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Elmhurst Lower School Summer Show

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Just returned this evening from watching my daughters in the Elmhurst Lower School Summer Show and what a wonderful extravaganza it was! This afternoon was the final perforamce of 4 shows and I was fortunate to watch 3 out of the 4 as we dont live too far away and they were over the weekend.


This year has seen a change in the format of the Elmhurst show. Previously the Upper and Lower School were combined with performances over 6/7 days and for a lot of the dances there were also two casts. This had meant that if you were in Lower School generally you were in one dance, and often only in half the perfromances due to casting.


This year has seen a change. Robert Parker together with the Artistic Staff and Leadership Team separated the Upper and Lower School, giving the school individual shows. Though this meant fewer overall performances, it has meant that all the children have had a much better perfornace opportunity, with most children being in three dances across the four shows and fewer dances where there were two casts.  


I do love to watch the sixth form students and so I had it in my mind that I would really miss them from the overall experience. I couldn't have been more wrong. The show was vibrant, energetic, excellently executed, had an extremely high level of performance, whilst still maintaining a very classical biase. One thing that struck me was the childrens ability to communicate with the audience, which really took me by surprise in dancers of such a young age and I believe that that three elements contributed the this. First the choreography by the artistc faculty, which surpassed my expectations...its always wonderful, but this year it was exquisite and so in tune with the year groups, skills and personalities and we saw wonderful choreography from artistic faculty who have in previous years hid their light under a bushell!. Second it was that the children appreared to "own" the show, its was theirs,  it was their opportunity and they took ownership and delivered and they danced with their hearts. Third the inspiration and changes brought about by new artisctic leadership whilst still influenced by the legacy of the legend of Desmond Kelly.


The year 11 graduate year are outstanding with extremely strong men and ladies, some staying, some moving on to other highly regarded ballet schools at sixth form. I loved their Rachmaninov Concerto ballet choreographed by Miss Grogalato and Mr Robinson. There were oustanding pas de deux, but as the young people involved weren't identified in the programme, I feel I can't name them on this public forum. Also five of the men in the Schumann Piano Quintet, breathtaking virtuosity, flexibility and performance!


Miss Lewin choreographed two enchanting National Dances, Gopak and the Tarantella and it was lovely to see this traditional form of classical dance so well executed, important in dance heritage preparing the children well for dance styles in the classical ballets.


Carnival of the Animals, included all the lower school chidren, was varied and very engaging. Favourites of mine were Tortioses and Aquarium, and the wonderful Dying Swan, so creative, moving and passionately danced by the year 10 ladies. Creative was the word.... they danced with one pointe shoe and one bare foot, it worked so well!!


This year the Flamenco dancing took on a new dimension with a live singing band and audience participation, dancing was passionatley excecuted and reminiscent of Madrid!


A sign of how highly valued the skills of the children are valued at this school was demonstrated by a year 10 dance which was their own choreography, This was the haunting Shenandoah, a galic dance which opened with Rachel Walker (she was named) singing this haunting piece.... Gorgeous


A mixed year group gave a vibrant and very believable dance from Seven Brides and Seven Brothers, the strongest of this classical jazz style of the last three years with wonderful Choreography by Miss Mountain, complete with atheletic and balletic jumps and tricks to please the crowd.


The final dance was a new ballet choreographed by Mr Ho for the children at the school who had previously been PVP's or Associates from year 7 up to 6th form. "Scenes de Ballet" and was very fitting to celebrate 90 years of Elmhurst. Mr Ho was supported by Miss Whiteman and Miss Rowwan as ballet Mistress'. Four movements of delightful classical ballet. A poigninat and personal contribution to the rich Hertiage of the school. It was enchanting, engaging and inspirational and ended the lower school show on a complete high, embelished with exqusite costumes and delectable tutus. Quite a number of the children had joined PVP's at aged 8 and were still dancing together at sixth form, a tribute to the success of the PVP/Associate programmes.


The Grande Defile was missing from the Lower School Show, but the parents will be blessed with that at the parents only final combined upper and lower school show on the last day of term. Cant wait, but will be with mixed emotions as one of my dancers is moving on....


I will be watching the Sixth form show at the Gala on Tuesday night, with dancers from BRB, really looking forward to that!




Please note, my spelling isn't great and my spell check isn't working on this lap top, so aoplogies for any typos!




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What a fantastic review Nana Lily - you have summed up the show as beautifully as it was performed! (Note to self - have watched the show twice and hadn't noticed the one-shoed dying swans - look out for that on Friday!!) 

For me, it was the joy with which they all danced that made the biggest impression - felt extremely proud to be an Elmhurst parent today!

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Thank you Nana Lily for a lovely review. I'm also a very proud parent who thoroughly enjoyed the whole show. And Mimi's mom we noticed the one-shoed dying swans, it was one of the many talking points on the train home together with the stunning tutus. I can't wait until Friday just sorry I can't get back down to watch the Upper school this week. The whole school performed like they belong to be out there on stage for audiences to watch for years to come.

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Oh lucky you ! My husband, his Dad and our boys watched it yesterday and loved it ! I have to wait til Friday ! :( Just pawing through the program ! Its been a fantastic year ! Dd has loved every minute of it and gained some lovely friends ! See you all on friday xx :)

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Thank you for an excellent review of a breathtaking show NL.I thought the dying swan dance a remarkable and original choreography.The flamenco opening to the second half was thoroughly entertaining and heartwarming.I too was delighted to see how much the youngsters were enjoying their performances.For many of the children this is their only performance opportunity of the year.It was a wonderful showcase of the schools young talent.My young DD was thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Ruth Brill from BRB in an imaginitive and expressive piece of choreography.Seven brides was full of energy and excitement .I was disappointed that all the performers didn't come onstage at the end for a final curtain even without a defile- the show just stopped at the end of the final number and the lights came on.For those that were not ballet affectionados in the audience the performance at times seemed disjointed with no story to follow.I am also sorry that all the Upper School performances are during the week and therefore being a working Northerner I am unable to attend.I am counting down the days until the Awards Ceremony Performance on Friday to see some of the excellent lower school numbers again together with a selection of the Upper School's performances and of course finally the Grand Defile.

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Fantastic review Nana Lily. I too had a lovely day yesterday and thought the show was excellent. I could never put it into words as you have, so thank you. It will be an emotional day on Friday as it will also be the last one for my son. See you there!

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