Assis Carreiro to leave DanceEast after 13 years to join Royal Ballet Flanders

Assis Carreiro to leave DanceEast after 13 years to join Royal Ballet Flanders

Assis Carreiro, the driving force behind DanceEast, the Ipswich based dance organisation has been appointed to run one of the top dance companies in Europe, The Royal Ballet of Flanders as Artistic Director.

In her 13 years at DanceEast, Assis has turned the Ipswich based company into one of Britain’s leading dance organisations, an achievement recognised by the Arts Council last year when it gave DanceEast National Portfolio Organisation status.  

She also raised the funds for and drove through the creation of a £9 million permanent home for the company in the Jerwood DanceHouse on the Ipswich waterfront. This building is today recognised as one of the finest DanceHouses in the country and arguably the finest arts venue in the East of England.

Under her direction DanceEast has become a central part of East Anglian cultural life. It runs a pioneering range of dance classes for children and adults, has put in place an outreach programme to take dance to schools throughout East Anglia, and developed and staged a range of pioneering works for Ipswich audiences which have subsequently toured to London as well as a series of world premieres of works by many of today’s leading dancers and choreographers including Wayne McGregor | Random Dance, Jasmin Vardimon, Rafael Bonachela along with world premieres by Arthur Pita, Russell Maliphant and Will Tuckett.

She has also brought many or the world’s leading dance artists including Sylvie Guillem, Mark Morris Dance Group, The Royal Ballet, Danza Contemporanea de Cuba and Olympic opening ceremony performer Akram Khan to appear at Snape Maltings in an international dance programme developed with Aldeburgh Music.

Under her direction DanceEast has initiated Rural Retreats, a series of international think tanks addressing the key issues facing the dance profession for existing and future Artistic Directors, and leaders.  DanceEast were also invited to become a Centre for Advanced Training (CAT) by the Department of Education as part of the Music and Dance Scheme. The DanceEast Academy is one of only 9 in the country and currently trains over 80 young talented dancers

More recently she created the National Centre for Choreography, a unique research and development Choreographic Labs for experienced choreographers to explore new areas and experiment freely with dancers and artists from a range of other disciplines.  Earlier this year she secured funding for Come Dance With Me, an on-line dance series for The Space (The Space is a new on-demand digital arts service available free of charge and has been developed by the Arts Council in partnership with the BBC) and is launching Moko Dance, a three year national strategic partnership to develop work for young audiences.

Assis Carreiro said: ‘I have had 13 fantastic years at DanceEast developing projects like the Rural Retreats and the DanceEast Academy and building the Jerwood DanceHouse, wonderful world class facilities that will be here for generations to come. The decision to leave DanceEast at such an exciting time did not come lightly, but the opportunity to develop a world class ballet company and dance facility presented an opportunity that I could not pass up. My career in dance was started at The National Ballet of Canada and I am thrilled to be returning to the world of ballet and taking on new challenges as Artistic Director of the Royal Ballet of Flanders and I hope that we can develop international partnerships across the North Sea between our organisations into the future.’

DanceEast chairman Martyn Rose said: ‘Assis has created a truly world class arts facility for Ipswich. We are naturally sorry to see her go but equally thrilled that her talents and achievements should be internationally recognised by her appointment to her new position. She leaves East Anglia with a stunning legacy.  We are determined to build on this and use her inspiration to develop and consolidate DanceEast as one of Britain’s leading dance organisations.’

Helen Lax, Regional Director, Arts Council England said: 'Assis has definitely left her mark in Ipswich and on DanceEast which has flourished and progressed under her 13 year guidance. She masterminded the building of the Jerwood DanceHouse, which is a truly outstanding building, and has helped provide an impressive facility that will be used for years to come. Assis has made a huge impact on both the local community in Ipswich and dance as an art form. We wish her well in the future.'

Notes to Editors

Assis Carreiro
Assis Carreiro was born in the Azores and grew up in Canada. She moved to the UK in 1994, having been Director of Education, Community Outreach and Publications for the National Ballet of Canada for 12 years where she led the first education unit in a Canadian dance company. She is now one of the most influential figures in dance in the UK. From 1994 to 1996, she was Founding Director of DanceXchange in Birmingham and went on to work for Wayne McGregor | Random Dance and as a Fundraising Executive at The Place. During 1998/99 Assis was dance programmer at DasTAT in Germany for William Forsythe's Ballett Frankfurt before joining DanceEast in January, 2000.

Assis Carreiro has taught and lectured internationally and is on the board of Akram Khan Company and in the past has served on the boards of Dance UK, Dance 4, Canada’s Dancemakers, the Jonathan Burrows Group, the National Dance Network, and is a member of Les Repérages dance platform in Lille, France. She has been an advisor and assessor to the Arts Council of England’s Arts for Everyone Lottery Grants, London Arts Board, Ontario Arts Council, the Canada Council, Scottish Government, and served on Sir Brian McMaster’s Sounding Board Review for Supporting Excellence in the Arts: From Measurement to Judgement. In 2003, the International Theatre Council nominated Assis for the International Dance Award. She holds an Honorary Doctorate in Civil Law from the University of East Anglia and was made a Visiting Senior Fellow in Dance in the School of Arts and Humanities of University Campus Suffolk in 2011. In 2009, Assis was a runner up for the East of England Business Woman of the Year.


Founded in 1983 and gaining National Dance Agency status in 1994, DanceEast has grown from strength to strength, maintaining its commitment to the rural communities of East Anglia whilst developing national and international programmes. Based at the Jerwood DanceHouse, DanceEast brings world-class dance to the East of England, presenting an eclectic programme of performances, widening the experience of audiences and bringing a new and invigorated audience to dance. As well working with dance artists, established choreographers and renowned companies, DanceEast encourages emerging artists, providing a framework of training, support and performance opportunities.


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