District Project

For over thirty years DanceEast has been running innovative community projects, making a real difference to the lives of everyone involved.

2016 was no different, with our annual large-scale community event, the District Project. Featuring schools and community groups from districts Babergh, Mid Suffolk and Forest Heath, the project culminated in two public performances titled ‘Rock Paper Scissors’ which premiered at the Jerwood DanceHouse on Saturday 12 March.

Produced by DanceEast and under the artistic direction of Mary Davies, Lynnette King and Caroline Mummery, the project involved working with eleven groups to produce a performance piece. From January, each group worked with a DanceEast artist to produce and practice a piece which was brought together with all the other work to create an incredible evening of performance, showcasing the talent of community groups and schools from across the region.

The groups that took part were; Village Voices Choir (a choir of mixed ages from 6 through to 82), Holbrook Academy (a high school) and Peninsular Sports Centre (a local adult community group) from Babergh. Newmarket Community Choir, Great Heath Primary School and St. Christopher’s Primary School from Forest Heath district. The Mix (musicians from a youth centre), Red Gables Resource Centre (a social club for older people) and Stowupland High School from Mid Suffolk and two DanceEast resident performance groups, The Elderberries (a group of 50yrs+ dancers) and Dance Unlimited (an 18yrs+ group consisting of dance teachers, students and dance artists).

In a rural county such as Suffolk, opportunities to access high-quality dance experiences can often be limited and schools and groups do not always have the resources available to be able to deliver the dance activity that they would like.

Through delivering district projects we aim to support schools and groups in delivering unparalleled high quality opportunities to their students and members. DanceEast has a commitment to delivering projects across Suffolk, in schools and with community groups, increasing access to high quality cultural experiences and bringing communities together.

Dance makes an enormous contribution to our physical, social and creative health and well-being. Participation in dance supports a healthy lifestyle and promotes being part of a community and shared activity. We are, therefore, keen for as many people from across Suffolk as possible to have the opportunity to experience dance.

We have found involvement in projects such as these raises aspiration, provides progression routes into further opportunities and we have seen previous project participants continue their engagement with dance and successfully audition for the DanceEast dance companies and the DanceEast Centre for Advanced Training for gifted and talented young dancers with exceptional potential for careers in dance.

Dance can have a strong impact on participants’ lives and those of their families, which is why, in this project, we work very closely with schools to provide young people with an unforgettable experience and the beginnings of what can potentially be a long-lasting interest in dance. We are proud that this project not only delivers high quality dance experiences to participants but also allows people from different districts to work and perform together.