My Suffolk

Dancer, academic, researcher, editor, choreographer and dance visionary Dr Scilla Dyke founded Suffolk Dance which would herald a sea change in the UK Arts world. The project became what is now known as DanceEast celebrating its 10th anniversary this autumn. She was awarded an MBE for services to dance, an honorary doctorate from UEA and an honorary fellowship from the University of Liverpool

How did you come to live in Suffolk?

I moved to Suffolk in 1982 after being ‘helicoptered in’ as Dance Artist-in Residence/Dance Animateur/Founder Director of DanceEast. My role was to develop dance in a new artistic role that I somehow sensed – knew instinctively – would be a journey of a lifetime. And although the parameters of my role in dance have expanded across multiple sectors to work nationally and internationally – from FTSE 100 business leaders, neuroscientists, the medical profession, the military, elite athletes and musicians often connecting ideas, collaborating on and/or creating something new… solution focused… disturbing the air and concurrently in dance as a choreographer, advocate for dancers health and well-being, mentor, performance coach, editor and author of international publications and academic interventions, the Royal Ballet, English National Ballet, People Dancing and the Royal Academy of Dance across 84 countries, I continue to live in Suffolk in blissful Lower Ufford.

What do you love about Suffolk?

The people, the communities, the diversity… the passion, the can do let’s find a way culture, the hidden talents, resourcefulness and extraordinary creativity, unknown or unimaginable challenges, opportunities, ever-changing compelling landscapes, the myths and curious tales, cultural heritage, ancient woodlands… the new, the unexpected… the bustling vibrant towns, ports juxtaposed against the slumbering beauty and wilderness of reed-fringed estuaries etching the landscape.

What are your hobbies?

My passions are singing in the all-inclusive extraordinary 400 strong Community Choir – Pop Chorus – be it on the BBC Stage at Latitude, a hospice, care home, tea party, devising an original album featuring in the top 20 Pop Charts, or as a flash mob. We also work closely with forward thinking organisations at the heart of Ipswich such FIND Families in Need and Iceni. And of course, dance… in its multiple guises that will increasingly play a significant part in improving the health and wellbeing of us all… and I mean all… irrespective of life course tackling inactivity in a different and inclusive way.

Tell us more about the film Made in Suffolk

I am deeply humbled and thrilled that Mel Horwood’s film Made in Suffolk is a part of the iconic Jerwood DanceHouse 10th Anniversary Looking Forward celebrations.

Do you get involved in volunteering or charity work?

I volunteer at the Britten-Pears Foundation The Red House, Aldeburgh the creative home of Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears where music was written and performed,
art collected and two lives shared. I’m a passionate advocate and Vice Patron of the inspirational Suffolk Community Foundation that really does change local lives and futures. In addition I am a board member of Candoco Dance Company – the contemporary dance company of disabled and non-disabled dancers that you may have seen on Strictly Come Dancing and have also been involved in The King’s River – Woodbridge Riverside Trust and Woodbridge Waterfront, and Ufford’s Arts Festival.

Have you any suggestions for an Autumn Day Out?

An intimate candlelit evening at Butley Priory listening to modern classical music, piano, strings, electronic beats and ambient soundscapes; watching one of the exciting Premieres at The Jerwood DanceHouse or Sir Richard Alston’s Final Edition at Snape Maltings Concert Hall; sitting outside The Ramsholt Arms overlooking the Deben soaking up the last of the summer sun, flocks of Canadian geese in flight overhead, the burnished landscapes; exploring the River Alde by boat from Snape Maltings – the abundance of wildlife that changes with the seasons and seeping up the stunning views across the mudflats to Iken.

What are your favourite places to eat?

The Artisan Smokehouse, Falkenham; Juniper Barn Café, Rendham; Pump Street Bakery, Orford; The Café Darsham Nurseries; The Leaping Hare, Wyken Vineyards;
The Ufford Crown; The Table, Woodbridge and The White Lion, Lower Ufford.

If you were to choose one picture of Suffolk what would it be?

Shingle Street: Almost by Lee Acaster or Sunrise by James Anderson. These evocative black and white images of Shingle Street at dawn capture the deceptive and brooding power of the sea and of Suffolk… discovered it seems by Danny Boyle in his recent film Yesterday. Or art works by Barrie Haughton and Pippa Darbyshire.