Ten best bits of 2019

December 18, 2019

Christmas is around the corner and there are only two weeks left until we welcome in the New Year and a brand-new decade! Amidst the celebrations, we’re taking a moment to look back at the 10th Anniversary of the Jerwood DanceHouse and celebrate some of our best moments. Were you involved in any of them? What were your favourite parts of 2019 at DanceEast? Let us know on social media by using the hashtag #DanceEast2019


  1. The celebratory events for our tenth anniversary began on Friday 8 February with the world premiere of Epilogues, a new programme from James Cousins Company. James Cousins was the winner of the inaugural New Adventures Choreographer Award Showcase in 2012 at the age of 21, and he was an Associate Artist at DanceEast from 2012 to 2014.
  2. Still in Spring, we presented Host, which celebrated the artistry of the older dancer. DanceEast and our performance company EncoreEast co-programmed a day for dancers, practitioners, artists, teachers and researchers to come together and ask vital questions about what older performers can bring to the artform. Workshops were led by choreographers including DanceEast Associate Artist Joseph Toonga, and discussions were held with guest speakers, including former Dance Umbrella Director Betsy Gregory. The day culminated in invited performance companies sharing their latest work in the theatre.
  3. April saw two world premieres, the first of which was Silent Lines, presented by Russell Maliphant Dance Company, our resident company at the Jerwood DanceHouse. This new piece drew upon Russell’s research and exploration into dance and experiential anatomy – using a mix of movement, animated video projection and lighting to investigate a range of poetic possibilities. His collaborators were video artist Panagiotis Tomara, lighting designer Michael Hulls and a group of exceptional performers.
  4. The second world premiere was from the National Youth Dance Company with Madhead. Guest Artistic Director Botis Seva worked with 38 of England’s most talented young dancers. His signature style, a fusion of contemporary dance, physical theatre and hip-hop, combined with the dancers’ talent and youthful energy to produce an enthralling, energetic experience. This was the first time the company had premiered a work outside London and we’re delighted they’re premiering here again next year in April, collaborating with multi-award-winning choreographer and Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist, Russell Maliphant.
  5. In Summer, we presented a very special performance called House to Home created by UNIT, commissioned to tell the story of the Jerwood DanceHouse and featuring over 100 dancers from the local community. The past, present, and future of the DanceHouse were brought together through a touching live dance performance, documentary-style film footage and interviews.
  6. In 2003, DanceEast launched Rural Retreats – international think tanks looking at the future of dance. The first Retreat saw the largest ever gathering of dance directors from around the globe. In our anniversary year, it was the turn of creative and bold young people aged 18 to 23. Over four days, the participants heard from leaders in and beyond dance and started to develop the leadership, management skills, and networks they will need to take the artform forward over the coming decades.
  7. Early Autumn saw our Open House weekend, a celebration of the past ten years and the start of our next chapter. Throughout the day, there was a mixture of taster classes that were suitable for all ages and abilities, including ballet, contemporary, musical theatre and hip hop. Meanwhile, in the Studio Theatre, our DanceEast Centre for Advanced Training performed short works alongside professional dance companies. For those who wanted more, there was an opportunity to take part in arts and crafts, face painting, storytelling and behind the scenes building tours.
  8. The following weekend, some of the UK’s most exciting dance companies and artists – including Old Kent Road, Aakash Odedra Company, Company Wayne McGregor, English National Ballet, Russell Maliphant Company, Scottish Ballet and The Royal Ballet – came together for 10, a gala performance to support Dance in Perpetuity, a new fund to enable DanceEast to continue delivering the highest quality of dance into the future. Our very own Boys United and Centre for Advanced Training performed alongside these established companies, a real tribute to the future of dance!
  9. Richard Alston presented the world premiere of Shine On at Snape Maltings. Before the Jerwood DanceHouse was built, so much of our work took place at Snape Maltings and it was through the very generous support of our audience in the region that our ambition to create a purpose-built dance facility was made possible. It therefore seemed only fitting to return in our tenth year, to celebrate and say thank you for such incredible support. Shine On is set to Britten and Auden’s song cycle On This Island and is the last piece Richard has created for his company before they close in 2020.
  10. Ballo Arthur Pita performed at Jerwood DanceHouse’s opening gala in 2009 and this year they closed the DanceHouse’s 10th anniversary celebrations with their new show, Ten Sorry Tales. Beautifully eccentric and infused with gothic charm, this performance was based upon a collection of modern-day fables written by Mick Jackson. From the child who sleeps for years, to the sinister sisters who prey on trespassers and the boy who brings butterflies back to life. A perfect way to end such a special year!We’ve had an amazing year celebrating our tenth anniversary, but we’ve done far too many things to fit into one blog post! If you’d like to read more, click here!
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