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. Far 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.