Blog

March Updates

Ẹ n lẹ! Salut! Olá! Hello!

Welcome all our friends and supporters: Here are our March updates in brief:

IETM
Classes, Workshops and a discount code for newsletter readers
South Africa
Bench Bitesize
Arts Council

Below you can read more, or head to our website to find out the nitty gritty details!

Have a wonderful March into Spring (with a little snow, hail and sunshine too)!

We would love to hear from you, help you on your creative journey and see you in our workshops soon!

Much love,

Ella xxx

Foreign Bodies: An underwater love story
We are super happy to announce that we got our funding and will be going into R&D phase 2 for our immersive technology jellyfish love story! Thank you to everyone who helped make this possible, and we are excited to spend a week in Liverpool at Metal, and a week in Bristol at Trinity Centre
Upcoming Workshops: HOME Series and the BENCH Bitesized
I originally developed the content of the HOME series  workshops to facilitate the telling of the performers stories in a way that was healing and affirming. They have evolved into a series of 7 movement meditations inspired by the chakra system.

Chakras are the centres in our bodies in which energy flows through: if they are blocked this keeps us from flowing freely in our lives, for example feeling grounded, our ability to accept others and new experiences, our ability to be confident and in control of our lives, our ability to love and be loved.

We all have our natural and unique talents to share with the world, and I love draw these out in everyone: coming home to who we are through imagination and how we move authentically! (Read more here):

16th-17th March: Joburg Afro Latin Festival , Johannesburg, South Africa

31st March: SING at The Place, London

13th April: Join 2Faced Dance Company and guests Rebecca Evans, Louise Katerega, Ella Mesma and Alex Croft at Kala Sangam 

14th April: SACRED at Trinity, Bristol

28th April: CREATE at The Place, London

4th May: SACRED at Yorkshire Dance, Leeds

11th May: SACRED at Siendo, Lisbon

Here is a special discount to the London classes for Newsletter readers: http://bit.ly/2U3hfkI

I will also be leading a 7 week Kundalini course at Ookushana: more information coming soon: watch this space…

IETM: We will be flapping our wings once more!
(Photo above by Anna Miller from Harambee Pasadia)

We are super excited to announce that Ladylike is back!

Dancers Azara Meghie, Hsing Ya Wu, Anna Alvarez and Lucia Afonso and choreographer Ella Mesma will be bringing back Ladylike next month at the IETM in Hull!

Come and join us? Ladylike is a superheroines journey about gender roles and relationships: Are you a chicken or are you a heroine? In the wake of #MeToo comes a funny and furious show from Ella Mesma Company.

https://www.ietm.org/en/ietm-hull-plenary-meeting-2019/session/ladylike-ella-mesma

2019: February: IETM, South Africa, HOME Series…

Ẹ n lẹ! Salut! Olá! Hello!

Welcome all our friends and supporters and thank you for your patience with our February updates and news: boy have we been busy!

Here are our updates in brief:

IETM…
Classes, Workshops and a discount code for newsletter readers
South Africa…

Below you can read more, or head to our website to find out the nitty gritty details!

Have a wonderful march into Spring!

We would love to hear from you, help you on your being human journey and see you in our workshops soon!

Much love,

IETM: We will be flapping our wings once more!

(Photo above by Anna Miller from Harambee Pasadia)

We are super excited to announce that Ladylike is back!

Dancers Azara Meghie, Hsing Ya Wu, Anna Alvarez and Lucia Afonso and choreographer Ella Mesma will be bringing back Ladylike next month at the IETM in Hull!

Come and join us? Ladylike is a superheroines journey about gender roles and relationships: Are you a chicken or are you a heroine? In the wake of #MeToo comes a funny and furious show from Ella Mesma Company.

https://www.ietm.org/en/ietm-hull-plenary-meeting-2019/session/ladylike-ella-mesma

Upcoming Workshops: HOME Series and The Masks We Wear

I originally developed the content of the HOME series workshops to facilitate the telling of the performers stories in a way that was healing and affirming. They have evolved into a series of 7 movement meditations inspired by the chakra system.

Chakras are the centres in our bodies in which energy flows through: if they are blocked this keeps us from flowing freely in our lives, for example feeling grounded, our ability to accept others and new experiences, our ability to be confident and in control of our lives, our ability to love and be loved.

We all have our natural and unique talents to share with the world, and I love draw these out in everyone: coming home to who we are through imagination and how we move authentically! (Read more here):

24th February: WOMB at The Place, London TIMES: 16.00-18.00

2nd March: HOME at Siendo Art of Being, Lisbon

8th March: The Masks We Wear at Encounters at Yorkshire Dance, Leeds (Enquire here)

31st March: SING at The Place, London

14th April: WOMB at Trinity, Bristol

28th April: CREATE at The Place, London

Here is a special discount for Newsletter readers: http://bit.ly/2U3hfkI

I also teach a regular yoga class at https://theyogaspace.co.uk/
Teaching at the Afro Latin Festival in Johannesburg, South Africa

I will be teaching at the Johannesburg Afro Latin Festival 14 – 17 March 2019! alongside an incredible line up of artists!

I am super excited to return to SA after a wonderful six weeks there this summer and to be teaching at such an incredible festival: The Johannesburg Afro Latin Festival is about bringing cultures, nations, races and age-groups together through afro-latin music and dance and celebrating the energy and regeneration of johannesburg, otherwise known as ‘Jozi’… read more about the line up, co founders and more below:

http://www.afrolatinfestival.co.za/

Dreaming big for 2019. EMC News and a New Years Eve Eve gift for you

E ku odun, Eku iyedun, Bonne Année,  Feliz Ano Novo, Happy New Year!

Welcome all our friends and supporters to our January newsletter!

Wooooow it is nearly 2019 and what an amazing last month of 2018:

Kundalini learnings with the Karam Kriya School,
Featuring in on the big screen in Beth Rowley’s Forest Fire at the London International Film Festival (which also took home two awards),
The launch of Business Yoga,
The launch of two films with Dancing Words at the Free Word Centre,
The chance to see the Athlone Young Poets who I met during my British Council funded trip to South Africa working with poet Toni Stuart perform in London (sponsored by The Barbican),
Launching with represent North in Leeds,
Completing my first two months working at Yorkshire Dance on a project with Older people,
Flying to Nigeria with Global Grooves and Gemz Mas Band.

Above is a photo taken in Nigeria whilst parading with Global Grooves at the IMO State carnival. Below you can read a snippet from my blog about the experience… full blog will be released in January.

I am excited to get this newsletter out to you before January begins, because I hear that the 5th January is the perfect time to dream big and make your new years intentions and so, I wanted to give away a free and magic worksheet made up of many different tools I have learnt and been taught that helped me to look back and review 2018 and to face forward and dream big for 2019!

At the link you will see some easy exercises that will take you about 15 minutes to complete and will help you make 2019 your best year yet!

http://ellamesma.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/New-Year-Intentions-inspirations.pdf

Wishing you a beautiful beginning to 2019 and we hope you have given yourself time to rest, recharge and reflect!

Below you can also read all about next months workshops which I am super excited to be touring across the UK and further afield plus you can make the most of our early bird discount.

And you can catch the trailer/interview for our new project Foreign Bodies, find the links to the poetry dance films which launched this month, and read a snippet from my latest blog about a beautiful trip to Nigeria!

Happy New Year,

Much love,

Ella xxx

Nigeria for the Imo State Carnival
I have just landed from what I can only describe as the best, most extreme, most epic trip of my life: Nigeria really felt like a high vibrational place where all the spiritual journeys I have been on over the last four years began to take on a deeper meaning.

Travelling with Global Grooves and Gemz Mas Band for the Imo State Carnival, the best way to describe Nigeria is as medicine for the soul: not always easy but transformational if you are able to receive the lessons… Even where to begin with the day to day experiences of Nigeria I cannot… but I feel I truly understood the saying “As above so below” because with each disaster, an equally amazing experience happened: for each moment of bliss, there was an equally as shocking one… but truly, I think that they were only so sweet tasting because the harshness of some experiences meant we could truly step into gratitude and thus abundance and realise that it’s not about everything being perfect but about seeing the perfection in each moment…

Full blog coming in 2019

Upcoming Workshops: HEART and HOME
HOME Series Workshops: Dates for your diary and discounts.
I have recently developed 7 workshops which are touring the UK and Europe using both movement and meditation. These workshops are designed to heal, open and empower, and each is inspired by a specific chakra.

I developed these workshops to unleash the dancer inside all of us: to move uniquely, to create authentically, to respond, to lead, to follow. Just like nature, we all have our natural and unique talents to share with the world, and I love to use beautiful rhythms, magic and creative imagination to draw these out and come home to who we are together and how we move authentically.

HEART is a movement meditation which uses different techniques from contemporary and partner dances to get back in touch with ourselves and to remember how to communicate without words. Danced to Latin and other awesome tracks HEART includes lifting, one to one and group partner combinations as well as meditations to connect to the heart.

Upcoming Sessions:12th January: HEART and HOME at Trinity, Bristol

19th January: HEART at Siendo, Lisbon 

27th January: HEART at The Place

Prices:
Earlybird: £15 (Pay before 7th January)
Drop in class: £20
Buy four classes: £50 (£12.50 per class)

Beth Rowley’s Forest Fire
Dancing Words: Poetry dance collborations
Dancing Words presented 3 new poetry dance films featuring the work of 3 exceptional British poets. Catch the full length videos here:
Warsan Shire
Caleb Femi
Mimi Khalvati
Foreign Bodies: An Underwater Love Story

Researching the Underwater Love story that is: Foreign Bodies

Foreign Bodies | Ella Mesma Company | Interview R & D phase 1 from Ella Mesma on Vimeo.

This autumn, I have been supported by Arts Council of England and Metal to research and develop a dance theatre piece. Danced to Fado, Kizomba and Kuduro rhythms by composer Sabio Janiak we created FOREIGN BODIES: An underwater love story.

Triggered by something I learnt a family member on one side of my parents said about someone from the other side, the piece became a love story involving two people of different heritage to explore identity, belonging and racism. We used the notion of disease, contamination, and transplantation as metaphors to explore the experience of ‘the other’ –BAME people, and other marginalised groups, and ask what is gained and lost through integration. We have been researching movement and dance techniques to translate an underwater love story between two people of different heritages (inspired by my parents).

Told through the narration of host Milton Lopes, Foreign Bodies is an interactive anonymous quiz show.

I am extremely grateful to have been able to use this R&D period to develop the choreographic language of the piece drawing on folkloric styles like Kuduro and Kizomba as well as working with an experienced Creative Technologist to explore how digital technologies can build on the sensory and empathetic experiences of audience members.

In the age of Aquarius: a time where technology like the worldwide web connect us, I wanted to explore the difference between online worlds: without borders, to the world of immigration, visas and forced migration. In the R & D for Foreign Bodies, we set out to cross borders and oceans to illuminate the enormity of time, to tell the stories of individuals and echo the bigger stories: ancestry, evolution and the haunting legacy of historical power structures. I spent a lot of time developing the text and researching around science, religion, language and colonialism.

During the process I reaffirmed that the piece was a love story: that even worked its way into the title! Most of my work also speaks of transformation, of the journey to know ourselves and during this  & D, I discovered that in this work, the metaphor around trauma would be told using ‘jellyfish.’ Inspired by Jellyfish, Foreign Bodies is about the healing of trauma and the planet earth.

My ultimate ambition during this R&D was to make a structure for a one hour show. I am happy to say I did just that and surpassed it, because I also wrote a script! I developed the script, with the support of Edson Burton, Milton Lopes (actor) and Luke Pell, and was able to put together a full framework for the script and an hour long show, which Sabio Janiak is now using to develop the music.

Over the period, I was offered in kind mentoring by Annie Rigby from Unfolding Theatre and it was super helpful to have someone I could call up and talk over the various challenges in the studio. I learnt that this is extremely important and valuable to an effective creative process and what a wonderful human being she is!

With the support of South East Dance I had the opportunity to work with experienced dramaturge Luke Pell, and I would like to continue to nurture this relationship for the future. I loved working with Luke and really benefitted from having him present.

I like to work with diverse casts who have a range of different styles and experiences and tend to work collaboratively, each bringing our personal experiences to the work, allowing a depth and a vulnerability to the work and a safe space to learn and grow. I collaborated with a cast of 6 artists (Milton Lopes, Lucia Afonso, Elsabet Yonas, David Evans, Franck Arnaud Lusbec, Isaac Ouro Gnao). Each artist brought special skills and a range of dance styles such as Bele (Martinique), Kuduro (Angola), Breaking & House, as well as contemporary dance. I also worked with  Sabrina Henry (costume designer who works with artists of various disciplines to connect pre-colonial traditions with the British experience as a way to re-imagine the future). The development of this work was a deeply personal piece for the cast and myself and we grew as a collaboration, and a company. The entire cast, including musician, costume designer and technologist are invested in the future of this work, which is super exciting: I cannot wait to see where it goes at the next phase.

We spent 1 week rehearsing in Liverpool and also visited the Slavery Museum, one week in Bristol, including a transatlantic slavery history tour of the city with Dr Edson Burton, and one week in London.

In addition to the R &D, we shared the work with the Creative Youth Network in Bristol, who fed back on the work and to small audiences in London and Bristol, and invited Ersen Ermis a videographer to film the work, creating a short trailer and interview about the piece. We offered morning company class to professional dancers and one workshop aimed at amateur dancers and people who are new to dance in Bristol.

I developed technology with Gentlemen Octopus Limited (who are currently creating technology for Massive Attack) to create an interactive anonymous quiz show. This meant I was able to further develop my desire to make work which is immersive for the audience but without putting the audience on the spot or making them feel pressured or singled out. I researched the British Citizenship test and many texts, and from that, developed a fun quiz, which explores “what does it mean to be a citizen of the world?” Long term, I want the audience to have a fun immersive experience that is informative, provocative and presents different viewpoints and stories to shed light on history.

During the process, I had been thinking about how art can be used as a tool to tell personal and global and stories and speak up about what is happening in the world. It had been a strange and sad time globally, with Bolsonaro coming to power in Brazil, the migrant caravan headed from Honduras to the US and the death of Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey, and so this work became an important opportunity to provide a message. I believe that art can be used as a tool to shed light on the collective suffering in the world and as a tool to protest and make our views heard. I aim with this work to make peaceful yet provocative art that engages non-dancers and breaks the fourth wall accessibly and comfortably.

In this creative process, I was able to finally step into and be the choreographer I always wanted to be. By changing my role to just choreographer and not dancing, I was able to work fast, efficiently and intuitively, bringing new sides to my personality to the space, and seeing the whole picture of the work truly. I have learnt that I am truly moving into and across art forms with this work, and to understand how I work and who I am as an artist.

I learnt a lot about holding the space and all the tension in it: artists bring their own lives and their personal stories and history to the space. I developed a system to check in each morning and allow that stuff to be seen so that we could raise above it and work effectively. I also used this to deal with some of the bigger and heavy topics in the space and to deal with any dynamics in the space. I feel I learnt a lot about this in terms of the people in the space: the work that I am making: that asks a lot of the company, and I got further insight into how to manage that so I can get the best out of each dancer and allow them to feel safe and held.

I also learnt a lot about how to protect and care for myself in that environment: a lot is needed to balance such a space and not get worn down or worn out by the needs of everyone in the space, and so I learnt to appreciate the self care needed to work in this environment and stay true to me. I realised how important it is to state what I want and need clearly and not to take on others ‘stuff’, or to take things personally, but instead to uphold my standards of excellence, and to strive consistently for that.

Thank you to everyone who has been involved in this process: I could not have done it without you all! I look forward to sharing more news on this exciting project soon!

December Updates

Read the original post here

Olá, Hola, Bonjour, Pẹlẹ o,

Waaaah! It is nearly 2019!

Welcome all our friends and supporters to our December updates… the season of Sagittarius!

We have many things to share with you… plus an incredible discount on our classes (almost half price) for our loyal newsletter readers.

Sagittarius is a time to dream bigger and envision new possibilities, and we have been doing just that!

Above is a fabulous photo taken by the extremely talented and visionary Nathalie Teitler for part of her ‘Dancing Words’ series.

I danced for two poems this year: for poet Mimi Khalvati, and my absolute hero, Warsan Shire (who wrote some of my favourite bits of the Lemonade album for Beyonce herself!)

Sneak preview clips from Mimi Khalvati and Warsan Shire poems are below as well as info on how to come and see the full length footage.

Below you can also read all about next months workshops which I am super excited to be touring across the UK and further afield next year….
(plus get an exclusive discount available to subscribers only!)

And you can watch the trailer/interview below (which we made during the R&D for our new project Foreign Bodies). We are now in the planning phase for part two… excited doesn’t cut it… audience…promoters… the world… I don’t think you’re ready for this jelly!

Reflecting on 2018 before this year comes to a close, here are some of our highlights:

I graduated with an MA from LSCD (I still can’t quite believe it! Blog post coming soon!)

Tichea Brade and I curated WCOL at Richmix, a beautiful event sharing the talents of so many amazing artists from DJ to beatboxer to a chocolate yoga meditation!

I toured Roots of Rumba to 6 venues and sold out in London working with some incredible artists (watch the highlights here: It was such a delight to be able to tour some of my absolute favourite artists around the UK!)

I began touring a series of 7 workshops (which I hope to be touring much more in 2019 across the UK and further afield!)

Our team of wonderful women finished the Ladylike tour (Oh chickens I miss you so!)

We began the creation of a new work (Foreign Bodies: An Underwater Love Story) (as mentioned more below)

Toni Stuart (poet) and I premiered Papyllon in South Africa (It was also my first time ever to visit Africa:which was pretty life changing): If you haven’t already check out my blog posts about the experience here.

All this as well as lots of teaching dance and yoga, and moving to Leeds to work part time as a Dance Development Artist for Yorkshire Dances’ Dance On project. (We just take it all with big Martha Graham style strides)

We are also excited to announce our becoming a resident at Pervasive Media Studio in 2019 (we are doing the running man right now to celebrate) and Trinity Bristol Associate Artist. Plus I am super excited to be travelling back to Africa this month: I am headed to Nigeria with Global Grooves for a Christmas Carnival show!

Wishing you a beautiful and festive month creating what you love!

Much love,
Ella xxx

Foreign Bodies: An Underwater Love Story
We have begun the process of creating a new show: Arts Council funded project Foreign bodies: an underwater love story danced to
Fado,
Kizomba,
Kuduro rhythms by composer and magic maker Sabio Janiak (who also makes music for Hofesh Shecter)… check out some of his magic hereNarrated by Milton Lopes (who I first met as an apprentice with Upswing Circus and is also an incredible circus artist!),
Foreign Bodies is an interactive anonymous quiz show with technology by Gentlemen Octopus Limited (who are currently creating technology for Massive Attack), that explores:
“what does it mean to be a citizen of the world?”
Using Jellyfish as a metaphor (hence my newfound obsession with all things jelly: they are even getting into my dreams!),
we explored healing from trauma on planet earth.We had some wonderful artists join us:
Franck Arnaud-Lusbec
Lucia Afonso
David Evans
Elsabet Yonas
Isaac Ouro Gnao
as well as dramaturgy Luke Pell via South East Dance (thank you thank you thank you!). We hope to bring Foreign Bodies back in 2019… watch this space!
Dancing Words: The Ugly Daughter and Afterwardness
Dancing Words present 3 new poetry dance films featuring the work of 3 exceptional British poets:
Warsan Shire
Caleb Femi
Mimi KhalvatiThere will be a poetry reading by Caleb Femi, as well as a Q & A shared by Dfiza Afi Benson with panelists:
Poet Caleb Femi
Filmmaker Fiona Melville
Dancers Elsabet Yonas and myself
Costume designer Sabrina Henry
Creative director Natalie TeitlerTuesday 11th December

Free Word Centre

60 Farringdon Road

London

EC1R 3GA

Reserve Tickets

Afterwardness Trailer
Upcoming Workshops: HEART and HOME
Dates for your diary!

I am super excited about these 7 workshops which I began creating using both movement and meditation on my lovely company dancers. Each workshop is designed to heal, open and empower. and is inspired by a specific chakra:

HOME
WOMB
CREATE
HEART
SING
FLY
SPACE

I created these workshops to unleash the dancer inside all of us: to move uniquely, to create authentically, to respond, to lead, to follow. Just like nature, we all have our natural and unique talents to share with the world, and I love to use beautiful rhythms, magic and creative imagination to draw these out and come home to who we are together and how we move authentically.
12th January: HEART and HOME at Trinity, Bristol

19th January: HEART at Siendo, Lisbon (Watch out for more information!)

27th January: HEART at The Place
TIMES: 16.00-18.00

24th February: WOMB at The Place

31st March: CREATE at The Place

28th April: SING at The Place

HEART uses different techniques from contemporary and partner dances to get back in touch with ourselves and to remember how to communicate without words. Danced to Latin, Electronic, and other awesome tracks HEART includes lifting, one to one and group partner combinations as well as meditations to connect to the heart.

Prices:
Earlybird: £15 (Pay before 1st January)

Drop in class: £20

Buy four classes: £50 (£12.50 per class)

Receive your VIP Newsletter Readers discount
Dance On at Yorkshire Dance
I have also been working as a dance development artist on a lovely project in Yorkshire run by Yorkshire Dance. Dance On is a dance programme to tackle inactivity among older adults, delivered by a partnership of One Dance UK, Yorkshire Dance and darts (Doncaster Community Arts). It is a lovely project: there have been tears, laughter and meeting some many beautiful souls! Have a little look here (And if you know an older person in Leeds who might want to dance, send them along!)
Thank you for reading! Don’t forget to make use of our special and exclusive discount for our January workshop at the place (And let us know if you want to make it a Christmas voucher and we can post you out a beautiful printed voucher!)

Don’t forget to follow our facebook page and instagram accounts for insights and giveaways.

Have a wonderful month and closing of 2018 from all the team at EMC