Foreign Bodies


“Ella has situated this work at a fertile intersection of styles and approaches to dance that add up to more than the sum of their parts. The vocabulary shifts and unfolds throughout.” Dan Canham

Foreign Bodies is a protest about ‘dis-ease’: the fear of ‘unknown’ and ‘cultural contamination’ as it ‘spreads from one generation to the next’.
Foreign Bodies highlights that despite a worldwide web that knows no borders, we hold onto colonial ideas of border control, illegal immigrants and nationalism. It tells the stories of individuals on a human level, and echoes the bigger story: ancestry, evolution and the haunting manifestation of power structures historically.
Building upon themes of religion and science, the dancers pulsate to Afro House and Kuduro rhythms, intertwining folkloric, contemporary, and hip-hop into a codified subculture.
‘Cultural contagion’ becomes a visual metaphor, and viewers will peer into moments across generations and cultures that illuminate entire life stories and the enormity of time.
‘Foreign Bodies’ interrogates our understandings of cultural appreciation and cultural appropriation, and asks whether cultural traditions become lost with globalisation? What remains of our heritage once cultures mix? What is our right and responsibility to our ancestry and h(er)(is)tory?

“Artistically, scientifically and culturally significant… promises to be a powerful and dramatic work of richly layered relevancies.” Katy Noakes, OneDance UK

Touring availability: From 2019

Touring team: tbc

Minimum performance space: 8 x 8 metres


Sound: Sound run from laptop (Q-lab) over PA system

Needs: suitable dance flooring

Lighting: adaptable to venue specifications


About the creation: 2017: Explorations at Artists4Artists: London, Trinity Centre: Bristol,  Dance City: Newcastle

2018: Metal: Liverpool. Supported via South East Dance and Jerwood Charitable Foundation Dramaturg in Residence programme.

Production credits: 

Artistic Director: Ella Mesma

Dancers: Patrick Ziza, David Evans, Elsabet Yonas, Alice Henry.

Lighting: Ciaran Cunningham


Photography: Camilla Greenwell

Previous performances

28th September 2017: Dance Edits: DanceCity: Newcastle

First residency: IgniteArtists: Summer 2017 Resident Artist at Trinity Centre Bristol: July 2017

21st July 2017: ScratchDat: Artists4Artists: Richmix: London

“As part of a new wave of UK choreographers that defy easy categorisation, Ella is making super exciting work.” Dan Canham