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.
As the ballet schools and their 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.”
She continues, “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 percent 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.”
She goes on, “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 one another however possible.”