Tribute paid to dance figure

COLLEAGUES have paid tribute to DanceEast's programme manager Richard Whistler, who died during the Christmas break. Richard Whistler, 39, was described as “a much loved member” of the DanceEast team, and was a key part of ongoing work to open a new DanceHouse on Ipswich waterfront.

COLLEAGUES have paid tribute to DanceEast's programme manager Richard Whistler, who died during the Christmas break.

Richard Whistler, 39, was described as “a much loved member” of the DanceEast team, and was a key part of ongoing work to open a new DanceHouse on Ipswich waterfront.

Assis Carreiro, DanceEast Director, said “Everyone at DanceEast is shocked at the tragic news about the passing of Richard.

“He played a key role at DanceEast and his passion for this art form, generosity of spirit and integrity will be sorely missed.

“Richard had a very successful career already as a dancer and now in management.

“He had a wonderful future in front of him.

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“His energy and enthusiasm coupled with his warm personality will be missed not only at DanceEast but by the entire dance community and the arts world but more by his family and friends and our condolences go out to them at this sad time.

“Richard will be greatly missed by us all.”

James Hehir, chief executive at Ipswich Borough Council and chair of the board at DanceEast, praised Mr Whistler's commitment to DanceEast.

He said: “I have the utmost respect for his contribution to DanceEast but this does not emphasise the personal qualities that made Richard so likeable.

“Obviously our sympathies are with his family and close friends at this time.”

Mr Whistler was born in Southend, Essex and left at the age of 11 to train at The Royal Ballet School.

He enjoyed a ten-year career as a performer, dancing with The Scottish Ballet and Birmingham Royal Ballet.

After a decade as a professional dancer, he re-trained and moved into arts management.

He went on to manage marketing and programming activities at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance in Leeds.

Mr Whistler joined the DanceEast senior management team in June 2006 and took over responsibility for artistic, education and community work across Suffolk.

Would you like to pay tribute to Mr Whistler? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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