Ella Mesma Company

Our Values

“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” Maya Angelou

Diversity in stories matters.

Growing up in a small town in England, I didn’t see many superheroes that looked like my mixed family (I am white British and Black Nigerian).

I wanted to create a diverse company that celebrated dance styles from the diaspora and challenged aspects of our society and its beliefs. 

It was from this space that Ella Mesma Company was born.

With the company, I strive to create beautiful, inspiring diaspora dance theatre to allow transformation through the honouring of our values and wellbeing as a company and the telling of personal and global stories. I believe this kind of environment supports us to connect to our truest selves and as a result to create powerful, personal and political work that also is in resonance with Mother Earth works in harmony with the planet. Where possible I try to use recycled materials and minimise our carbon footprint as a company.

There are five values at the heart of the work:

About Ella


“Art is not a mirror to reflect reality, but a hammer with which to shape it.” Bertolt Brecht

It’s great to meet you here!

My name is Ella and my pronouns are she/her or they/them.

I created Ella Mesma Company to produce work by the superheroes that I wanted to see on stage.

I love to work with the dances of the Orishas (which I have been studying for the past 20 years) and contemporary and Hip-Hop styles to create collaborative theatre with my company

“Dancers are the athletes of God.” Albert Einstein

I am super inspired by dance as a healing ritual and a gateway to transformation and positive change! 

Can art be activism? 

Can we use it, like a hammer, to shape the world we want to see? 


I have a holistic approach to creativity, creating and crafting from a space that is  connected to self. A space that is full of bravery, enquiry and purpose.

As I came to dance later in life, having not had access to it previously, it is important to me to reach those who don’t necessarily have a background in theatre. 

As a person of multiple heritage (I am mixed Black Nigerian & white British), I also strive for my cast and the stories we tell, to be told by super-hero(ine) voices who are often under-represented onstage.

I also love to connect with my audience through discussion and play (though making sure the audience never feel pressured to join in!)


Since its formation in 2011, with a premiere at Breakin’ Convention (Sadler’s Wells), the have been commissioned and performed for a number of leading arts organisations and highly regarded venues & festivals including Sadler’s Wells (Wildcard 2017), Women’s International Leadership Conference, New York City (2017), National Circus Centre (2018), ICA Festival, Capetown South Africa (2018), IETM Hull (2019). Ella Mesma Company were residents with Casa Latin American Festival 2015, Associate Artists at dance City (2017), Associate Artist at Trinity Centre Bristol (2018). In 2013, Ella Mesma was selected as a future Dance Leader for the ABLE leadership program and in 2015 awarded a Bench fellowship for emerging female choreographers and a resident at Pervasive Media Studio. The company were runners up for the ‘Best Dance Production of The Year’ by the Latino Life LUKAS Awards 2018. In 2019, the company were comissioned to perform Ladylike in Hull and Ella became a Slate World artist. In 2020, just before lockdown began, Ella became an Associate Artist at PDSW and got very creative about what that looked like. Ella was also commissioned to make a show for the Little Amal project at the Manchester International Festival. In 2022, Maya and Toussaint (a collaboration with Akeim Toussaint Buck) was born and the creation of Okan as Choreodrome artists began. Ella is currently Associate at Open Source Arts in Leeds and is touring The Rainbow Butterfly whilst also creating A Jellyfish Love Song and beginning early stages of the creation of Indra’s Web.