Posted on August 21, 2012
Assis Carreiro, the driving force behind DanceEast, has been appointed artistic director of the Royal Ballet of Flanders. She joins the Antwerp-based company at a difficult time. The previous director, Kathryn Bennetts, clashed with the Flemish culture minister, Joke Schauvliege, over plans to amalgamate the Antwerp opera and ballet companies under a single intendant.
Carreiro (pictured), one of the most influential figures in dance in the UK, was born in the Azores and grew up in Canada. She was director of education, community outreach and publications for the National Ballet of Canada for 12 years, before moving to the UK in 1994. She was the founding director of DanceXchange in Birmingham, before working for Wayne McGregor | Random Dance and at The Place. Like Kathryn Bennetts, she has links to the choreographer William Forsythe: where Bennetts danced for Forsythe’s Frankfurt Ballet, Carreiro was dance programmer at DasTAT for the company.
Since joining DanceEast in 2000, Carreiro has transformed the Ipswich-based organisation. Under her direction, the organisation has built the Jerwood DanceHouse, a £9 million permanent home on the Ipswich waterfront. Last year, Arts Council England recognised DanceEast’s achievements by awarding it National Portfolio Organisation status.
Under Carreiro, DanceEast has presented world premieres by choreographers and companies including Wayne McGregor | Random Dance, Jasmin Vardimon, Rafael Bonachela, Russell Maliphant and Will Tuckett. It has also established an outreach programme, taking dance to schools throughout East Anglia. The organisation was invited to become a Centre for Advanced Training (CAT) by the Department of Education as part of the Music and Dance Scheme.
Carreiro initiated Rural Retreats, a series of international think tanks for existing and future artistic directors and leaders. She also set up the National Centre for Choreography, with research and development Choreographic Labs for experienced choreographers to explore new areas and experiment with dancers and artists from a range of other disciplines. Earlier this year, Carreiro secured funding for “Come Dance With Me”, an online dance series for the on-demand digital arts service The Space. She is launching Moko Dance, a three-year national strategic partnership to develop work for young audiences.
Carreiro said: “I have had 13 fantastic years at DanceEast, developing projects like the Rural Retreats and the DanceEast Academy and building the Jerwood DanceHouse, wonderful world-class facilities that will be here for generations to come. The decision to leave DanceEast at such an exciting time did not come lightly, but the opportunity to develop a world-class ballet company and dance facility presented an opportunity that I could not pass up. My career in dance was started at the National Ballet of Canada and I am thrilled to be returning to the world of ballet and taking on new challenges as artistic director of the Royal Ballet of Flanders and I hope that we can develop international partnerships across the North Sea between our organisations into the future.”
Kathryn Bennetts speaks to Graham Watts in the September issue of Dancing Times, on sale on August 26.
Photograph: Sylvaine Poitau