Stratford dance summit to hold Dragons' Den-style presentations for entrepreneurs

PUBLISHED: 13:26 27 March 2017 | UPDATED: 09:52 28 March 2017

East London Dance Summit 2016. Picture: Jeremy Freedman

East London Dance Summit 2016. Picture: Jeremy Freedman

Jeremy Freedman

Dance entrepreneurs will bid for grants worth thousands of pounds in a Dragons' Den-style pitch at an ideas summit on Friday.

Polly Risbridger, director of East London Dance. Picture: Hugo GlendinningPolly Risbridger, director of East London Dance. Picture: Hugo Glendinning

The 23 contenders, whittled down from 70, will each have three minutes to battle it out for up to £5,000 and in-kind support from top talent at the Dance Enterprise Ideas Summit in Stratford Circus Arts Centre.

Judges representing organisations such as Sadler’s Wells, English National Ballet and Rich Mix will award eight bursaries totalling £20,000 from the Dance Enterprise Ideas Fund.

East London Dance director Polly Risbridger, whose organisation runs the event, said there were “huge opportunities” on offer for ambitious minds.

She said: “The feedback last year was incredible. People felt filled with ideas and there was a real sense of connection for people.”

Previous successes include the creation of a sensory device for deaf audiences to “connect with the music through beats and rhythms”.

Now in its second year, the Dance Enterprise Ideas Summit offers artists, producers, choreographers and organisations the chance to share enterprising ideas – particularly for smaller players.

“It has been a chance for the local sector to understand that change that is happening and to have an influence in it,” said Polly, adding that the summit had created a “united point” for the dance industry.

The day will include discussions about international and cross-border working, collective leadership, crowd-funding, investment and sponsorship plus brand identity and social enterprise.

Polly said it was “energising and exhilarating to see the unprecedented changes taking place across the borough”.

“I am looking forward to feeling inspired by all the ideas,” she said.

The event is supported by Foundation for FutureLondon. Runs 10am-6pm, tickets are still available. Visit

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