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26 Aug 2022

As the leaves start turning golden and there is a nip in the air, we are excited to launch our Autumn 2022 programme, but before we move into the new season, we wanted to look back on the amazing summer we’ve had! We danced on beaches, in parks, and in dusty festival fields, bringing the joy of dance to new communities and in new capacities.

To start the summer season off strong, we were delighted to share a double bill of previews from two exciting emerging dance companies, Matsena Productions and House of Absolute, ahead of their London premieres at Sadler’s Wells. Both performances explored identity and displacement, through the blend of powerful dance and music. Shades of Blue, performed by Matsena Productions, was conceived by artistic brothers Kel and Anthony Matsena, and was a work crafted for our times. House of Absolute’s Warrior Queens presented the powerful nature of female warriors throughout history, delving into the legendary folk myth of ‘Hua Mulan’ and Virginia Woolf’s ‘Orlando’.

Launching into July, we experienced a youthquake of inspiring talent and creativity. On Saturday 9 July, the building filled with energy as we hosted the first ever Youth Takeover during the day and NYDC performed Quartier Paradis in the evening. Thirty outstanding young dancers (including some of our wonderful CAT graduates) presented a skilful, beautiful piece choreographed by Alesandra Seutin.

Then suddenly, festival season was upon us, and we dug out the glitter once again. After the pandemic, it felt particularly liberating to share the power of dance to curious crowds at festivals across the county. We had a great time boogying on the beach at First Light Festival and at Primadonna Festival in Stowmarket with Glass House Dance.

To be back at Latitude felt particularly special, bringing dance to the crowds once again down at the Waterfront Stage. Folk Dance Remixed started the weekend off right with a Ceilidh Jam on the Thursday night, spreading collective joy and a giant Mexican wave through the crowds stretching far and wide. McNicol Ballet Collective performed their hauntingly beautiful ballet piece OF SILENCE, whilst Jose Agudo used Flamenco and contemporary dance to create a dramatic adaptation of Carmen. The euphoric energy on stage from Shechter II’s piece radiated into the crowds, and similarly from Stopgap Dance Company’s uplifting dance riot piece, Frock. We loved being apart of the Inbetweeners Stage, encouraging young people to take part and learn new styles of dance, including Body Percussion, Breakdancing, Bollywood and Bharatanatyam dance.

Dancing in the Parks returned to local parks this summer, which was a fantastic opportunity to share dance with families and young people at the heart of Ipswich’s community. Laura Wright and Martell Richardson led the brilliant dance workshops, teaching routines to the anthem of this summer, Beyonce’s Break My Soul! Glass House Dance brought their Time Machine Disco to the parks, getting people of all ages on their feet dancing. Old Kent Road shared their passion and skill for tap dance, and the Kickstart Company brought their performance back to nature with a duet inspired by Derek Jarman’s poetry.

We hosted our Let’s Dance! Holiday Club which was a fun 3 days of dancing, wellbeing, and arts and crafts. One of the highlights was at the end of the week when the two groups (age 4 -7 and 8 – 11) did a sharing of the dance they learnt in the theatre at the Jerwood DanceHouse.

The CAT end of year show was a fantastic finale to bring the summer season to a close. In their Summer Intensive the week before, the students (aged 11 – 18) worked incredibly hard to learn and finesse their pieces before the final show. Students performed a mixed bill of original works commissioned by influential national and international choreographers. On Sunday 7 August, the CAT graduates performed at the National Theatre’s River Stage festival at London’s South Bank. This year, Hofesh Shechter Company did a takeover of the National Theatre’s River Stage for the weekend, as part of the free summer festival on London’s South Bank. The DanceEast CAT graduates performed an extract from Hofesh Shechter’s iconic work, Political Mother.

A special thank you to all the incredible tutors, dance artists, choreographers and volunteers who worked so hard on helping facilitate our summer programme. We are excited to get started with our Autumn programme. Explore our upcoming shows and book your tickets here.