Elmhurst School for Dance (in association with Birmingham Royal Ballet) supports people in mental health settings with their Elmhurst Reach4Dance initiative

Elmhurst School for Dance (in association with Birmingham Royal Ballet) supports people in mental health settings with their Elmhurst Reach4Dance initiative


Elmhurst Reach4Dance is an innovative series of performance-based workshops that provide entertainment and creative communication through movement to people in mental health settings. Since its launch, the project has successfully been taken to several hospitals and mental health units across the UK and Europe.


The aim of Reach4Dance is to present the joy of dance to people it would not usually reach, allowing them to take a break from their daily routines and to have fun. The performances and workshops involve Elmhurst final year students, who offer audiences demonstrations of classical ballet, jazz dance, tap or contemporary dance.


Reach4Dance is provided without cost to hospitals, mental health venues and other care facilities with the generous support of Johnson & Johnson.


Robert Parker, Artistic Director of Elmhurst School for Dance said: Elmhurst is extremely proud to be involved with the Reach4Dance project. It is a great opportunity to share our love and passion for dance with the local and wider communities. It also allows us to showcase the wonderful art form to those individuals who would not normally be given the chance to experience it. Involvement in the initiative provides invaluable performance opportunities and experiences for our graduating students and also raises the profile of the school.

Elmhurst School for Dance and Birmingham Royal Ballet

Elmhurst is the oldest vocational dance school in the UK – its vision is to provide a world renowned centre of excellence for the training and education of classical ballet dancers for Birmingham Royal Ballet and other national and international dance companies.

The school was originally based in Camberley in Surrey; Birmingham Royal Ballet was one of the prime movers in Elmhurst’s relocation to Birmingham in 2004. Elmhurst formally became an Associate School of Birmingham Royal Ballet in 2002 and Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Director, David Bintley CBE, became the school’s Artistic Advisor. In the intervening years the relationship has strengthened, and from the appointment of Desmond Kelly as Artistic Director when he retired from his post of Assistant Director of Birmingham Royal Ballet more members of Birmingham Royal Ballet have been teaching at the school regularly.

The new school has been specifically designed to meet the requirements of professional dance training, with all facilities on one five- acre campus. This move constituted a £20 million investment in the future of dance education in the UK and Elmhurst now fills what was a conspicuous void in vocational dance training in the Midlands. In October 2005, the school was officially opened by Dame Merle Park, a former student, and Sir Peter Wright, former Director of Birmingham Royal Ballet.

Elmhurst prepares students for professional careers in ballet and allied dance genres. Students benefit greatly from the school’s association with Birmingham Royal Ballet, and many students from the school have an opportunity to appear with the Company. The curriculum is geared to the future requirements of ballet companies worldwide and is taught by an international faculty of dance teachers with outstanding professional reputations.

In October 2006, following a visit to the school by TRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, Her Royal Highness agreed to become Patron of Elmhurst. HRH The Prince of Wales is the President of Birmingham Royal Ballet.


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