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A lovely warm summer’s evening with the long holidays already in sight, and an evening of entertainment from the students of Birmingham’s prestigious ballet school Elmhurst showcasing their year’s work before an appreciative audience of well-wishers. So what’s not to like?
The answer is nothing even remotely to dislike, and everything to admire. Because this whole evening simply shouted talent, hard work and expertise from both teachers and students.
Right from the get-go the whole ensemble quivered with enthusiasm from the very youngest student to those already poised for flight into the demanding world of professional dance.
So from Year 7 boys and girls upwards in age treated the privileged audience to an endearingly easy-looking demonstration of a wide range of dance styles surtitled Reves de Jeunesse.
Pieces chosen showcased a roster of choreographic signatures from artists including Stephan Delattre with Hugging Trapped Emotions, the rigidly Spanish flamenco-inspired Sequencias by Ana Garcia and Wayne McGregor’s modern masterpiece Entity, fiendishly accomplished-looking here, the whole programme achieved with smiling confidence and happy style.
This eye-opening programme of demanding creations had already shown the receptive audience what the youngsters could do with new, but the second half of the programme showed that in ballet there is nowhere to showcase talent better than at the top as the appreciative audience were treated to excerpts from the last act of Tchaikosky’s final ballet masterpiece, The Sleeping Beauty.
With Petipa’s fiendishly clever choreography there is really nowhere to hide in this marvellous pinnacle of the classical tradition, but these more mature students took every hurdle with easy smiles and restrained glory as befits the sumptuous work.
The final Grand Defile of the whole school was touching and pleasing in equal measure, showing Elmhurst instructors really know what they are doing with the talents entrusted to them.
A marvellous night all round.