An Ipswich well-known dance organisation based on the Waterfront is celebrating its 40th birthday. 

DanceEast started off as Suffolk Dance in 1983 and, since 2009, has been located at Jerwood DanceHouse by Ipswich Waterfront. 

To celebrate the huge anniversary, the DanceEast charity has announced an extension to its bursary fund for the spring and summer terms in 2024.   

Thanks to donations by the Suffolk Community Foundation’s RJB Grantmaking Fund and Suffolk Community Foundation’s Maurken Fund, the organisation will provide 19 places for free dance classes for children and young people at the Ipswich school. 

Ipswich Star: Saturday Dance Club aged 4 - 7, Rachel CherrySaturday Dance Club aged 4 - 7, Rachel Cherry (Image: Rachel Cherry)

This included dance for tots (1-4 years), creative dance (4-7 years and 8-11 years), breakdance (9-16 years), youth contemporary (11-16 years) and springboard youth (8-15 years with additional needs). 

Ipswich Star: DanceEast Ipswich celebrates its 40th birthday this year, NewsquestDanceEast Ipswich celebrates its 40th birthday this year, Newsquest (Image: Newsquest)

Bryony Hope, head of communications and development, said that DanceEast is celebrating its 40th anniversary by sharing the joy of dance.   

She added: “It has been a great thrill to be able to offer free places on our Ipswich classes programme this autumn term with funding from Ipswich Borough Council, the Belstead Ganzoni Charitable Settlement, and individual donors, to local children and young people who could otherwise not afford to attend.  

Ipswich Star: Bryony Hope, DanceEastBryony Hope, DanceEast (Image: DanceEast)

“The further funding from Suffolk Community Foundation means we can extend this offer across the full calendar year.  

 “We believe that dance is for everyone, and the first step is being able to access great dance classes.  

 “At a time when more than one in three local children are living in poverty, and all families are finding it harder than ever to afford extra-curricular arts activity, it felt critical to make a route to dance for all local children and young people.  

Ipswich Star: Saturday dance club, Rachel CherrySaturday dance club, Rachel Cherry (Image: Rachel Cherry)

“Ultimately, our ambition is for our classes programme to be fully accessible to the entire Ipswich community – starting with equitable access for children and young people regardless of socio-economic background.”