In 2003, DanceEast conceived the now internationally recognised Rural Retreats – international think tanks looking at the future of ballet and dance. The first Retreat saw the largest ever gathering of Ballet Directors from around the globe.
In 2005, the second coming together of Ballet Directors from around the globe established Retreats as a strong network of peers who agreed these vital gatherings should continue.
In partnership with the Prix de Lausanne, this Retreat brought together the Directors of professional schools and companies from around the globe.
26 aspiring leaders from around the globe joined ex-England football manager Graham Taylor, Stuttgart Ballet’s Reid Anderson and Scottish Leadership CEO Zoe van Zwanenberg. With funding support from the Cultural Leadership Programme, seven of these individuals went on to take part in placements shadowing artistic leaders in dance organisations around the globe.
DanceEast hosted a mini Rural Retreat for these seven individuals and their host artistic directors at the Jerwood DanceHouse, Ipswich, including Tamara Rojo who became Artistic Director at English National Ballet.
26 current, emerging and aspiring dance leaders from all over the world came together. Amongst them were Christopher Hampson, the new Artistic Director of Scottish Ballet and Birmingham Royal Ballet’s principal dancer Robert Parker, whose appointment as the new artistic director of Elmhurst School for Dance was announced in September 2011.
10th anniversary edition where five of the Artistic Directors who attended were at the very first Rural Retreat – David Nixon, Northern Ballet; Mark Baldwin, Rambert Dance Company; David McAllister, Australian Ballet; Mikko Nissinen, Boston Ballet; and Madeleine Onne, Hong Kong Ballet. All acknowledged how much progress has been made in the leadership of dance companies over the last decade, characterised by a generosity of spirit, collegiate culture and genuine international collaboration and support. Also, they recognised the impact on dance leadership of the Rural Retreats as the first peer-led professional development opportunity for Artistic Directors of Dance Companies.
The eighth Rural Retreat attracted 22 aspiring leaders from different parts of the world, dance forms and backgrounds and announced ‘The future of dance is in the hands of a talented new generation of dance artists that embraces change and has an ambitious agenda for the art form.’
Six bursaries offered to people working in dance, wishing to explore contexts and perspectives beyond dance, through a self-designed and self-managed programme between Jan 2016 and Jun 2017.
In August DanceEast hosted its first ever Young Rural Retreat to identify and nurture the next generation of dance leaders. 20 young people, aged 17 to 21 years, recommended by a director or teacher as having the potential to become a future young leader in dance, attended from around the world, including from Dutch National Ballet, Amsterdam, The Royal Danish Ballet, Denmark, Rambert School, London and The School of Toronto Dance Theatre, Canada. They participated in practical and discursive sessions led by James Mackenzie Blackman (New Adventures), Cassa Pancho (Ballet Black), Kenneth Tharp OBE (The Place), James Cousins and Matthew Rushing (Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater) as well as facilitators Christopher Hampson and Catherine Cassidy (Scottish Ballet).
and support. They recognised the impact on dance leadership of the Rural Retreats as the first peer-led professional development opportunity for artistic directors of dance companies.