I hope you have been keeping well and are coping with the everchanging set of circumstances. It was back in May when I wrote to you last and a lot has happened in that time so, I thought I’d write to update you regarding DanceEast’s current position.
Once again I must start by saying thank you on behalf of DanceEast. These are extremely challenging times and the support we’ve received has been incredibly heart-warming.
As you know, the Jerwood DanceHouse closed its doors in March to protect artists, audiences’ participants and staff. Like so many other organisations over the past few months, we have had to reimagine our artistic programme whilst our earned income has been decimated. In summary, at least for the time being, we have had to completely rethink everything we do.
Very reluctantly we concluded it would be necessary to reduce our staff and a number of highly valued colleagues have accepted redundancy. This isn’t what any of us wanted and as you can imagine it has been an incredibly difficult time. I’d like to thank the entire DanceEast Team who have been through this experience for their professionalism and continued commitment to the organisation.
We may well be reduced in numbers, but our commitment to providing great dance for everyone has not been reduced, and we are determined to see a return to live dance at the Jerwood DanceHouse as soon as possible. To achieve this and to protect you, along with staff and volunteers, we are taking a phased approach which may take some time to complete – starting with opening as a place of work.
In July, following the introduction of COVID secure measures, including a one-way system for navigating the building and increased hygiene protocols, our core staff returned to the Jerwood DanceHouse. Shortly followed in August by the reopening of our Café and the first signs of artists returning to work in our studios.
This week, University of Suffolk BA Hons. Dance Degree students started working in the building and soon we’ll be welcoming back our Centre for Advanced Training students too. Preparing the building hasn’t been easy, with a number of procedures and protocols needed to make the return safe; however, we are confident that with these measures in place we can get back to the work we love and support these young people to develop their dance careers.
The Jerwood DanceHouse may not be open to the public yet, however, we have recently launched an autumn term of online adult dance classes – have a look here at what is on offer. We have also developed dance opportunities for children and young people, a series of workshops which culminate in a sharing with family and friends on zoom – find out more here. Meanwhile, we are also in the midst of programming a virtual International Dance Festival for later in the autumn – we would have struggled to do that in real time!
Plans evolve and change at quite a speed at the moment so please keep an eye on our website and social media channels for more exciting dance opportunities.
It is exciting to see some activity return to the Jerwood DanceHouse however, there can be no doubt that there will be many more difficult challenges ahead. We remain positive about the future of DanceEast and the wider dance sector – if you share our optimism, see how you can support us here.
Thank you so much for your continued support.
Take care and hopefully see you soon,
Artistic Director and Chief Executive