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Elmhurst Announces Appointment of New Artistic Director

Following an extensive search, Elmhurst School for Dance, in association with Birmingham Royal Ballet, is pleased to announce the appointment of Robert Parker to the role of Artistic Director, effective from September 2012.

Robert Parker; photo: Peter Teigen

Currently a Principal dancer with Birmingham Royal Ballet, Parker will bring vast industry experience to the school and will share with students and staff his sound technique and extensive knowledge of dance repertory. After almost two decades of Birmingham Royal Ballet performances, national and international gala performances, dance education work and strong links across the dance arena he will deliver an artistic direction that will continue to build on Elmhurst ’s first-class reputation within local, national and international communities.

Born in Hull, Parker trained at The Royal Ballet School and joined Birmingham Royal Ballet in 1994. He received early acclaim when he danced the Second Seminarian in Carmina burana at the Royal Opera House in 1996. Promoted to Principal in 1999, his charismatic stage presence and energy have led to the creation of a number of roles on him, including Hamlet in The Shakespeare Suite, Arthur and Mordred in Arthur, the Beast in Beauty and the Beast, the lead in Kim Brandstrup's Pulcinella and the title role in Cyrano. He has also excelled in such varied repertory as the Young Man in The Two Pigeons, Romeo in Romeo and Juliet, the Hoofer in Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, and Twyla Tharp's In the Upper Room.

Parker has recently completed the Birmingham Royal Ballet and University of Birmingham dancers’ degree programme and will graduate in December 2011 as a Master of Philosophy in Education Studies (Dance).

Jessica Ward, Principal of Elmhurst School for Dance said:
‘I am delighted to announce the appointment of Robert Parker to the role of Artistic Director. It will be a privilege for the students and staff to have the opportunity to work with such a celebrated dancer. During this transitional period for Elmhurst, stability and consistency remain my number one priority and I fully believe the school has never been better equipped to manage a smooth handover in artistic leadership following in the footsteps of Desmond Kelly. I am delighted that Mr Kelly will remain in close contact with the school as an Artistic Advisor.’

David Bintley, Director of Birmingham Royal Ballet and Artistic Advisor to Elmhurst said:
‘With his experience, knowledge and history of working with Birmingham Royal Ballet, I am delighted that Robert has agreed to accept the position of Elmhurst 's Artistic Director from September 2012. I believe Robert’s outstanding dance experience, youth, energy, imagination and charisma are just what are needed to take what is already an established and successful school to the next level at this crucial time in its history. I look forward to working with him to deliver first-class dance training to the next generation of dance artists.’

Robert Parker, new Artistic Director from September 2012 said:
‘I am thrilled to be Elmhurst 's Artistic Director effective from September 2012 and I look forward to new and exciting challenges ahead. Under the artistic direction of Desmond Kelly, Elmhurst has gone from strength to strength and I hope to build upon his outstanding contribution to nurture and produce some of the finest classical and contemporary dancers in the world. After a rewarding 18-year career with Birmingham Royal Ballet, my aim is to utilise my experience and passion for dance to train a future generation of dancers and prepare them for the realities of a professional career. Based on my close working relationship with David Bintley, I plan to strengthen the school's association with Birmingham Royal Ballet, providing students with a direct link to the company and the wider dance world. I am very much looking forward to working with Jessica Ward and the dedicated Elmhurst staff and students to further the aims of the school.’

Press enquiries: Simon Harper, Media and PR Manager, Birmingham Royal Ballet
Telephone: 0121 245 3562;
Claire Lishman, Media and PR Officer, Birmingham Royal Ballet or 0121 245 3549


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