“Dance at its most physical and most sensual.” Lilia Prier-Tisdale
Ella Mesma Company is a touring dance theatre company led by Artistic Director Ella Mesma, who created the company to make work that reflected her background in Afro-Latin, Breaking and Contemporary dance.Ella Mesma Company is an Afro-Latin and Hip Hop dance theatre company that celebrates cultural and social identity and undoes limiting beliefs. Ella Mesma Company seeks to champion a dance technique and create work which is empowering and inspiring to audiences and artists. With a mixed of dance forms and theatre, the company create bold, political, personal work that anyone can watch.
Since its formation, Ella Mesma Company has been commissioned by a number of leading arts organisations including Sadler’s Wells and National Circus Centre. The company have presented work in a number of highly regarded venues / festivals such as The Place, Breakin’ Convention and Rich Mix. Ella Mesma Company were residents with Casa Latin American Festival 2015, Associate Artists at dance City (2017) and Trinity Centre Bristol as part of their IGNITE program (2018). In 2013, Ella Mesma was selected as a future Dance Leader for the ABLE leadership program and in 2015 awarded a Bench fellowship for emerging female choreographers. They have been nominated for the ‘Best Dance Production of The Year’ by the Latino Life LUKAS Awards.
Ella Mesma is interested in exploring social, cultural identity and communities under represented in the theatre and stage. The company have a unique movement language using a diverse range of techniques including contemporary dance, contact work from partner dances, breaking, afro-latin and latin folkloric dances, capoeira and aerial dance. Artistic director and choreographer Ella tends to work collaboratively with the company and the ‘elephants in the room’ and finds herself interested in explorations of dance as a ritual, dance for transformation and using dance and theatre as a platform to express ideas around politics, society and community.
“Until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.” Chinua Achebe.
2011: Ella Mesma Company was founded in 2011 with a solo which premiered at Breakin’ Convention, titled ‘Evol‘ (Love backwards), working with Compagnie Decalage (UK/France).
2013: The company created another solo a year on, working with Anthony Egea of Compagnie Revolution (France) called ‘Ecdysis‘.
2014: The Company was officially launched as Ella Mesma Company in 2014, when they were commissioned to make ‘Orixás‘ for the Billingham Festival.
2015: Mesma reworked ‘Orixás’, which premiered at The Place as part of Resolutions. Mesma was awarded a Bench fellowship for emerging female choreographers and began working on a larger scale work: ‘Ladylike‘, as well as a short residency with Casa Latin American Theatre Festival.
2016: In 2016, Mesma was made Associate Dance Artist at Dance City and during that time began working on new solo ‘Papyllon‘.
2017: Sadler’s Wells commissioned the company for their own wild card ‘Guerreras’, featuring the premiere of ‘Ladylike’. In 2017, Dance City awarded a phase one commission to Ella Mesma Company for their newest work ‘Foreign Bodies‘, which was ‘Scratched’ at Artist 4 Artists ‘Scratch Dat’ at The Richmix in London. The company also have an IGNITE artist residency in Bristol at The Trinity Centre working on ‘Foreign Bodies’, as well as support from Metal (Liverpool).
2018: Ella Mesma will continue the development of ‘Papyllon’ with Serendipity and The Curve in Leicester in 2018 and an AIDF grant to South Africa.
To read Ella Mesma and company members biographies click here