East London Dance

East Wall Warm-Up, Hannah Anderson-Ricketts, 2016. Photo: Victor Frankowski
Big Dance, Olga Primary School, 2016. Photo: Harriet Guest

What We Believe

Everyone has the right to dance.

Whether we are creating, participating or watching – dance can be enjoyed by all. It is exercise, it is entertainment, it is art, it is social change. Dance can thrill, tell stories, educate and inspire, it is liberating, energising, inclusive and fun.

Dance transcends language barriers and crosses cultural borders. A universal language that speaks to something deep within us all, it brings people and communities together and is as diverse as the people who do it.

Dance brings us closer to music and has the power to improve our physical health and mental wellbeing. It is whatever our bodies will allow. It can take a lifetime to perfect, but be picked up in seconds. It can start with a toe tap yet, with unlimited possibilities, stretch the human body to its very limits. It is the ultimate form of personal expression.

We love dance, it changes lives for the better and we believe that everyone has the right to access its benefits.

Collabo, Rugged Estate, 2016. Photo: Stephen Ambrose

How We Work

We pride ourselves in our open approach to sharing dance with as many people as we can. We are always looking for new ways to create and produce dance, new venues, new partners to work with, new artists, new participants and new audiences. We are privileged to be working in such a socially dynamic area of London. Our work reflects this and it gives us the ability to connect with a whole range of engaged and talented people and to seek out those who might not usually be given such opportunities. When it comes to dance, there are no limits and we do our best to squeeze as much out of the resources available to us as is humanly possible.

Dancing Landscapes. Photo: Hugo Glendinning

What We Do

For audiences

As an ambitious creative producer we curate and stage wide-ranging dance experiences; from theatre performances, festivals and other outdoor events, to site-specific shows and even digital broadcasts. Our work reflects our local and artistic communities and aims to explore the things that are important to them in unique and unexpected ways.

For children and young people

Children and young people are at the heart of our organisation. We empower young people to get involved in dance through schemes such as our Youth Company and Youth Advisory Board, to develop their ideas and artistry through professional training programmes like The Fi.ELD and provide dance classes and performance opportunities along the way. We offer progression routes for all regardless of age or ability, introducing those who are new to dance to its benefits and give those more advanced the skills and knowledge to take their next step into a career in dance.

For artists and producers

Dance artists and producers are our lifeblood. We are committed to identifying, nurturing and launching east London artists and dance producers with distinct creative voices. We build long-term relationships that offer continuous support, opportunities and development advice across genres and art forms to help artists and producers sustain prolific careers in dance.

For adults and older people

We offer weekly adult dance classes including Leap of Faith, specifically for those over the age of 65. Ambitious projects with our older dancers have seen them perform in places such as Trafalgar Square and the Houses of Parliament. We work with health organisations and artists to explore the benefits of dance on health and are proud that our work with older people is the basis for important scientific research into prevention of falls in the elderly.

For schools

We work with schools in all sorts of ways and can deliver projects to meet their needs. We help schools achieve Arts Mark and pupils to gain Arts Award.

For partners and clients

A huge amount of our work is delivered in partnership. We bring our dance expertise and extensive knowledge of our local communities to creative collaborations with all sorts of different organisations. You can see all our partners here or find out how to commission our services here.

East Wall Warm-Up, Becky Namgauds, 2016. Photo: Ben Stanley

Our History

East London Dance was established in the London Borough of Newham in 1987 as a regional dance council with a remit to develop dance opportunities for everyone across the outer east London boroughs. Kiki Gale arrived in 1991 on a 6 month, part time Dance Animateur contract and went on to develop and lead the organisation until her departure in Summer 2013.

East London Dance became an Arts Council England regularly funded organisation in 1994. In 1996 the organisation reconstituted as a regional dance development agency and became a company limited by guarantee in addition to being a registered charity.

East London Dance advised on the development of Stratford Circus and in 2001 moved in as resident partner to the newly opened community arts venue where we have been based ever since.

In 2006 East London Dance established the London Thames Gateway Dance Partnership (LTGDP) with Chisenhale Dance Space, Greenwich Dance, Laban and the ten local authorities in east and south east London, aiming to position dance at the forefront of social and urban regeneration. LTGDP has since initiated the Pan London Dance Partnership, opening up the membership across London.

In 2007 East London Dance was one of the founding members of Stratford Rising, a unique consortium of cultural organisations in Stratford working together to position arts and culture at the forefront of the major regeneration that is happening in Stratford. In 2009 East London Dance became the Big Dance lead hub for east London, securing 4-year investment from Legacy Trust UK to take dance into unusual spaces and reach new audiences and participants.

2012 was, unsurprisingly, a significant year for East London Dance with the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games taking place on our doorstep. During the year we were one of the partners for British Dance Edition 2012 – a biennial showcase event for international promoters – which took place across London for the first time ever; and we delivered a diverse and ambitious programme as part of the Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival.

Stratford and east London continue to undergo radical change and redevelopment with new communities arriving, new spaces appearing and new investment being made. East London Dance looks forward to the exciting journey ahead – the new people we will inspire, the new talent we will discover, and the new ideas we will realise.

1000 Pieces Puzzle, 2016. Photo: Carmen Klammer

Our Team

East London Dance has a small, committed and dynamic staff team.

Jane Hackett is covering the maternity leave of East London Dance Director Polly Risbridger.

We also host work placements and internships regularly

We have a strong and experienced Board of Trustees:

Moira Sinclair (Chair)

Moira is Director of Paul Hamlyn Foundation. Previously she was Executive Director for London and South East at Arts Council England and is currently Vice Chair of Look Ahead Care and Support.

Graham Ambrose

Graham is a Managing Director at Goldman Sachs. He advises institutional investors with regard to equity investments, and specialises in the Asia-Pacific region, where he lived for 8 years during the 1990s.

Jairaj Amin

Jairaj is a finance, property and private equity specialist, and he is the Founding Partner of Bruton Capital LLP working in both the UK and EU.

Georgina Harper

Georgina is a dance theatre producer working primarily for ZooNation Dance Company. She is also Creative Director for MOVE IT dance exhibition and is currently developing a number of independent dance theatre and circus projects. She lives in Walthamstow.

Fionnuala Hogan

Fionnuala heads strategy and investment for alternative asset classes for a family office led boutique, in addition to working as an independent consultant with companies on business strategy, organisational growth and funding. She brings over 20 years experience of corporate advisory, restructuring and financing to companies she works with, with previous senior roles spanning larger corporates and start-up environments. In addition to ELD, she is also a governor of the Southbank Centre and was previously a Trustee of Tomorrow’s Warriors.

Laura Jones

Laura is a Senior Dance Artist and Interim Artist Director of Stopgap Dance Company. As well as performing globally, she was a Dance Captain for the London 2012 Paralympic Opening Ceremony, and choreographed the 2016 Heritage Flame Ceremony. She has extensive teaching experience and a growing range of advocacy and consultancy work within the field of disability dance.

Farah Nazeer

Farah is a policy, public affairs, campaigning and communications specialist. She is a Councillor in Newham and is also Director of Policy and Campaigns at Bond UK.

Nikhil Shah

Nikhil is the Cofounder of online radio platform Mixcloud. As a resident of east London and long standing member of the startup community, he brings expertise in entrepreneurship, creative technology and digital content.

Sara-Ellen Williams

Sara-Ellen is a hugely experienced producer and project manager and is currently Head of Events for the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Prior to this she led the volunteer cast department for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Opening and Closing Ceremonies.

Paul Woodmansey

Paul is a communications professional currently heading up the PR for digital film, music and video games at Amazon.co.uk. Paul most recently led the communications for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games Opening & Closing Ceremonies, the Cultural Olympiad and associated the education programme.

We also work with a vast range of artists, practitioners and consultants – get to know some of them here.

Dancing Landscapes. Photo: Hugo Glendinning

Support Us

As a registered charity, we are based in the most deprived borough in London and the third most deprived in the UK. We must fundraise half of our annual turnover from private sources, including individual donations and corporate sponsorship.

Visit here to find out how you can support us.

East Wall Warm-Up, Erion Kruja, 2016. Photo: Ben Cooper-Melchiors

Work With Us

Vacancies

We advertise all our job vacancies on our Opportunities pages.

Work Experience and Internships

We offer work experience to young people who live in east London. There is high demand for this so we set up opportunities through local schools and offer several work experience opportunities a year.

We also offer internships through the Creative Employment Programme, higher education institutes and occasionally on individual request.

Teach for Us

We have an Artist Bank of dance teachers and practitioners that lead our classes and projects. If you would like to join this Artist Bank and be considered for teaching opportunities, please email your CV to office@eastlondondance.org. We review CVs quarterly and will be in touch if we would like to meet you.

Volunteering

We often offer volunteering opportunities on our projects. If you are interested in volunteering with us please visit our Opportunities pages to see if there is anything on offer at the moment.

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