Company History

“Dance at its most physical and most sensual.” Lilia Prier-Tisdale

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. Ella Mesma Company is an Afro-Latin and Hip Hop dance theatre company which undoes limiting beliefs by exploring and celebrating cultural and social identity. With a mixed identity of dance forms and theatre, we create bold, political, personal work that anyone can watch.

Ella Mesma is interested in exploring social, cultural identity and communities under represented in the theatre and stage. She uses a diverse range of techniques including contemporary dance, contact work from partner dances, breaking, Afro-Latin and fockloric dances, capoeira and aerial dance, but also tends to work collaboratively with the elephants in the room and tends towards explorations of dance as a ritual, dance for transformation and the voices of the unheard. 

Ella Mesma Company believes in:

  • Investing in our team
  • Collaborating and empowering through the arts
  • Paying respects to our ancestral dance forms and creating an innovative mix of these styles
  • Celebrating diversity and promoting equality
  • Using theatre as a tool to create ethical political, personal work and conversation
  • Ensuring that anyone can watch and enjoy theatre

Mesma likes to engage with a real audience: those with and without a background in dance and for her work to speak to the heart , which is why she also uses theatre in her work.

“Until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.” Chinua Achebe.

Company History

2011: 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).

2013: The company created another solo a year on, working with Anthony Egea of Compagnie Revolution (France) called ‘Ecdysis’.

2014: The Company was officially launched as Ella Mesma Company in 2014, when they were commissioned to make ‘Orixás’ for the Billingham Festival.

2015: Mesma reworked ‘Orixás’, which premiered at The Place as part of Resolutions. Mesma 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.

2016: In 2016, Mesma was made Associate Dance Artist at Dance City and during that time began working on new solo ‘Papillon’.

2017: Sadler’s Wells commissioned the company for their own wild card ‘Guerreras’, featuring the premiere of ‘Ladylike’. In 2017, Dance City awarded a phase one commission to Ella Mesma Company for their newest work ‘Foreign Bodies’, which was be ‘Scratched’ at Artist 4 Artists ‘Scratch Dat’ at The Richmix in London. The company also have an IGNITE artist residency in Bristol at The Trinity Centre working on ‘Foreign Bodies’, as well as support from Metal (Liverpool).

2018: Ella Mesma will also continue the development of ‘Papillon’ with Serendipity and The Curve in Leicester in 2018.

To read Ella Mesma and company members biographies click here