Students Shine in New Campaign

Friday January 24th 2020

In 2018, we proudly championed our home city of Birmingham in a photographic campaign that presented students dancing in and around the city. Two years later and a brand new campaign, Surpass Your Potential: Train at Elmhurst Ballet School, celebrates the diversity, individuality and talent of Elmhurst students from across our Lower and Upper Schools.

Kicking off the 2020 campaign, in photography by highly regarded dance photographer Johan Persson, is Birmingham born Year 11 student Caitlin Godfrey (pictured).

Amber Pace from Malta; René Kolapo from Orpington in Kent; Wesley Mpakati from Tyseley in Birmingham; Denis Teixeira from Salford near Manchester; Satsuki Ueda from Nagoya, Japan; Tim Morgenstern from Wilhelmshaven, Germany; Ben Randall from Wolverhampton; and Leila Wright from Fobbing in Essex, ‘Flourish’, ‘Dream Big’, ‘Shine’, ‘Achieve’, ‘Thrive’, ‘Excel’, ‘Ignite’, ‘Go Beyond’ and ‘Transform’ in the suite of dynamic photographs, highlighting students who live, dance and learn at Elmhurst, really can surpass their potential.

Commenting on working with the nine students, dance photographer Johan Persson, said: “The students from Elmhurst Ballet School were an absolute pleasure to work with. A photoshoot can be very intimidating experience and doing a ballet photoshoot where you are striving for a perfect line or aesthetic look is even harder.

“The students took it on with confidence making small adjustments to their shapes and lines when asked to, something even professionals struggle with. They approached it with total professionalism and enthusiasm and still let their personalities shine through, which was exactly what we wanted to achieve.

Four of the students whose life-size #SurpassYourPotential photographs were unveiled at the school ahead of The Duchess of Cornwall’s visit to Elmhurst on Wednesday 22 January, said:

Caitlin Godfrey, Year 11: “My dream and aspiration is to become a Principal dancer and perform many lead roles. Elmhurst has helped me to become a better dancer, and teachers continue to refine my technique. The school gives me lots of opportunities to perform in professional settings and allows me to express myself every day in ballet class. I am really excited to be part of the new campaign as this is the first photoshoot I have been involved in. I am proud to have my name associated with Elmhurst.”

Wesley Mpakati, Year 7:My time at Elmhurst is great! Everyone is so friendly and welcoming and no one leaves you out. All the teachers are supportive and if they know there is something wrong they will speak to you and we’ll work it out. Ballet makes me feel free and makes me feel happy and it was really exciting to get picked to play Fritz in Birmingham Royal Ballet’s The Nutcracker recently. So many opportunities here at Elmhurst! A day at the school can be tiring, but it’s loads of fun!

Ben Randall, Year 13: I am having a really good time at Elmhurst and I feel extremely supported by my teachers and friends around me. I feel I have improved a lot, and in many ways my technique has got much stronger since last year and I feel much more secure as a dancer. My main goal is to be in a company which allows me to improve as a dancer and maintain happiness at the same time. I think it’s really important that whilst we strive to be the best dancer we can be, we also strive to be the happiest dancer we can be as well.

Satsuki Ueda, Year 12: “In Japan I was only learning classical ballet but coming to Elmhurst I am experiencing contemporary, jazz, flamenco dance and performance opportunities in solo competitions and shows. I am thrilled to be part of the campaign and take part in a professional photoshoot. It’s brilliant experience working with Johan and the Elmhurst team.”


The full set of photographs will be revealed in leading sector magazines and across our social media and website over the coming months.

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