Elmhurst School for Dance | Report highlights Access to Excellence

February 16, 2014

Press Releases

Elmhurst School for Dance | Report highlights Access to Excellence

A report issued by the Department for Education’s Music and Dance Schools highlights the excellence being achieved within its 8 participating organisations.  Designated as Centres of Excellence, the schools ensure fair and equal access to training based on talent and not ability to pay. The report highlights the importance of ensuring that young people have access to the best training available which in turn has set them on the path to self-sustaining and productive careers.

Listing the schools’ achievements, the report also highlights the cost of providing such training, examines the ‘value for money’ aspect of such personal development and puts forward the case for further development and continuation of the scheme.

Jessica Ward, Principal of Elmhurst School for Dance and Chair of the scheme’s Heads Group said:

“While many other schools in the UK provide excellent music and dance training and education, some to a very high standard, none is quite on a par with the eight independent specialist music and dance schools. They have a daily academic curriculum that resolutely revolves around musical or dance practice, education and training. Through the training at these schools, Britain is proud to have developed world class musicians and dancers who are at the forefront of their art and attract millions of visitors every year to our shores.”

Matthew Burgess, General Secretary of the Independent Schools Council, added:

“It is good to see our schools working together in support of the successful Music and Dance Scheme, which has enabled them  to offer an excellent education and training to talented and exceptional pupils, whatever their background. This report demonstrates the enormous benefits of the scheme and we sincerely hope this funding continues into the future.”  

The report, commissioned by the Heads of the MDS Schools, is endorsed by Darcey Bussell CBE and Tasmin Little OBE, both of whom speak of the value of the training and the importance of equal access for all.

Case Study One:

Double Bassist Tim Gibbs came from a primary school in Swindon to study at The Yehudi Menuhin School (as the first double bass student) from 1991 to1997.  Of his time at the School Tim says:

“I spent six years there and without doubt the experiences during those years have shaped my approach to life and music more than any other”. 

Tim went on to study at the Royal College of Music and gave his Wigmore Hall debut recital at the age of just 20 to critical acclaim. Tim is currently Co-Principal Bass in the London Philharmonic Orchestra and is in popular demand as a chamber musician. Recent highlights include performances with Alison Balsom/ Aronovitz Ensemble in the Southbank’s International Chamber Music Series 2012/13 and with the London Conchord Ensemble at the BBC Proms 2013.  He joined the teaching staff of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 2013.

Case Study Two:

Miles Gilliver was born in Gloucester and joined Elmhurst School for Dance at 11 years of age. He showed great promise as a young dancer and successfully progressed into the Sixth Form. As a student he performed with Birmingham Royal Ballet in Petrushka and The Nutcracker and on graduation in Aladdin. He danced with Singapore Dance Theatre in 2012 as an Artist and joined Birmingham Royal Ballet, the UK’s principal touring ballet company in 2013. He achieved 3rd place in the professional group of the 2013 International Baltic Ballet Competition. Without the support of the MDS scheme Miles would not have been able to pursue his ambition.

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