“The superb Ella Mesma” THE TIMES
I am a British born dancer and artist of mixed heritage and I love dance, theatre and beautiful lights! I am a curator, a Development Dance Artist (Yorkshire Dance) and also direct Ella Mesma Company.
I trained at Laban/LSCD (where I now have an MA), but my first love was Salsa, and I began my dance career with Afro Latin & Brazilian styles (touring the UK and internationally with shows and workshops) and breaking (breakdance). I also studied yoga with Abby Hoffman (Embodied Dancer Teacher Training) in 2011 (with a Gil Clarke Scholarship) and at the Karam Kriya School in 2018.
Some highlights of my performance experience include touring internationally with the Russell Maliphant Company (The Rodin Project), performing for Lea Anderson (Trying it On: The Chomondeleys), the Olympics Opening Ceremony and the WCMT and AIDF awards which took me to Brazil, Cuba and South Africa.
Under Ella Mesma Company, I have been commissioned by Sadler’s Wells (Wild Card), Dance City (as Associate Dance Artist 2016-2017) and the National Circus Centre (Papyllon). I have had my work performed at The ICA Festival in South Africa (Papyllon) and at the Women in Dance Leadership Conference in New York (Ladylike). Ladylike was also second place for best production for the Lukas awards (Latin UK Awards) 2018.
As a choreographer, I have been a future Dance Leader (ABLE 2013); a Bench fellow (2015), a Casa Latin American Festival resident artist (2016); Associate Dance Artist (Dance City); and Associate artist at the Trinity Centre in Bristol. I am the creator and organiser of the Roots of Rumba Festival (a festival created in 2013 to showcase and celebrate artists who work with dances of the African Diaspora) that has toured the UK.
I have been passionately developing my Path For Series and mentoring programme this year over at MayaGandaia.com I also enjoy social justice art, poetry, nature and languages.
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.
Isaac Ouro-Gnao is a multidisciplinary artist emerging from the Hip Hop Theatre world. London based, his curiosity has seen him develop skills in Hip Hop, dance theatre, film, acting, singing, and poetry for 10 years; scriptwriting, social media and digital marketing, and multimedia journalism for 3 years. This has led to many fruitful creative projects across many sectors. He continues to develop his artistic voice as a company dance artist, movement director and scriptwriter for Body Politic, and as a solo artist creating socio-political work The Oreo Complex – a deeply personal exploration of Black identity through the Oreo (Bounty/Coconut) label
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.
Milton Lopes won the Best Actor Award with his first participation in a feature film, the award wining The Dauphin. He was born in Cape Verde Islands and grew up in Portugal where he worked as an actor in various TV Series, Theatre Shows and Feature Films. He recently played John “The Savage” in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World for BBC Radio 4. He made is debut appearance in a British film in Bonobo. He works as well as circus aerialist, having performed in the Paralympic Opening Ceremonies. He has worked with Extraordinary Bodies (UK), Strange Fruit (Australia), Circo Crescer e Viver (Brazil), Fura Dels Baus ( Spain) and Graeae Theatre Company (UK).
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.
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).
Our Costume designer
Sabrina Henry is a costume designer and curator. She works with artists of various disciplines to connect pre-colonial traditions with the British experience as a way to re-imagine the future. Sabrina is part of multi-discplinary, collaborative company V/DA, which works across dance, theatre, visual art and music.
Sabio Janiak is a Composer, producer, multi-instrumentalist, one man band, educator, cellular resonance therapist and sound alchemist based in London. Since 2008 Sabio has been working mainly as an accompanist, composer and performer collaborating with dancers, artists, choreographers and dance companies in the UK and abroad. Some of collaborations includes: Hagit Yakira Dance, Hofesh Shechter Company, The Place, Royal School of Ballet , Trinity Laban, School of Machines, Roehampton Uni, RAD , Richard Alston Dance Company, New Adventures, Central St Martins College of Art and Design, London College of Fashion, International School of Costume and Fashion Design in Warsaw, LCP dance theatre ,YLE.-Finnish Broadcasting Company, SYD-Shoreditch Youth Dance, Deborah Galloway(Needlefoot), Victor Fung, Nuno Silva, STDM, Arts Odyssey, Dance Digital, Alchemy Project, Darren Ellis Dance – Arts Trust
Luke Pell (Dramaturgy), Rachel Bradbear, Big Feast (Producer), Toni Stuart (Poet), Sabio Janiak (Musician), Keith Mills (Musician), Benjamin Winstone (Technologist)
Patrick Ziza (Dancer), Lianett Rodriguez Gonzalez (Dancer), Gabriela Montgomery-Solano (Dancer), Emma Houston (Dancer), Mariana Camiloti (Dancer), Rita Vilhena (Dancer), Sophia Theodosiou (Dancer), Simone Foster (Dancer), Alice Henry (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…