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.