Elmhurst International Travels 2023

Friday December 15th 2023

Every year, Robert Parker, our Artistic Director and a former Principal with Birmingham Royal Ballet, heads overseas and flies the flag for Elmhurst. In the past, trips have included auditions in Japan and the USA, and in February 2023 Robert packed his bags for a flight much further afield and held Elmhurst’s first ever face-to-face auditions in Australia. It is approximately 10,500 miles from Elmhurst in Birmingham to Sydney and Brisbane in Australia. A long way and expense for Australian applicants hoping to audition and train at the school. So, for the first time in Elmhurst’s history, Elmhurst headed to Australia to hold auditions in Sydney, New South Wales and in Brisbane, Queensland. Robert Parker held the Sydney auditions at Sydney Dance Company, Dawes Point, followed by auditions in Brisbane at the Queensland Ballet Academy.

In April, Robert flew to Tampa, Florida, where he was a judge for the Youth America Grand Prix- the world’s largest student ballet scholarship audition. More than 1,700 young dance students from 35 countries on five continents attend the season finals in Tampa, where they receive in-depth mentoring, as well as scholarship, professional and performance opportunities.

In October, Robert headed to Romania to adjudicate the international Sibiu Dance Competition, which provides an opportunity for young ballet dancers to be seen by the prestigious jury members. The competition offers scholarships, workshops, apprenticeships, free entrances to other competitions, as well as work opportunities.

And finally, to end the year, Robert flew back to Australia in December to hold more Elmhurst auditions, including auditions in New Zealand for the very first time. Audition locations were Melbourne, Sydney, Auckland, and Christchurch. Whilst Robert was away, he also had the opportunity to teach company class at Australian Ballet and watch former Birmingham Royal Ballet Principal dancer Joseph Caley dance the role of Prince Siegfried in Australian Ballet’s Swan Lake.  

Good luck to all auditionees who will potentially join a long roll call of Elmhurst students who have hailed from Australia, including Sophie Walters, an Australian dancer who moved to the UK to join Elmhurst's full-time training programme in the Upper School. Sophie graduated in 2023 and is now loving her time as an Apprentice Dancer at Birmingham Royal Ballet.

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