East London Dance’s Annual Review 2020-21

Summer Dance School, 2020. Image from film by Ravi Deepres

Introduction from the Annual Review

How do you begin to assess a year like 2020-21? Due to the COVID pandemic, it was and still is a very difficult and precarious time for the arts. As we know, many arts organisations lost staff and had to completely shut down. We were incredibly fortunate to be able to retain our staff team and keep chipping away. Much of the work we do is based around building up resilience and mental wellbeing in young people and artists. Throughout the year the effect of this focus really shone through as our team, participants and artists showed incredible resilience in the face of adversity. 

We survived, we adapted, we came together online, and we created new communities and different ways of working. We ended up more than just chipping away, and as this report shows, we achieved a huge amount in very trying circumstances. From a performance with the BBC Singers to online activity including dance battles, a dance festival, careers advice events, and hundreds of online dance classes. Like the rest of the cultural sector, our commitment to our communities and the arts never wavered.

Behind the scenes, we also continued to secure a new permanent home for East London Dance. I am especially proud, as I step away from the organisation after 18 years and make way for new leadership from the wonderful Tia Hassan and Kate Scanlan, that through robust planning, listening to our communities and the secured legacy of The Talent House, we have laid strong foundations for an exciting, creative and resilient next chapter for the organisation.

Polly Risbridger, Former Chief Executive & Artistic Director, East London Dance


You can read or download a PDF version of the full report by clicking on the below cover image, or you can read an Issuu published version of the full report here.