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Reminiscing with… Mary Davies

18 May 2020

Mary Davies teaching at DanceEast, photo by Rachel Cherry

Last year we celebrated our 10th anniversary in the Jerwood DanceHouse, and it’s safe to say we are missing working and dancing together in the beautiful building on the waterfront. Naturally, we’ve been reminiscing and wanted to share some interviews you might not have seen before with artists and the community!

Mary Davies is a freelance dance artist and tutor who has worked with DanceEast for many years, her journey beginning with us before the Jerwood DanceHouse was built! Below Mary has shared her thoughts on her time with us, and the beautiful dance house we are all missing…

“I’ve been working with DanceEast since 2006, teaching contemporary technique to begin with, which progressed to the performance companies like Dance Unlimited. Once we moved into the Jerwood DanceHouse we created a performance company from my older people’s class now called EncoreEast. The first performance had three or four participants. It was very small, but it went down very well. I’ve now developed to running two performance companies, and I lead classes and workshops in and outside the building.

I remember having a quiet word with one participant when we were performing in London and she said; ‘If my grandchildren could see me now, on this stage.’ She was really proud of herself and she’d started way at the back of the class, didn’t want to put herself forward at all, and there she was on stage with real confidence. It’s moments like that which stick with me.

I really recall walking into the Jerwood DanceHouse for the first time, for me, the space and light are unique. It’s a place where like-minded people come together to be creative and explore a really beautiful environment. It’s a space for creation and it’s not exclusive. There’s such a broad spectrum of people that use it. So it’s quite unique, especially for Ipswich.

Over time it has established itself, and it’s still growing. Because it offers an array of different styles for any interest in dance and the demand is increasing there are more opportunities to explore and exchange skills all year round.

It’s like a big melting pot, and for me that’s one way of reaching the community and exposing them to the work that we do. I wouldn’t have been able to get to this point as a freelance artist without the support of DanceEast and knowing that the space is there for me to use when I need it. Once you have a building like this it helps people to look and to listen – they’re curious about it. The feedback from artists that work here is that they can’t believe the facilities, and people are drawn to it.”

Our doors maybe closed but we are still here for you, working hard to support artists to share and engage you with great dance – if you are able, please consider making a donation here to support us.

Read about EncoreEast’s latest project BODY TALK here.