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“An absurd, comical, and emotionally charged ritual of dance theatre” (Bristol 24/7)

“An absurd, comical, and emotionally charged ritual of dance theatre” (Bristol 24/7)

LADYLIKE explores sisterhood, softness, sanity and sexuality through a range of different dance styles, Latin music, and theatre.  all takes place within a chicken-feed circle marking the female space of the ‘chicks’. This space is both animalistic and soft, powerful and vulnerable and within it typical female tropes and professions are played out sometimes with humour, sometimes with sensitivity and other times with violence.

Disturbing scenes which pick apart the nuances of desire and consent, sex and violence are made palatable by inverting key symbols of vulnerability: gender is fluidly played with and characters are dressed, as opposed to undressed, in scenes of violence. This seemed an action of solidarity and protection between fellow females, although of course it also resembled the multiple masks and costumes forced upon us.

Two females dancing bachata, deeply in sync, with curiosity and desire fuelling their curvaceous, rolling movements was sensual and stunning, questioning Latin American and worldwide gender structures. This was only one example of many which run through the 55-minute piece.
Humour reigned in a comedic look at the way women pamper and prepare themselves – expect oregano and salt to replace shampoo and shower gel!
Ultimately it is sisterhood which brings positivity, vibrance y un poco de perreo to this fantastic performance, with a diverse soundtrack that elicits myriad dance styles and the breadth to unchain ourselves.
CASA festival is on for another week with #theatre, #film, #dance and #music

Ladylike at CASA Festival Review

Ladylike at CASA Festival of Latin America Art. Guest Review

17th July 2019

Two female dancers, the front holding voluminous skirts and dancing while looking down, the back one dressed in red and dancing with hunched shoulders in the back. You can just about see another person behind them, but not what they are doing or anything significant.

Ella Mesma (left) and Azara Meghie (right) in one of the first performances of Ladylike at the Lilian Baylis Theatre, Sadler’s Wells, London. (c) Camilla Greenwood 2015

There were two shows, on the opening night of the 2019 CASA Festival of Latin American Artis in London. Of course I choose the dance piece Ladylike. The production performed by Ella Mesma Company combines traditional female gender roles with sexuality and high-quality dancing.

African-Caribbean sounds come together with Hip-Hop and Rumba to create an interesting fusion of music and modern dance. The four actresses involved in the piece showcase their dancing skills by switching from Latin Dance, to Hip-Hop, Breakdance and Contemporary Dance.

Like a Lady: Ladylike

The topic behind the story is based on the #metoo movement and looks at gender roles from different perspectives. Locked up by a circle of chicken food, are four women (‘chicks’) displaying aspects of the traditional perception of women: cleaning duties, grocery shopping and cooking, sexuality and beauty. One of the four appears like a man in most scenes showing the relation between the two genders that is mainly influenced by sexual attraction shown in offensive movements, gazing at the other gender and taking control whilst dancing together.

From the first scene on, sexuality plays an important role and is displayed on stage in such a way that makes me understand why there’s an age restriction. Towards the end it grows into a cry for help from the audience. Every scene is self-explanatory and combines a serious topic with both charm and wit. An example: when was the last time you indulged into a sexy shower of chicken soup and washed your hair in herbs? The show turns very serious at the end, by raising questions of consent and control over the female body.

We were captured by their stunning display of skills on this, the opening night. It might have been due to personal experience, but every woman has probably experienced something similar and can therefore easily relate to the scenes and feelings involved. Just in case there’s anybody in the audience who can’t relate, engagement is encouraged by eye contact between performers and audience, or by making us move their feet out of the way to sweep the floor.

Talented dancers and a convincing message

The talented dancers of the Ella Mesma Company display a wide range of dance styles in Ladylike, and each uses all the opportunities each style offers. They keep the audience engaged and interested throughout the piece and transmit a convincing message that everybody can relate to.

The piece was shown at the Arcola Theatre for the opening night of CASA – London’s festival of Latin American Arts. The whole festival still runs until 27th July 2019 with three more dates for Ladylike at the Arcola Theatre:

  • 18th July 2019 at 7.30 p.m.
  • 19th July 2019 at 7.30 p.m.
  • 20th July 2019 at 7 p.m.

The whole festival program includes other theatre shows, parties, dance and open air. For more details visit https://casafestival.org.uk/.

 

Ladylike is created and produced by Ella Mesma Company, a British based dance theatre company who use a diverse range of folkloric dancestyles inspired by director Ella Mesma’s background in Afro-Latin, Breaking and Contemporary dance. The performance has evolved over time, and the originals were forerunners of the #metoo movement by several years.

(editor)  Written by SEO expert Julia-Carolin Zeng

July News: Leeds, London and Birmingham this month…

Ẹ n lẹ, Salut, Olá,  你好, Hello Creative Being,

It is my pleasure to see you here and share our news

This months newsletter contents:

LADYLIKE in London
AN UNDERWATER LOVESTORY in Birmingham (Plus workshop)
THE MASKS WE WEAR in Leeds
THAILAND: Thailand for NYE
SLATE WORLD Residential

Ella Mesma Company is a British based dance theatre company who use a diverse range of folkloric dancestyles, inspired by my background in Afro-Latin, Breaking and Contemporary dance. The company strive to use diaspora dance theatre (a term we created to communicate this meeting of dances) to allow transformation: telling personal and global stories to connect to our truest selves.

Ladylike in London
See us LIVE with our new cast!
Are you a hero? Or feeling a bit chicken? Ladylike is a super-heroines journey in which four warrior women use hip hop theatre and sexually charged Rumba to take a fierce, frank and funny look at gender roles and face their deepest fears and desires.

The role originally created for my story in the piece will be danced by the amazing Lucia Afonso who will be flying in from Lisbon and is a bgirl, jiu jitsu queen and an exquisite dancer of Afro Brazilian styles!

Dates are 16,18,19,20th July. I will also be watching on the 16th and would love for you to join me!

Here is our friends and family discount code: LOVEFRIENDS

And here is the website for tickets and our facebook event:

https://www.arcolatheatre.com/whats-on/ladylike/

https://www.facebook.com/events/602610670231770/?ti=ia

Foreign Bodies in Birmingham
See an extract from our newest show in Birmingham!

Foreign Bodies is an underwater love story and quiz show that crosses borders and oceans to explore what divides and what unites us.

Two awesome dancers: Isaac Ouro Gnao and David Evans (plus myself on the mic!) will be presenting extracts of Foreign Bodies as part of the Free Radical Uk’s Festival Of Audacity, ⁣Supported by Dancexchange

Performances will taking place at Rotunda Square at the Bullring and at New Street Station on the 19 & 20th of July.
⁣⁣⁣
I am also leading a FREE movement workshop at DanceXchange on the 19th.

Photo by Earth Motion Pictures . Here are the websites for tickets and our facebook event:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/ella-mesma-movement-workshop-tickets-63651924620?aff=efbeventtix

https://www.beatfreeks.com/whatson/foa-foreign-bodies

https://www.facebook.com/events/339651566730498/

The Masks We Wear
Sometimes the performance we put on in life can be more restricting than the freedom we find on stage. The Masks We Wear is a project for young women to explore public and private identity through dance and costume.

This week we finished the biggest brush strokes version of this very special project in Leeds.

Working in collaboration with costume designer Costuminati  and in partnership with Vamos Festival, funded by Leeds Inspired, we are super excited to bring this show to the world on July 21st at Millenium Square in Leeds

Here is the facebook event:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1019423988259962/

Join us for NYE in Thailand
Would you love to create a retreat to Thailand?

To spend NYE with other beautiful creative beings?

To reflect on 2019 and vision for 2020?

To look at how you would love to transform and celebrate who you are?

We will spend 8 days and 7 nights in the beautiful Chiang Mai, Thailand and bring in the New Year.

This is a retreat like no other. I will be delivering the FULL Path For Series for the first time, as well as many other amazing activities in a luxury 5* homestay.

In Thailand, we will also have a daily (optional) meditation for the earlybird, afternoon yoga (5 days of Kundalini classes to complement the Path For workshops, plus vinyasa classes on the first and last days), 2 massages, a herbal steam, delicious food and juices to give your immune system a boost, airport transfers, visits to the mountains, waterfalls, lanna wooden houses, coffee plantations, temples, cookery school and more!

Places are limited to 11, and the early bird deal of £1500 is available until the 1st August (Payments to begin mid August).

I will be holding a live chat to answer all your questions about the retreat on July 22nd https://www.facebook.com/events/295169114599440/

Or if you just know it is for you and want to reserve your spot
Fill in your form Here.

Read more about the retreat and see photos of the beautiful beds, swimming pool and grounds here

Slate World
Slate World is a new transnational partnership that will promote the visibility and mobility of Black* artists and professionals across Europe, opening up new potentials in programming, audience development, digitisation and cultural exchange.

This month I have had the pleasure of meeting an amazing team of artists and creatives on the UK residency in the North of England: one of whom: Chérie Taylor Battiste released her new book ‘Lioness’ today on amazon. We visited Home in Manchester, Metal in Liverpool, East Street Arts in Leeds and many more spots.

One of the many highlights of the residency was a visit to Harewood House in Leeds, where the Geraldine Connor Foundation performed Carnival Messiah in 2007.

At the house, Mez Galaria delivered a talk about the experience of being in the production. It felt so powerful to hear her speak up about the slavery that meant this and many other stately homes in the UK exist. With us was also the amazing Emily Zobel Marshall (for whom I will perform on the 11th July for the launch of her new book American Trickster: Trauma, Tradition and Brer Rabbit and who also wrote this poem inspired by a true story explained below:

A Good Day Out

by Emily Zobel Marshall

Harewood House is a grand house and estate in Yorkshire. This poem was inspired by a meeting of Harewood House curators during which a curator insisted that if any reference to slavery was made in the great house exhibition it ‘mustn’t spoil a good day out’. The wealth of Harewood House comes directly from plantation slavery and the slave trade. (Recently, there have been greater efforts made by the owners of the estate to address and acknowledge the connections between the estate and slavery but still nothing written in the house).

Nowadays, at Harewood House
you can visit penguins
— 2pm is feeding time —
you can watch the silvery fish
disappear down feathered gullets
take a boat on the shimmering lake
munch on scones and drink fine tea
it’s such a good day out

Below deck

in the cavernous kitchen

a sign celebrates old culinary treasures;

sugar, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon
once filled these cool dark larders
spilling their scent into Yorkshire stone

In times past

Cook had them at her fingertips
she knew their journey well
her hands spiced and sweetened cakes and puddings

for lords and ladies reclined upstairs

see; here are her dented baking tins and trays
authentic and robust
this history, take it in

it’s such a good day out

But Cook knew the other story

of every hessian bag of sugar
warmed by island heat
each grain distilled
from macheted canes
felled by sun-whipped hands
she understands

there is no sweetness here

the story of the sugar

and the slaves that made

her masters rich

falls silent on her lips

for it would only spoil

a very good day out

Here are links to buy Lioness, to attend Emily Zobel Marshall’s book launch on the 11th July and to find out more about Slate World:

https://eclipsetheatre.org.uk/slate-world

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-leeds-library-salon-tickets-64172774496?aff=ebdssbdestsearch

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1912436140/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_U_l6ogDb5V25F81

Adiós, Adeus, ìkíni ti ìpínyà, Au Revoir, 再见, Much love,

And from the whole amazing team:

Anna, Azara, Hsing Ya, Lucia, Rachel, David, Franck, Milton, Isaac, Elsabet, Jemma, Pareesha, Cherie, Isabella, Farida, Laura (and everyone else from the Ella Mesma Company family: we wish you the all the best!)

June News

Ẹ n lẹ, Salut, Olá,  你好, Hello Creative Beings,

It is my pleasure to see you here and share our news

This months newsletter contents:

LADYLIKE VR simulation with LIVR
AN UNDERWATER LOVESTORY: The foreign bodies underwater photoshoot images by Earth Motion have been released!
THAILAND: The launch of Maya Gandaia website and a very special trip to Thailand for NYE
THE MASKS WE WEAR: Our new community project in collaboration with Costuminati and Vamos starts this week.
EMC Recommends: Whats on this month…

Ella Mesma Company is a British based dance theatre company who use a diverse range of folkloric dancestyles, inspired by my background in Afro-Latin, Breaking and Contemporary dance. The company strive to use diaspora dance theatre (a term we created to communicate this meeting of dances) to allow transformation: telling personal and global stories to connect to our truest selves.

If you want us to bring a show or a class to you, if you would like coaching on your creative journey or are interested in our retreats you are most welcome get in touch!

Ladylike VR Show with LIVR
This week we were delighted to watch the full length performance of LADYLIKE from VAULT Festival in London, which was filmed last summer by LIVR, the world’s first virtual reality content platform dedicated to theatre.
It really was an incredible experience to watch our show in 3d: we saw the audience members (some of whom may be reading this newsletter today: Miko Jaqueline, Jo Leahy, Kristina Alleyne, Saskia Horton, Lincoln Lee: we saw and laughed with you!)
I was also amazed by the details: how you can see every crease and crinkle of fabric or fleck of dirt (of which there was lots in the dungeon like setting of the underground vaults!) on our costumes.
The video will be available to watch in 3d this month as part of a LIVR subscription package (or promoters, let us know and we can bring our set of VR Glasses to you).
BUT if you would like to see us LIVE with our new cast (I am no longer dancing in the piece: my role will be danced by the amazing Lucia Afonso who is a bgirl, jiu jitsu queen and an exquisite dancer of Afro Brazilian styles), then we have a VIP discount code for our community which will only work until this Friday, so grab up your tickets for this years Casa Latin American Festival! We are there July 18,19,20th (plus a press night on the 16th July). Get your tickets using the discount LOVECASA (until May 31st) at https://www.arcolatheatre.com/whats-on/ladylike/
An Underwater Photoshoot
Here are a few from the Underwater Lovestory series by Jessica Mitchell of Earth Motion Photography, featuring dancers Isaac Ouro Gnao, Lucia Afonso, David Evans and Franck Arnaud-Lusbec. There are lots more images in the series over at our website www.ellamesma.co.uk (which has undergone some updates and upgrades this month).

The photoshoot, complements our newest show: Foreign Bodies, which is an underwater love story celebrating mixed heritage Britain and the beauty and collision of cultural differences. The concept of this show is close to my heart and was inspired (amongst other things) by the debates in Bristol around Colston and the covering up of or erasing of aspects of h(is)(er)story…

Promoters we also have the full length footage from our R&D sharing: please contact us if you would like to be sent the link to watch it.

The launch of Maya Gandaia and our first retreat to Thailand
Maya Gandaia (pronounced My-A Gan-dye-A) is my newest creation and such a dream come true because it is all about empowering people to really step into their brilliant creative self. Through coaching, Path For workshops (this is the finished HOME Series which many of you have attended this year) and retreats. Originally called Home Series, The Path For are a series of sessions inspired by the chakra system. They use movement, meditation and much much more to look at who we really are and help you get back to your pure creative spirit.

We spend so much of our time distracted with trying to resolve our identity, and Maya Gandaia is an opportunity to break out of that illusionary focus (living to survive) to moving to the highest vibrations where we thrive and CREATE!

Our first retreat is to Thailand in December: we will spend 8 days and 7 nights in the beautiful Chiang Mai.

This is a retreat like no other. I will be delivering the FULL Path For Series for the first time, as well as many other amazing activities in a luxury 5* homestay.

In Thailand, we will also have a daily (optional) meditation for the earlybird, afternoon yoga (5 days of Kundalini classes to complement the Path For workshops, plus vinyasa classes on the first and last days), 2 massages, a herbal steam, delicious food and juices to give your immune system a boost, airport transfers, visits to the mountains, waterfalls, lanna wooden houses, coffee plantations, temples, cookery school and more!

Places are limited to 11, and the early bird deal of £1500 is available until the 15th June. Apply Here.

Read more about the retreat and see photos of the beautiful beds, swimming pool and grounds here

The Masks We Wear
Vamos Festival, Costuminati and myself are collaborating to present an exciting opportunity for young women in Leeds which starts this Thursday!⠀
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀
“The Masks We Wear” is a project for young women to explore public and private identity through dance and costume.

With funding support from Leeds Inspired, part of Leeds City Council we are selected a group of young women aged 16-26 who will develop a performance and costumes to be premiered at ¡VAMOS! Leeds Festival 2019.⠀

Alysson Bruno is returning to Bristol!Alysson Bruno is a musician, dancer, composer, producer and music director from São Paulo, Brazil, born and raised in the religion of Candomblé of the Ketu nation.

With the purpose of connecting the symbology of the dances of the Orixás with its musicality, “Musicality of Movement” is a workshop to create a communication between music and dance to tell a story.

Saturday 15th June 11 am till 2 pm at DMAC UK, 80 Stoke’s Croft, Bristol Read more

Adiós, Adeus, ìkíni ti ìpínyà, Au Revoir, 再见, Much love,
Ella

And the whole team:

Anna, Azara, Hsing Ya, Lucia, Rachel, David, Franck, Milton, Isaac, Elsabet, Laura (and everyone else from the Ella Mesma Company family: we wish you the all the best!)

Thank you for reading!

Have a wonderful month and see you on the dance floor soon!