Ela Mesma Company

Dispora Dance Theatre

Roots of Rumba

We did it! Thank you to everyone who attended Roots of Rumba. We toured 5 cities, our shows were seen by 470 people, we showed 19 pieces of work by artists from across the UK and abroad and held three banging afterparties! Roots of Rumba was a celebration of dance and music deriving from Africa and Latin America. It was a healing heartfelt show of dance, music, spoken word, beatboxing. The classes were taught by absolute masters in their fields, the audience bought a beautiful energy (Candela!) and the djs at all three afterparties were internationally acclaimed and on fire!

Myself and all of the Roots of Rumba would like to say a huge thank you to:

Arts Council of England, Eclipse Theatre, Cheshire Dance, Trinity Centre, Yorkshire Dance Centre, Lion Salt Works, Horniman Museum, Dance City, The Wardrobe, Kommunity Newcastle

To the team: Julia Testa (superheroine), Carly Woodbridge, Amanda Demerara Royes, Ingrid Santos, Jane McClean, Degna Stone.

To all the artists involved: Ama Rouge and Ama Rouge Ensemble, Luanda Pau, Sandra Passirani, Dani Sands, Myriam Gadri, Marv Radio, Franck Arnaud-Lusbec, Ffion Campbell-Davies, Miguel Gonzalez, Orquidea Lima, Neelam Suman, Xavier Osmir, Lubi Jovanovic, Nandy Selectorchico Cabrera, Azara Meghie, Anna Alvarez, Hsing Ya Wu, Ella Mesma Company, Iris De Brito, Rise Youth Dance, Helen Wilson, Mestre Piolho (Rafael Braga), Paige Lyons, D.O.P.E. Male Performance Co, Jack Robinson, Latisha Cesar, Marie Mathias (x2), Unidos Do Ritmo, Akeim Toussaint, Patricia Verity Suarez, Juliette & Georgina Lance, Francis Odongo.

And most of all to EVERYONE who supported our event: Thank you!

Roots of Rumba is a concept imagined in 2013 with the awesome Scannersinc. We held the first one (Roots of Rhythm) together, and I carried the flame onwards with my mission to create a platform for established professionals and emerging Latin dance artists to present Dance Theatre with Afro-Latin dance and themes at the heart.

Why diaspora dance theatre? As Ama Rouge said so eloquently in her interview about her Ama Rouge Ensemble piece ‘Roots Bloom’ on Saturday 15th September 2018 at Roots of Rumba London, it is important to celebrate and recognise that, despite Africans being forcibly dispersed around the world, they have carried their root with them, and all of the dance styles and influences that were presented at Roots of Rumba have bloomed from that root (hence the title of her piece: Roots Bloom). (Read more about the making of Roots of Rumba here)

It meant so much to me to realise this dream this year: celebrating and putting dance styles from across the globe on the stage, showcasing the high levels of talent and theatrical work, holding workshops with masters in their fields, taking this across the UK to reach new audiences and celebrating with our community.

As Marv Radio said in the interview above, “Hip hop is about intelligent movement and the ability to share our stories: to me these shows were all Hip hop”. Hip hop upholds values of social justice of peace, respect, self-worth, community, and having fun, and this were what all of these performances were on tour. These shows were healing, they spoke of life, justice and they spoke of people from all different experiences from across the world: and it is so important that we all have a voice and are represented on stage.

Here are some quotes from audience members across the UK:

“Diverse, inclusive and completely engaging” Candice Wu

“A true marriage of dance, feeling, culture, politics and love” Carly Trigg, Northwich

“Brilliant: Vibrant, life affirming dance with enormous power to move and inspire” Fiona Young: Audience member, Leeds

“Roots of Rumba is about getting back to the root of movement: connecting body, soul and music” Audience member, London

“A fantastic expression of dance and the human condition” David Evans, London

“Be prepared to dance, laugh and cry” Audience member, London

“A spectacular show full of different styles with an African root: Joyful to watch”

“The best dance event in the UK” Audience member, London

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