DanceHouse prepares for opening

The sprung floors have been laid, the foyer and reception is being fitted out, the plumbing's being tested, ceilings are being dropped into place.

Andrew Clarke

The sprung floors have been laid, the foyer and reception is being fitted out, the plumbing's being tested, ceilings are being dropped into place - DanceEast's new �8.9 million Jerwood DanceHouse on the Ipswich Waterfront is being readied to receive its first enthusiastic dancers first thing on Monday morning.

DanceEast's artistic director Assis Carreiro said that although scaffolding still shrouded the building, everything would be in place for when the doors opened on Monday.

“Access to the building is severely limited at the moment because we have just laid the flooring for the public areas of the building and no-one can go into those areas for three days while the floor sets and seals itself. However at 7am on Sunday we have a team of 100 ready to swarm all over the building finishing up all those last minute jobs so we are ready to greet our public next week and show the world what a wonderful DanceHouse this is.”

The DanceHouse covers four floors of The Mill, the 23 storey tower on the Ipswich waterfront, and houses housing three dance studios, a 200-seat studio theatre, fitness suites, bar, caf� and dancewear shop. Assis said that the DanceHouse will make Ipswich a national centre for dance - bringing professional groups from London to the town as well as drawing talented youngsters to the area for training.

Although the first dancers and exercise classes will be coming through the doors to try out the new studio spaces on Monday, the DanceHouse doesn't officially open until October 9-11 with a weekend of events entitled Let Yourself Go!

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She said that they plan for a large carnival style celebration to launch the DanceHouse “open-house” weekend. Assis said: “We want the people of Ipswich and Suffolk to be literally dancing in the street. We have a wonderful new dance, which is really easy to learn, and we want to go from the Ipswich Cornhill down to the Waterfront, dancing all the way.

“We want the entire community to have ownership of this facility and feel that it is theirs whether they are attending a class or just popping in for a coffee.”

The public dance has been created by comedy dance troupe New Art Club. It has already been road-tested on various people around Ipswich. “Dance comic duo, have created a simple dance to James Brown's Get Up Offa That Thing, a tune guaranteed to get you moving. We have made a film featuring staff from Royal Mail, Auto-Fit, The Co-op, Lloyds, Suffolk County Council, along with children from Ipswich School and Deben High School showing you how to do it. Now it is your turn to get family, friends, colleagues and mates to get together and learn the dance and join the parade!”

If you would like to learn the dance, clips are available on the DanceEast website or call 01473 295230 to receive your free DVD.

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