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13 Jul 2023

Image Credit: Ellie Sharp

On Saturday 8th July, the DanceEast Youth Festival lit up the Ipswich Waterfront with their showcase of vibrant local young talent. A festival designed for young people, by young people included music performances in the foyer of DanceEast, dance workshops in one of the building’s studios and an art workshop on the ‘Whistler Gallery.’

The festival opened with Ipswich Youth Steel Band’s lively set as the foyer buzzed with young people excited for a day of creativity! Workshops also began upstairs with a Lady Gaga infused ‘Dance Fusion’ session getting the dancers warmed up.

In the foyer, rapper Kelci’s set got people grooving, as did Tomfoolery Dance Theatre’s physical theatre workshop where dancers enjoyed experimenting with using their voice as part of their performance.

The middle of the afternoon brought stunning acoustic sets from India Rose whose moving piano ballads reverberated around the building, and from Grace Wells and Sophie The Great whose warm guitar and storytelling lyricism created a relaxed atmosphere. These sounds floated up to the balcony of the Whistler Gallery where a tranquil art workshop took place, creating a colourful banner with glitter and feathers aplenty.

In contrast, the Red Shoe studio experienced an energetic breakdance workshop complete with its own freestyle segment where dancers cheered as they each showed off their best tricks and flips. This was followed by a sassy Latin workshop where dancers tried out steps from the Cha Cha Cha, Samba and Jive.

The festival closed with dynamic sets from Solar Eclipse whose Arctic Monkeys and Lovejoy covers got people singing along, and from The Bungees, a popular local indie rock band who drew quite a crowd!

The DanceEast Youth Festival provided an exciting afternoon which (despite the heat) was enjoyed by many! The combination of live music and dance workshops encouraged young people to try new things and the talent on display showed just how much creativity the young people of Suffolk have to offer!

Written by Katie Squirrel and photos by Ellie Sharp