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04 Aug 2023

As the final activities of our summer season take place this week, we’re looking back on a busy and exciting summer season. We’ve really enjoyed sharing performances, workshops, and participation opportunities for you all to get involved in and get moving across Suffolk and beyond.

Our summer season began in June, when we returned to the MoonDance Stage at First Light Festival on the sandy beaches of Lowestoft. We had a fantastic weekend sharing performances and workshops for everyone of all ages to get involved with. Highlights included Indian Dance Workshop with Jaina Modasia (featuring live music from the incredible Bollywood Brass Band), a Dance Along Mary Poppins Workshop with Glasshouse Dance and the Ragroof Tea Dance which transported us back in time.

At the end of June, the University of Suffolk BA Dance students finished their degree with a final performance. It was a bittersweet mix of emotions, as the graduates performed their final show together, with Cathy Waller, which also marked the end of the degree course. The cohort of students worked incredibly hard and have been an integral part of the DanceEast community these last two years. We look forward to following their journeys in the future!

On Saturday 8 July, the Jerwood DanceHouse became the destination for young people to visit, as the DanceEast Youth Festival took place and showcased a mix of vibrant local young talent. The festival, which was designed for young people by young people, included music performances in the foyer, dance workshops, and a collage station. The festival was organised by the Youth Festival Team, who did a brilliant job at planning and producing the event, providing a platform for creative young people here in Suffolk. Read the full roundup written by Katie Squirrell here.

We also celebrated 10 years of National Youth Dance Company (NYDC). They brought to DanceEast their latest show, Novacene, choreographed by Wayne McGregor CBE. The amazing talent of the dancers, combined with the sci-fi background, electronic dance music and costumes designed by Grace Wales Bonner created an unforgettable performance. The show was followed by a DJ set and party in the foyer with the NYDC cast to celebrate their 10 Year Anniversary.

We returned to Latitude Festival, and it was great to be back in the luscious green surroundings of Henham Park. We programmed performances for the idyllic Waterfront Stage, which had a great turn out from crowds watching from the water’s edge (including the neon pink sheep watching over us!). Fatt Project’s opened the weekend with a glittery, glorious dance party that got the crowds moving and shaking ready for the weekend. Other highlights included performances by Avant Garde Dance, Vanhulle Dance Theatre, New Adventures, Joss Arnott Company and Jasmin Vardimon’s JV2.

It was a busy July for the DanceEast’s Centre for Advanced Training (CAT) students, as they took part in their Summer Intensive and prepared for the End of Year Show. This is always a highlight of the CAT year and a joy to see the students perform and share their hard work with family, friends, and supporters of DanceEast.

This year, the students had the opportunity to work with a selection of national and international choreographers – including Avant Garde Dance Company, Far From the Norm, Flexer & Sandiland, James Cousins Company, SAY, Stopgap Dance Company, and Vanhulle Dance Theatre. The final performance went down a treat and got the audience dancing along in their seats!

This year’s graduating students were also given the exciting opportunity to perform at the National Theatre’s River Stage. The students have worked with James Cousins Company to re-create the company’s internationally acclaimed work ROSALIND. We also said goodbye to our graduating students. This year our graduating students gained places at Rambert School, Trinity Laban, Urdang, Performers College, and London Contemporary Dance School, amongst others. Find out more about the graduating students here.

Across the final week in July, we shared the joy of dancing with people at our local parks with Movement Mornings. Each day, different guest dance artists led creative dance workshops for all ages and abilities. It was lovely to see the younger and older generation moving together and enjoying learning something new. Movement Mornings was a project that was funded by Public Health (Suffolk County Council), as part of their regional programme Be Well, Feel Well campaign.

Closing a summer of dance, we welcomed 57 young people to Let’s Dance! Holiday Club. They explored the theme ‘Where we live’ through dance (including creative contemporary, breakdance and fusion) and craft activities. It’s a great chance for young people to form new friendships, build confidence and develop fresh new skills.

Our summer activity may be over, but we have a jam-packed programme coming up this autumn at DanceEast. Find out what’s on here.