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Our history

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.