Ela Mesma Company

Dispora Dance Theatre

Ọkan means Oneness, Conscience, and Heart in…

I am writing from Bournemouth today, where I am in the first week of creating Ọkan, a new production with my buddy and work wife, Akeim Toussaint Buck.
Ọkan has martial dances at its core, taking influence from Salsa and Wing Chun after a conversation with Thomas Presto (catch it on my YouTube). We have been using these martial dances to explore themes around ‘relating’, while deconstructing notions of gender normativity and the interplay between opposing forces, resulting in a… harmonious, heart-full, tenacious blend that transcends binaries… or at least that’s how it seems to be so far!
The name Ọkan means Oneness, Conscience, and Heart (from stubborn hearted to big hearted) in Yoruba, and we chose it to reflect the Yoruban roots of many of the dance styles used in the piece and their connection to Orixás (deities) from Brazil/Cuba/Nigeria, and you can come and watch the first sharing of the piece in Yorkshire at Yorkshire Dance in November (check out all our upcoming shows HERE)
Next weekend, at the end of this project, my Mum and I and the rest of my family will be in London town meeting a new family member: My Mum’s cousin is flying over from Nigeria… this is part of a long magical unfolding adventure after our finding her siblings, my 100 cousins and her Father (my Grandfather) on Ancestry.com (so that stuff really does work!!!) last year… I am so grateful and amazed by this magic!
Meanwhile, the company are touring The Rainbow Butterfly in October, and I will be facilitating a wonderful workshop in Liverpool on the 5th October as part of Wildfire Rising.
Also… I am going live in my Facebook Group Journey to JOY this week to talk Cultural Appropriation in movement practices… As a person in a body that comprises a few places on the globe (some known, some unknown, some displaced, some enslaved, some chiefs, some very poor, some very wealthy etc etc), I think this aspect of why we dance and move and how it relates to our DNA, the memories of our ancestors, and of us in the wombs of our grandmothers (look it up if you don’t know what I mean!) is super interesting… so I decided to do my first live in my Journey to JOY Facebook group on this magic, huge, vast unfolding topic: covering why and how I work with Land Guidance, how and why I work with movement, my understanding of the call of the drums on a dna level, why a conversation around the Genius Loci of the dance at the ODI intensive last week was so profound for me.
I want to say a hugest thanks to my work wife Akeim Toussaint (it is so awesome to work with you!), to Ffion Campbell-Davies & David Evans our amazing dancers, to PDSW for having us this week and to Yorkshire Dance where we head next… to David Doust and Outdoor Arts: you have been so helpful in getting this tour off of the ground… and especially to Eva Martinez who has been an amazing dramaturgy to me the past few months, to Shona Phillips and Youcef Hadjazi who are producing the work at The Place, and to The Place for this commission and opportunity! Obrigada! Merci! E Dupe! Thank you!!!
And to you for reading this! I thank you and hope to see or dance with you soon!

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