Ela Mesma Company

Dispora Dance Theatre

Ladylike, VAULT Festival by guest critic Lara Alier


2018, the year of the woman – in some parts of the world. I could probably count them on one hand.

So, when I see four diverse performers on stage, I hope it will broaden my horizons. Brazilian choreographer and performer Ella Mesma uses a wide range of dance styles such as rumba, rock and South American ritual dances. All of them are accompanied by a rich combination of musical styles and traditional instruments, crossing African beats with Son Cubano.

A ring of wheat is created to define the space that the women enter into, presenting an archetype of the female mask. The performers intertwine animalistic characters and tasks such as cleaning or cooking; it’s poetic way to make the audience understand different ways we can entrap ourselves. The whole show follows a very clear structure that is emphasized by the use of symbolic props.

The ring is swept away, and with graffiti another circle appears, a space to redefine our identity. There are different approaches, opinions and moves, and yet in this physical piece one word resonates radiates one word – embrace.

“Fantastic work by EllaMesma at VaultFestival  LadyLike is important, and beautifully executed. Make sure to catch it on tour!” 201 Dance Company

“The Vaults (under railways station Waterloo) was a strangely apt setting, a dark humid womb which rumbled & vibrated from the trains, sounding like a mothers heartbeat, goddess’ thunder, or ocean waves. Condensation dripped from the ceiling on to the concrete, every dank dark alley late at night a woman has to traverse in vigilance. And the dancers conjured in their circle every fear for our bodies, & what others impose on them we have (except ageing). Hsing Ya’s piece especially had me crying, for when we are so bound up in pain can’t distinguish between helper & perpetrator, lashing out& harming oneself even more in process of freeing. Azara’s was also gut wrenching especially in the light of current events in US & across Diaspora world, where the Progress of the last generations protests, uplifting across race & gender, Women’s rights is being forcibly rolled back, stolen away again, even sometimes at the influence of other women, not just men. The final costume/piece cut so hard after the prior acts. So thank you women for a powerful performance.” Miko Jacqueline, Audience member at the VAULT Festival, London


Ladylike, VAULT Festival

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