Ela Mesma Company

Dispora Dance Theatre

Salsa is a martial dance and here is why…

There is so much to catch you up on, but first, I invite you to consider the power of dance as warrior training not only for our bodies but also our minds… to demonstrate my thinking on this, I invite you to head back with me to 2009, when I went to NYC on a Lisa Ullman scholarship to study On2 salsa with Angel Ortiz (rip ❤️) and breaking with Rokafella.

During my trip, I asked Magna Gopal how to protect my space when I dance with some (not many but some) salsa dancers who are too pushy with their frame or where I feel their technique could cause me damage, and she gave me an invaluable lesson around how to hold my dance space and meet them back with the energy they gave me… those wise words gave way to another, firey Ella who comes out in those moments of ‘self defence’ and all sorts of discoveries around how I can playfully match the energy of whomever I dance with plus bring that fire into my performance and personal life in the form of an energetic boundary giving back or reciprocating the energy I am met with, and empowering me to bring my whole firey self to the space.

In 2020, I heard Thomas Talawa Presto say Salsa that is a martial dance resonated so strongly that I knew it was the start point for my next work. Listen to the interview Akeim Toussaint and I did with him HERE


Fast forward to 2023, and this dream has come true working with Akeim Toussaint on Okan (more information on that coming soon because we got ACE funding whoop whoop!!!) and, more recently, Welcome to Our House, a piece working with the BA3 students at The Place London which combines salsa and wingchun techniques to explore holding ourselves whole which premiered at The Place this month.

Then next, we took the concepts to Italy as a part of Inequilibrio festival in Tuscany, a fairytale like location with castles and sea: it was beautiful!

And today, the new Rainbow Butterfly trailer landed! Watch it HERE

So now I am taking a little time out to rest, to ponder all of the learning, finish the book version of The Rainbow Butterfly and the copy and get it ready for touring from October onwards and to start casting my mind to a few new projects including Indra’s Web, a piece exploring my and other performers family trees as well as submissions (and knitting) from members of the public.

Watch this space…

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