United Kingdom / West Midlands / Warwickshire / Elmhurst Ballet School

Elmhurst Ballet School Review

This specialist ballet school for the UK's most talented young dancers combines dance lessons with academic study – and sees many leavers go on to join the Birmingham Royal Ballet.
At a glance
School type
Private
School phase
Secondary
Inspection rating
Excellent
Curricula taught
Availability 2021/22
No data
Availability 2022/23
No data
Annual fee average
GBP 25,000
Annual fees
GBP 24,999–24,999
Price band help
Premium
Status
Open
Opening year
1923
School year
Sep to Jul
Principal
Mrs Jessica Ward
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Elmhurst Ballet School
School type
Private
School phase
Secondary
Inspection rating
Excellent
Curricula taught
Availability 2021/22
No data
Availability 2022/23
No data
Annual fee average
GBP 25,000
Annual fees
GBP 24,999–24,999
Price band help
Premium
Status
Open
Opening year
1923
School year
Sep to Jul
Principal
Mrs Jessica Ward
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This specialist ballet school for the UK's most talented young dancers combines dance lessons with academic study – and sees many leavers go on to join the Birmingham Royal Ballet.

Elmhurst is a specialist independent school for classical ballet students aged 11-19 years. Founded in 1923, Elmhurst was one of the UK’s first vocational dance schools. It has a close association with the Birmingham Royal Ballet and is based in a purpose-built campus in Birmingham.

In the Lower School (Years 7-11), there's a broad and busy timetable of classes in classical ballet, pointe work (girls), contemporary technique, choreography, jazz, tap and coaching.  As students move into the Upper School they also learn flamenco and choreography while studying for a Level 6 Diploma in Professional Dance, validated by Trinity College London alongside A Level academic subjects.

The school also gives students the opportunity to stay on for Year 14, a graduate year when they focus entirely on dance and prepare to join a dance company.

The focus here is dance, and by Year 12 three quarters of the timetable is dedicated to dance training. Girls and boys are prepared for a career on the stage with dance training; performances in annual summer shows, choreographic and solos competitions, and other events at school and in the community; help with creating their online portfolio; and health and safety practice in dance. 

It's non-selective academically, and only admits students based on their potential to become professional ballet dancers. However, the school recognises the importance of an academic education, and students can study subjects including Italian, art, drama, dance, music, maths, biology, English, history and geography at A Level). In its own words, "Thinking dancers make better dancers".

Auditions are held in January, and there are international auditions held in the US and Japan. Fees are £24,999 (boarding) or £19,503 (day) for Years 7-11, and £26,949 (boarding) or £20,214 (day) for Years 12-14. Students can apply for an assisted place from either the government's Music and Dance (MDS) scheme (for Lower school) or the Dance and Drama Award (DaDA) scheme (for Upper School).

Facilties include a 220-seat theatre, seven dance studios and academic classrooms. The majority of students here are boarders (around 160 out of 180 girls and boys); Years 7-11 stay on campus while Years 12 and 13 live in accommodation at The Elms, just a short walk from school.

A full review will be posted shortly.

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