“Pushes the form beyond battles and bravado” EXEUNT MAGAZINE
Our Mission and Aims
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. The company have a unique movement language using a diverse range of techniques including contemporary dance, contact work from partner dances (such as salsa, tango, kizomba), 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.
Ella Mesma Company aspire to:
- Work collaboratively as a family/team/company
- Work with the ‘Elephants in the room’
- Promote theatre as a tool to create ethical, political, personal work and conversation
- Ensure that everyone can watch and enjoy theatre
- Empower through the arts: Create opportunities to learn, study and exchange through the medium of Afro-Latin, Hip-Hop and folk dances, and enabling artists through performance platforms.
- Pay respects to our ancestral dance forms and create an innovative mix of these styles
- Celebrate diversity and promote equality
Ella Mesma is interested in talking about and representing communities under represented in the theatre and on the stage.
Ella Mesma Company love to engage with their audience: to reach those without a background in dance and theatre and to speak to the heart. The company also like to connect to their audience through discussions and play: we often include pre-show events to create interest and understanding around the context of the work.
The company tour workshops and outreach work, including professional class, community workshops, and projects for schools.
Since its formation in 2011, with a premiere at Breakin’ Convention (Sadler’s Wells) with a solo called Evol, 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. 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. The company were runners up for the ‘Best Dance Production of The Year’ by the Latino Life LUKAS Awards 2018.
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).
The company created a solo working with Anthony Egea of Compagnie Revolution (France) called ‘Ecdysis‘.
The Company was officially launched as Ella Mesma Company in 2014, when they were commissioned to make ‘Orixás‘ for the Billingham Festival.
Ella Mesma reworked ‘Orixás’, which premiered at The Place as part of Resolutions. She 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.
In 2016, Mesma was made Associate Dance Artist at Dance City and during that time began working on new solo ‘Papyllon‘.
Sadler’s Wells commissioned the company for their own wild card ‘Guerreras’, featuring the premiere of ‘Ladylike’.
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 were awarded an IGNITE artist residency in Bristol at The Trinity Centre working on ‘Foreign Bodies’, as well as support from Metal (Liverpool).
Ella Mesma continued the development of ‘Papyllon’ with Serendipity and The Curve in Leicester in 2018 and an AIDF grant to South Africa to collaborate with poet Toni Stuart.
Roots of Rumba, funded by Arts Council of England, went on a tour of the UK, visiting 6 venues, as well as extensive research into understanding what the festival is and how it contributes to the development of diaspora dance theatre supported by Eclipse Theatre.
Ladylike went to New York, and finished up the UK tour: The last show being to Dance City in July. The piece also won an award as runner up for the LUKAS awards as Best Dance Production 2018.
The Research for Foreign Bodies began, supported by a commission from Metal and a grant from Arts Council of England, and Ella was made Associate Artist at Trinity Centre in Bristol.
Ella Mesma began touring her HOME Series across the UK.
Ella became a resident at the Pervasive Media Studio.
Ella travelled back to South Africa to give a series of workshops.
To read Ella Mesma and company members biographies click here