Ela Mesma Company

Dispora Dance Theatre

Okan reflections, a Christmas gift from me, and what’s love got to do with it?

This is my last love letter before Christmas, as I feel it is true to take a break until 2024 (so see you on the flip side as my coach says!)…
But before I go, I wanted to share some reflections, offer some Christmas present inspiration and shout out some thanks and get over the Moon about the world of Ọkan (because what an amazing creation it is!)
This week we shared Ọkan with a small group of programmers and other awesome humans online, and the week before, at a sold out event at Yorkshire Dance, and here is a quote from an audience member from the sharing:

“Really enjoyed the costumes, the music and the dance. This is a performance that could be enjoyed by a ‘family’ audience with the dramatic spectacle and music engaging all age-groups audiences and the more serious layers of meaning reaching mature viewers. I really loved the vibrant costumes and the way they flowed with the dance.”


Ọkan means oneness, conscience, and heart in Yoruba, and was chosen to reflect the West African Yoruban roots of many of the dance styles used in the piece (and Yoruban due to my being united with my huge Yoruban family this year!). Whilst making the piece, I learnt that the heart, like the brain, generates a powerful electromagnetic field: only 60 times greater in amplitude than brain waves.


This was one of the synchronous unfoldings experienced making Okan… the piece was informed by Salsa, Wing Chun, Silat (Pencuk Silat), Qi Gong, Kizomba, Capoeira, Breaking (breakdance) and Bachata (and we acknowledge the painful history of colonialism and enslaved people that has led to the creation of these diasporic dances and commit to honouring and respecting them and their history, also acknowledging all the unrecognised cultural lineages and stories that are untold). Each day, we practised aspects of these styles as well as Qi Gong, and experienced a very tangible sensation of the energy (Qi/Chi) passing through us… as though we could feel… and as choreographers, see the field!


That led to me digging out images of the heart’s electromagnetic field, and coming across this powerful research by the Heart Math Institute that intentionally generated positive emotions from another person can change the cardio-electromagnetic field information in a human being: WOW!


The initial idea of the piece came from the four styles of relating (which I learnt via William Whitecloud but come from a study by James Redfield), and each state: Controlling, codependent, aloof and whole has a corresponding image which I drew on pieces of paper for the initial tasks. One of the performers (Ffion) noticed these looked like drawings of the planets, and this was how astrology began to weave its way into the piece… we made sections by embodying planets (also to get away from gender within the work), and spoke of the very real evidence that we are made of stardust…


This brought me back to my work as a coach and the premise that we are all genius star beings with goddxx-like potential come to earth for a human experience… That the stars are there to guide us and remind us of our possibilities, and conjured images for me of making wishes on stars and connecting the dots that our dreams, our creativity and possibility are what make us who we are, and are also part of our heart.

So ultimately, this letter is about love… this piece is about love… and this year my journey has been one of learning to stay (as much as possible) in my heart.


This week I read an article in Al Jazeera which said “If Christ were to be born today,” Reverend Munther Isaac said, “he would be born under the rubble and Israeli shelling. This is a powerful message we send to the world celebrating the holidays.” and it really hit home that instead of Christmas being about presents this year I want it to be about presence and instead of sending gifts (though I have recommended a gift suggestion below if you fancy supporting small businesses plus a Christmas gift for you below), I want it to be about sending love, also because as our research during the creation taught me, there is something very different in the energy of love that we give out to that of anger… So even in these very sad times, I am sending out so much peace and love to all those who need it and continue praying for peace… and a ceasefire… and wishing you a wonderful NYE and Holidays {!firstname_fix}, and for all your heart desires to come true…

Finally, I want to close with thank yous! So many thank yous!


To everyone who supported by coming to our (SOLD OUT) sharing at Yorkshire Dance, to the sharing online this week, to all the theatres who supported the making of this work: The Place (every single person on the team: thank you so much!), Yorkshire Dance, PDSW, British Council, Fabric, South East Dance plus Arts Council of England, and to our amazing team: dancers Ffion Campbell-Davies and David Evans, composers Azizi Cole and Joel Stedman, Costume Designer Audrey Mae, Dramaturgy Eva Martinez, Collaboration Coach Nadine Patel, Movement Consultants Gilberto Del Prado & Leo Au Yeung, to my amazing work wife Akeim Toussaint and to you for reading this love letter: Thank you!

Maya Mentions: Gifts and coming in 2024…

The Five Tibetan Rites: My Christmas gift to you this year is this course which teaches you how to do the 5 Tibetan Rites (a set of 5 simple moves that help you stay fit healthy and young for life) Access it HERE

Journal To JOY: If you have already made Journalling to JOY a daily habit… now is the perfect time to gift the magic to someone else. Order your copy HERE


The Goddxx Path: In the new year I will be opening up a limited number of spots a month to interview for The Goddxx Path. Each interviewee will have the opportunity to experience some of the magic that we create on this journey so keep an eye out, or if you can’t wait, sign up to the waiting list and I will write to you before I release the dates publicly! Sign up HERE


The Rainbow Butterfly (and other shows)… again… more magic… so far The Rainbow Butterfly has 8 tour dates for 2024! And Ọkan has three (these are not listed yet) and some very exciting prospects… so I invite you to come and dance & connect with me and the company in a city or town near you… Check the dates out HERE

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