. It 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. www.elmhurstballetschool.org


Both schools are part of the Dance & Drama Awards (DaDA) scheme administered by the Education Funding Agency. These awards are offered to the students displaying the most potential to succeed in the profession and help towards fees and living costs.

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