20 young people from around the world at first Young Rural Retreat

August 24, 2016


Thursday 25 – Sunday 28 August 2016

This week DanceEast welcomes 20 young people, aged 17 – 21 years, to Ipswich, from around the world for its first ever Young Rural Retreat, to identify and nurture the next generation of dance leaders, at the Jerwood DanceHouse on Ipswich Waterfront. Each of the young dancers has self-identified and been recommended by a director or tutor as having the potential to become a future young leader in dance.

Dancers and students from international dance companies and schools including Dutch National Ballet in Amsterdam, The Royal Danish Ballet in Denmark, Rambert School in London and The School of Toronto Dance Theatre in Canada, to name just a few, will be joined by Christopher Hampson (Scottish Ballet), James Mackenzie Blackman (New Adventures), Cassa Pancho (Ballet Black), Kenneth Tharp OBE (The Place) and Matthew Rushing (Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater) for the Retreat, which offers participants the unique opportunity to build a global network of peers, hear from inspirational speakers and truly challenge their own ways of thinking and learning.

Since 2003, DanceEast has been producing international Rural Retreats for established and aspiring artistic leaders in dance. Retreats provide a short, intensive experience that includes opportunities to hear from leaders in the world of business, sport and the arts, to discuss issues and concerns, and to build networks and connections with peers from around the world. Both think tanks and learning opportunities, Rural Retreats are a unique gathering of leaders from across the global dance community.


Rural Retreats – a brief history

2003 – Ballet into the 21st Century

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.


2006 – The 21st Century Dancer – Nurturing Talent In partnership with the Prix de Lausanne, this Retreat brought together the Directors of professional schools and companies from around the globe.


2008 – Future Leaders and Artistic Directors 26 aspiring leaders from around the globe joined guest speakers; 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.


2010 – DanceEast hosted a mini Rural Retreat

For seven individuals and their host artistic directors at the Jerwood DanceHouse, Ipswich, including Tamara Rojo who became Artistic Director at English National Ballet.


2012 – Future Leaders and Artistic Directors 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.

2013 – The Future is Now

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.


2015 – Future Leaders in Dance

A diverse mix of aspiring leaders from different dance forms and backgrounds across the global dance community gathered and discussed how the future of dance is in talented new hands – a generation that recognises the challenges, is taking steps to embrace new technologies and better articulate the artform.

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