Not many speakers on arrival would take in their stride the news that
they couldn't use their PowerPoint display. We regret that our
misunderstanding meant that Assis Carreiro has to rely on her own voice.
Fear from being deterred, she spoke for well over an hour and we were
captivated. I feel sure that Dance East would never have been in their
promising situation without the drive and communication skills of Assis,
their Director. She first outlined her own background - born in the
Azores, brought up in Canada, worked for the National Ballet of Canada,
Director of a Birmingham dance school and then a London company where
she was a successful fund raiser.
She came to Suffolk in 2000, to Suffolk Dance which became Dance East.
They are based at Northgate Arts Centre where there is only one dance
studio plus other rooms with concrete floors - not ideal! Their new
building on the Waterfront adjoining the 23 storey tower will occupy
four floors. The shell is nearly complete and after the fitting out
they expect to open in the autumn of next year.
Assis described the impressive range of activities run by Dance East.
It involves adults as well as children with particular groups of, for
instance, children in foster care, children in hospital, obese young
people and, of course, high powered work and study for young people with
potential as dancers - different kinds of dance, because as she insisted
it is not a ballet school as some might assume.
Fund raising and invitations to donate equipment are being co-ordinated
in the Red Shoe Appeal. Our Society has subsequently decided to sponsor
a seat to underline our support for this significant cultural
organisation in Ipswich.