“The film, the dancer, the choreography of Afterwardness expand the silent spaces of the poem into the inner drama, the strenuous struggle of the body and mind freed into lyric motion. “ Dancing Words, Mimi Khalvati
I am a British born dancer of mixed heritage. I am a curator, a Development Dance Artist and I am director of Ella Mesma Company. I aspire to inspire transformation and explore and celebrate identity using diaspora dance theatre. Trained at Laban and the Place, but beginning with Afro Latin dance styles and breaking, my diverse performance experience includes touring with the Russell Maliphant Company, performing for Lea Anderson and in the Olympics Opening Ceremony. With my company, I have been commissioned by Sadler’s Wells, Dance City and the National Circus Centre, and have had my work performed at The ICA Festival in South Africa and at the Women in Dance Leadership Conference in New York. I was a future Dance Leader (ABLE 2013), a Bench fellow (2015) a Casa Latin American Festival resident artist (2016) Associate Dance Artist (Dance City 2017), and am currently Associate artist at the Trinity Centre in Bristol. My last piece Ladylike was runner up best production for the Lukas awards (Latin UK Awards) 2018. I am also the creative vision behind Roots of Rumba Festival and co-Produce We Created Our Life, a festival celebrating diversity and empowerment. I also enjoy social justice art, languages and beautiful lights!
Anna Alvarez studied ballet, athletics and performing arts as a child. In Buenos Aires she studied D.N.I Tango and graduated from the The Faculdade de Dança Angel Vianna in Rio De Janeiro. She apprenticed with Cia de Dança Deborah Colker in 2013 and Vertigo Dance Company in Israel in 2014. She has worked for Gustavo Cirico, Frederico Paredes, Maira Maneschy, Ella Mesma Company, the Leandro Palou Tango Academy and with Gonzalo Ferro.
Azara Meghie is a black LGBTQI performer. Her first live solo performance I Am A Woman was created in Jamaica. She collaborated with Kai Fi’ain to develop a video piece which screened at the BFI Flare Film Festival 2017 and seven film festivals across London, Berlin and New York. She has just finished her second film Breaking Down my Trans-Lation.
Born in Lower Hutt, New Zealand, David Evans studied breaking and salsa as a teenager in the U.S. He graduated with a Diploma in Dance from Trinity Laban in 2017 with distinction and was awarded the dance award and choreographer award. David has worked for Ella Mesma Company, Tate Britain (Late at Tate: Speculate Series), The Rambert Building for Vintage Rambert, and Rahel Vonmoos.
Elsabet Yonas is a movement artist, with a background in Hip Hop. Movement is her main tool of expression, but her passion lies in storytelling. As well as creating work for stage and film, she loves performing and teaching. She is currently working in her community as a ‘Tottenham UpLIFTer’ on a five-year project making art accessible to teenagers. Recent stage work includes ‘A/Free-Can’ (Zinnema Theatre, Brussels) and ‘What I Don’t Remember’ (Sadlers Wells, London).
Franck Arnaud Lusbec grew up between Paris and the French Caribbean island Martinique. He attended Rick Odums International Jazz Center where in trained in Ballet, Jazz and Modern. and was also part of a hip-hop company, Insolite Crew with whom he participated in events, music videos (I Got It by Diversidad) and contests such as “MTV Shake ton Booty” (2nd place in 2010, 1st place in 2011). He moved to New York where he joined the Certificate Program at Peridance Capezio Center in 2013. Franck stayed in New York working for INNOvartists and appeared in ABC’s Good Morning America as well as music videos. In 2015 he founded Free FAL’L Dance Company who have performed in France, Martinique and Guadeloupe.
Born in Taiwan, Hsing Ya Wu practices Ballet, Modern, Gaga, Tai-Chi, Yoga & Belly dance. Performance experience includes Feng Dance Theatre, Dance Forum Taipei Company, WC dance company, Appetite Dance Productions and Ella Mesma Company. Hsing Ya has also taken part in a Choreography Residency at Watermill Center, Long Island in New York, The American Dance Festival and The Taipei Artist Village.
Lucia Afonso is a capoeirista and dancer and trained at CHOREIA in Paris. She is also trained in Break, Popping, Jazz Rock, Hip Hop, Hype and House and has competed and won numerous battles including Juste Debut and Micadanses. Performance experience includes an Afro- Hip Hop company A Part Être who toured France, Europe and South America with their show. She also performs for Jukebox, Orchidaceae Urban Tribal Fusion Belly Dance, Piny Orchidaceae and has performed in Grafitti artist Vhils recent work, DYPTIK, Filastine and more.
Toni Stuart is a South African poet, performer and spoken word educator, her work has been published in anthologies, journals and non-fiction books locally and abroad. She has collaborated with artists from a range of disciplines. Her performances include I Come To My Body As A Question with flamenco company dotdotdot, at Sadler’s Wells Theatre (London, 2016 & 2017) and a group show at the Paris Autumn Festival 2013 (as part of France South Africa Seasons 2012/2013). In 2014 was part of the Scottish Poetry Library’s Commonwealth Poets United exchange. In 2013 she was named in the Mail and Guardian’s list of 200 inspiring Young South Africans. She has an MA Writer/Teacher (Distinction) from Goldsmiths, University of London, where she was a 2014/2015 Chevening Scholar. She is one half of international poetry/music duo Gertrude & Jemima with UK poet/drummer Remi Graves. She was the founding curator of Poetica, at Open Book Festival.
Our lighting designer
Ciaran Cunningham has worked closely alongside Ella Mesma since 2011, lighting Ecdysis (Sadler’s Wells Lilian Baylis Studio/UK Tour); Orixás (The Place Robin Howard Dance Theatre/UK Tour): Evol (Birmingham Hippodrome/UK Tour): Ladylike (Sadler’s Wells theatre/ UK Tour). Ciarán Cunningham trained at East 15 Acting School where he gained a BA Honors in Stage Management and Technical Theatre (Lighting Design). As freelance Lighting Designer he has designed for Into the woods and Brink (Manchester Royal Exchange). Sizwe Banze is dead (Young Vic/UK Tour); Sound of yellow (Young Vic); Sense of sound’s: Migration Music (Liverpool Everyman Theatre); Scrappers (Liverpool Playhouse). AFD: Jazz (Florence Fould Hall NYC); AFD: Just Dance (Piazza Teatru Rjal Malta/Winchester Theatre Royal); AFD: Pop 8 (Lion and Unicorn Theatre); Up & Over it (Hackney Empire Theatre); 4 BY 6 and RealPoltik (Michaelis Theatre) and Birds (UK Tour).
Big Feast (Producer)
Toni Stuart (Poet)
Sabio Janiak (Musician)
Keith Mills (Musician)
Benjamin Winst (Technologist)
Patrick Ziza (Dancer)
Lianett Rodriguez Gonzalez (Dancer)
Gabriela Montgomery-Solano (Dancer)
Mariana Camiloti (Dancer)
Rita Vilhena (Dancer)
Sophia Theodosiou (Dancer)
Simone Foster (Dancer)
Alice Henry (Dancer)
Emma Houston (Dancer)
Our Previous Partners
Our mentors (Thank you)
Nia Phillips, Militsa Stojanovic, Lubi Jovanovic, Bobak Walker, De Napoli Clarke, Merville Jones, Helen Wilson, ABC Trust, Wieke Eringa, Circo Picolino, Pearl Chesterman, Jonzi D, Kate Scanlan, Dr Abby Hoffman, Bgirl Rokafella, Kwikstep, Angel Ortiz (Lisa Ullman scholarship), Dr Nathalie Teitler, Kev (Renegade), Gavin Vincent, Abby Hoffman, La Ena- Havana, Funceb- Salvador da Bahia (Winston Churchill Fellowship), Denilson Owulafemi, The Graham school (Lisa Ullman scholarship), Miguel Gonzalez, Lianett Rodrigues, Gil & Shelley (Pexava), Patricia Stead, Pawlett Brookes, Fergus Evans, Charlotte Vincent, Peggy Olislaegers, Lea Anderson, Sharon Watson, Neville Campbell, Ben Dunks…