Gallery: Dancing delight as �8.9m centre opens

IPSWICH went dance crazy at the weekend as a new �8.9 million dance centre was officially opened.

Richard Cornwell

IPSWICH went dance crazy at the weekend as a new �8.9 million dance centre was officially opened.

There was a carnival atmosphere as dancers brought the town centre and waterfront to a standstill - with hundreds joining in a new dance called Let Yourself Go.

Dignitaries, including Ipswich MP Chris Mole and East of England minister Barbara Follett, danced on an open-top bus which travelled from the Cornhill to the new Jerwood DanceHouse with a colourful and noisy crowd following on behind.

The new DanceEast centre on the waterfront was a hive of activity all weekend to celebrate the opening, giving the public a chance to see its world-class facilities.

The government-funded centre on the former Cranfields Mill site comprises three dance studios, a 200-seater studio theatre, a waterfront caf�, a dance resource library, pilates and therapy suites, showers and changing rooms, creating a new cultural hub for the area.

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There were demonstrations and free taster sessions as the public got to grips with a range of dance styles with the Royal Ballet and morris dancers, hip hop to Egyptian belly dancing, musical theatre to ceilidh.

Opening the centre, regional minister Barbara Follett said it was “a real feelgood moment for Ipswich”.

“This project has taken an enormous amount of work to bring it together and will be a great asset for the region,” she said.

Assis Carreiro, artistic director and chief executive of Dance East, said everyone was thrilled with the DanceHouse, and it was a fantastic building which provided great opportunities for the future.

She thanked everyone involved in the project, particularly those who gave financial support, including the Arts Council, East of England Development Agency, Suffolk County and Ipswich Borough Council.