Rural Retreat 2020: Future Artistic Directors and Creative Producers for Dance

DanceEast is one of England’s leading dance organisations based at the Jerwood DanceHouse. Since 2003, DanceEast has been producing the internationally respected Rural Retreats. These think tanks have been bringing together leaders and future leaders from the world of dance to look at key issues facing dance and its leadership and how we move forward in the 21st century. The Retreats were the first global opportunity for existing and future Dance leaders to come together to share their visions, challenges and concerns in an environment that conducive to open discussion and debate.

DanceEast’s most recent Rural Retreat was in January 2020, and was for individuals who aspire to lead a Ballet or Contemporary Dance Company or Organisation. It took place 3-6 January In Ipswich, Suffolk, England.

This was an intensive think tank that was facilitated by two professionals with guest speakers from the worlds of the arts, media, sport and business. The aim of the retreat was to provide an environment for aspiring Dance leaders to gain insights into the multi-facetted role of a leader in today’s ever-changing challenging world – from the digital revolution and globalization; to #MeToo; and nationalism and diversity in all its forms. The retreat covered the role of dance companies and their dancers in society and the relationship with audiences and broader society, amongst a range of topics.

The delegates for the 2020 retreat are: Abigail Reeve (Birmingham Royal Ballet); Avatâra Ayuso (Ava Dance Company); Dan Daw; Emma Southworth (Royal Opera House); Iván Pérez (Heidelberg Ballet); Jarkko Lehmus (Cirko); Javier Torres (Northern Ballet); Joanna Ivey (National Ballet of Canada); Kit Holder (Birmingham Royal Ballet); Leanne Benjamin; Martin Hylton; Martynas Rimeikis (Lithuanian National Ballet); Nicholas Ziegler (Finnish National Ballet); Peter Leung (Dutch National Ballet); Ruth Brill (Birmingham Royal Ballet); Seeta Patel; Sofiane Sylve (San Francisco Ballet); Stella Abrera (American Ballet Theatre); Tara Birtwhistle (Royal Winnipeg Ballet); Teresa Reichlen (New York City Ballet); Tim Casson (Casson & Friends); Urja Desai Thakore (Pagrav Dance); Yael Flexer (Flexer & Sandiland); and Zhibo Zhao (Beijing Dance Academy).



Applicant Enquiries                                                                    Press Enquiries

Assis Carreiro, Artistic Advisor                                                  Antonia Wiese, Communications Manager                                      

Tel: 00 44 (0)7879 415882                                                        Tel: 00 44 (0)1473 295236            


DanceEast’s Rural Retreat 2020 was made possible through the support of Arts Council England & The Salthouse Harbour Hotel


It was a true and rare gift to be in the presence of such honesty, intelligence, and creative passion. Thank you for sharing and reminding me of the beauty and possibility of our art and of the human spirit.
Emily Molnar Ballet BC, Canada
What an honour and a privilege to have been able to share in this truly wonderful event. Thank you all for reaffirming my love of this art form and inspiring such confidence in its potential and its future. Looking forward to catching up with you all around the world!
Alexander Whitley Freelance dancer/choreographer, UK

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