We believe ballet reaches out to communities bringing creativity, joy, entertainment and beauty to everyone. Ballet has the power to draw communities together and with the creative communication through movement that is at the heart of ballet, breaks down the barriers that language on its own can build.
Our outreach work has two main pillars.
One is our Associate Programme. Elmhurst has been running an Associate Programme for children in the West Midlands since 2006 and expanded the programme to Manchester, Plymouth and Sunderland in 2011.
This programme offers weekend dance classes to young dancers aged 8 to 11. We aim to inspire the children to love dance as well as develop their skills in classical ballet technique.
The programme has grown and grown over the years, drawing more and more children from very diverse backgrounds to experience the joy of ballet first hand.
The programme is planned and monitored from Elmhurst and delivered around the country by top class professional ballet teachers.
Our second pillar of Outreach is taking performances by our own young dancers out into the community with the aim of presenting the joy of dance at the highest level to people who would not normally experience ballet performances. Usually these performances involve students in their final years with us, who are dancing at professional levels. Some performances are workshop based and can be highly interactive. Others will involve a question and answer session at the end. We aim to share our passion for ballet by responding to the particular needs and interests of the community groups with whom we are working.
Over the last few years, our young dancers have performed at homes for the elderly, for those with mental health problems, at schools in deprived areas of our cities and in Cathedrals.
These events have generated considerable positive feedback from audiences as well as extensive media coverage.
"The dance group was truly amazing to say the least. It's not often you see such a large number of our clients sit through a performance, engrossed and as attentive." Wellington Kapfunde, Ward Manager, Maudsley Hospital.
"The performance was very interactive and the dancers were very close to the audience unlike when you're watching ballet in the theatre. The session was facilitated very well and they have encouraged everyone to engage with them through dance. The service users enjoyed it very much and some of them reminisced about their experiences taking up ballet when they were younger. It has brought positive experience to all the service users and staff alike. I think everyone would like an encore!" Staff Member, Bethlem Royal Hospital
"I wish we had more space for you but you coped very well with the resources and environment. Thank you so much. You do not realise how much you enlightened the lives of our patients today. It was nice to see them happy and relaxed. It was so nice for you to share your talent with us. Thank you." Naomi Harrison, Occupational Therapist, Derbyshire Foundation Healthcare Trust.
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