Please use the following wording for your publicity (We have included short and longer bios for the company and Ella below)

Short Bio Ella Mesma:

Ella Mesma is an established professional artist based in Leeds with over 15 years of experience in dance and movement. Trained at Laban/LSCD, performance highlights include Russell Maliphant Company, Lea Anderson (The Chomondeleys), Olympics Opening Ceremony. She directs Ella Mesma Company and a movement called Maya Gandaia, as well as championing Business Yoga. She was Associate Artist at Dance City (2017), Associate Artist Trinity Centre Bristol (2018), Slate World Artist (2020), Pervasive Media Studio Resident (2020) and Pavillion Dance South West Associate (2020-2021).

Full Bio Ella Mesma:

An established professional artist with over 15 years of experience in dance and movement, Ella trained at Laban/LSCD and also studied politics at Leeds university. Ella is of mixed heritage and was born in Canterbury, but grew up in Bristol. She has studied dance in Brazil (first visting in 2004), Cuba (first visiting in 2011), NYC (first visiting in 2009 with a Lisa Ullman scholarship) and the UK.

Performance highlights include Russell Maliphant Company, Lea Anderson (The Chomondeleys), Olympics Opening Ceremony. Ella was a Bench fellow and resident at Casa Latin American Festival (2015), Associate Artist at Dance City (2017), Associate Artist Trinity Centre Bristol (2018), Slate World Artist (2020), Pervasive Media Studio Resident (2020). Ella curated She Created Her Life Festival, and produced 5 Roots Of Rumba events: an international dance festival. A WCMT grant took her to Brazil and Cuba (2017) and AIDF awards (2018) took her to Capetown collaborating with South African poet Toni Stuart.

‘Maya Gandaia’ translates as ‘Illusion to Joy’ and is an Embodied Alchemy concept Ella created for empowering creatives to release their fears, re-connect to their passion and power, and create a life of joy. Ella is also championing a wellness project called Business Yoga which is all about supporting companies to put wellbeing at the heart of their ethos.

With Ella Mesma Company, ‘Ladylike’ was runner up as ‘Best Dance Production of The Year’ LUKAS Awards (2018). Highlights include recent work Foreign Bodies: An Underwater Love Story, funded by Arts Council of England and Metal (Liverpool). The company has been commissioned by Sadler’s Wells (Wildcard 2017), RBKC (2015) Metal (2018), Breakin Convention (2011, 2012), Women’s International Leadership Conference, NYC (2017), National Circus Centre (2018), ICA Festival, Capetown (2018), IETM (2019).

Ella has studied yoga since 2004, and trained to teach Vinyasa yoga with Abby Hoffman (Embodied Dancer Teacher Training) in 2011 (with a Gil Clarke Scholarship), then Kundalini at the Karam Kriya School in 2018 and in Yoga Trapeze® at the Yoga Teachers College® in 2020. Ella has also practised Ashtanga since 2015, and has trained TRE, The Wheel Of Consent, Holistic Pelvic Care and the coaching of William Whitecloud.

Ella’s first dance was Salsa: she started to dance it aged 14 in Bristol. Ella was also the founder of EAC (Element Arts Company) in Leeds (now handed over to the collective and managed by Hannah Bertram). Ella took this company to gigs across the world (Including two visits to India), they won a salsa competition in 2008, and featured on tv shows and in music videos including for the talented ‘Ty’. Ella was Rainha da Bateria for London School of Samba in 2007, and a passista in Rio in 2006. Ella took up breaking (breakdance) in Birmingham where she also worked for Birmingham Royal Ballet, Dance@Highbury and Fox Hollies. Breaking was a refreshing alternative to the latin world, and her most recent creation in lockdown ‘I am all womxn‘ has received over 6,500 views on facebook.

In the first person:

An established professional artist with over 15 years of experience in dance and movement, I trained at Laban/LSCD and also studied politics at Leeds university. I am of mixed heritage and was born in Canterbury, but grew up in Bristol. I have studied dance in Brazil (first visting in 2004), Cuba (first visiting in 2011), NYC (first visiting in 2009 with a Lisa Ullman scholarship) and the UK.

Performance highlights include Russell Maliphant Company, Lea Anderson (The Chomondeleys), Olympics Opening Ceremony. I was a Bench fellow and resident at Casa Latin American Festival (2015), Associate Artist at Dance City (2017), Associate Artist Trinity Centre Bristol (2018), Slate World Artist (2020), Pervasive Media Studio Resident (2020). I curated She Created Her Life Festival, and produced 5 Roots Of Rumba events: an international dance festival. A WCMT grant took me to Brazil and Cuba (2017) and AIDF awards (2018) took me to Capetown collaborating with South African poet Toni Stuart.

‘Maya Gandaia’ translates as ‘Illusion to Joy’ and is an Embodied Alchemy concept I created for empowering creatives to release their fears, re-connect to their passion and power, and create a life of joy. I am also championing a wellness project called Business Yoga which is all about supporting companies to put wellbeing at the heart of their ethos.

With my dance company, Ella Mesma Company, ‘Ladylike’ was runner up as ‘Best Dance Production of The Year’ LUKAS Awards (2018). Highlights include our recent work Foreign Bodies: An Underwater Love Story, funded by Arts Council of England and Metal (Liverpool). The company has been commissioned by Sadler’s Wells (Wildcard 2017), RBKC (2015) Metal (2018), Breakin Convention (2011, 2012), Women’s International Leadership Conference, NYC (2017), National Circus Centre (2018), ICA Festival, Capetown (2018), IETM (2019).

I have studied yoga since 2004, and trained to teach Vinyasa yoga with Abby Hoffman (Embodied Dancer Teacher Training) in 2011 (with a Gil Clarke Scholarship), then Kundalini at the Karam Kriya School in 2018 and with Yoga Body (Yoga Trapeze) in 2020. I have also practised Ashtanga since 2015. I have delved into various Embodiment trainings such as TRE, The Wheel Of Consent, Holistic Pelvic Care and the coaching of William Whitecloud.

My first dance was Salsa: I started to dance it aged 14 in Bristol. I was also the founder of EAC (Element Arts Company) in Leeds (now handed over to the collective and managed by Hannah Bertram). I took this company to gigs across the world (Including two visits to India), we won a salsa competition in 2008, and featured on tv shows and in music videos including for the talented ‘Ty’. I was Rainha da Bateria for London School of Samba in 2007, and a passista in Rio in 2006. I took up breaking (breakdance) in Birmingham where I also worked for Birmingham Royal Ballet, Dance@Highbury and Fox Hollies. Breaking was a refreshing alternative to the latin world, and our most recent creation: has received over 6,500 views on facebook.

Images for download:

Short Bio Ella Mesma Company:

Ella Mesma Company is a British based dance theatre company who use a diverse range of folkloric dancestyles of the diaspora.These include the dances of the Orishas, contemporary and Hip Hop styles to create theatre collaboratively.

The company strive to use diaspora dance theatre (a term they created to communicate this unique meeting of dance styles) to allow transformation: telling personal and global stories to connect to our truest selves, and create powerful, personal and political work. We are inspired by dance as a healing ritual: a gateway for transformation and positive change (Art as Activism) and have a holistic approach to creativity.

Ella created the company because she felt about dance like Toni Morrison’s quote: “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” ~ Toni Morrison. She wanted to make dance work where BAME, women, LGBTQI, working class people were at the centre of the story, and where she saw the dance styles she loves so much on the stage.

Full Bio Ella Mesma Company:

The journey began in 2011, with a premiere at Breakin’ Convention (Sadler’s Wells): a solo called Evol. Since then, Ella Mesma Company have been commissioned by a number of leading arts organisations including Sadler’s Wells and National Circus Centre. The company formed as Ella Mesma Company in 2014 with a piece called Orixás, and have presented work in a number of highly regarded venues & festivals.

Ella Mesma Company were residents with Casa Latin American Festival 2015, Associate Artists at Dance City (2017) and Trinity Centre Bristol (2018). The company were runners up for the ‘Best Dance Production of The Year’ by the Latino Life LUKAS Awards 2018.

The company have been commissioned for Sadler’s Wells (Wild Card) with Ladylike (a piece about gender roles celebrating the female) which they also performed at the IETM in Hull and at the Women in Dance Leadership Conference in New York. Ladylike was also second place for best production for the Lukas awards (Latin UK Awards) 2018, and was filmed using VR technology in collaboration with LIVR.

Papyllon was a piece exploring mixed heritage identities in collaboration with South African poet Toni Stuart. This piece premiered at the ICA Festival in South Africa in 2018, and combined dance and circus. The duet was supported by British Council, Arts Council and the National Centre for Circus.

The company was awarded a Leeds Inspired grant with Vamos Festival to create The Masks We Wear, a project working with young women in Leeds to explore our public and private identities.

Foreign Bodies, An Underwater Love Story is the current company work, and began, supported by a commission from Metal and a grant from Arts Council of England. The piece was booked for a tour of the UK for 2020, which we hope to rework for 2021!

Photographs for download. (Please credit the photographer whose name is included in the file and feel free to use other images across our site as long as you are able to credit them: Thank you)


Teaching Quotes:
“The coaching session I had with Ella was what I didn’t know I needed after ending a week full of planning and going into a week of taking creative risks. The visualisation, the writing and reflection were super useful in helping me feel so much more connected creatively whilst recognising the ways I block my own creativity.” Patricia Verity Suarez

“I absolutely loved the workshop I did with you: it gave me a beautiful awareness of my patterns and purpose”. Emily Winter, Participant, Leeds

“This workshop allowed me to open and connect to myself and others in movement. What a beautiful mix of techniques (from Yoga, Tango, Butoh … amongst others) to reach the heart of your own movement. Thank you Ella” Participant, Bristol


“It was such a wonderful experience attending the HOME workshop, as a dancer I felt totally immersed in the movement. HOME provided me with an opportunity to dance many styles, including my own and to meditate towards healing. Throughout the session I was guided through movement meditations; learning new dance vocabulary and improvising in my own flow – a wonderful synergy”. Dani Byars, Leeds


“I came a woman and left feeling a goddess. It was an intense afternoon delving through our inner workings but I left with a huge sense of euphoria and affinity for the other attendees.”Anna Demming


“I thoroughly enjoyed Ella’s invitation to seek deeper, to ground further into the inner expression of myself. A mindful workshop to root in your own dance”. Agüi Garcia


“Ella’s HEART workshop is a unique combination of yoga, tango and dance/contact improvisation techniques mixed seamlessly so that anyone can benefit. The workshop I attended had participants aged from 20-70 with varying degrees of dance backgrounds. It was a privilege to see everyone working and creating together with genuine joy. Ella has the ability to allow each individual to shine and to reach their creative potential. A rare and precious gift. I can honestly say it was a transformative experience-it won’t change your life but it may change the way you live it”. Natalie Teitler (Participant in London at The Place)


“You bring a lot of calm and safety to the room, holding space for everyone and making us comfortable and connected quite easily. Your workshop was really playful which I think is so important and I really enjoyed the fact that it mixed a lot of different techniques and influences, giving us opportunities to use our bodies, minds, voices, theatrical skills… And I also liked the fact that it had strong spiritual/ self-love and self-care element without being too serious. Laughter and dance all the way!” Melanie Berard, London


“The knowledge she gave, the vibe created and being able to access the “Home” place we so regularly forget about and overlook, all led to a soul warming and fulfilling experience. I would highly recommend all artists from any background to take Ella’s workshops” Kiran Kumar, Student, Leeds


“Ahhh Ella – I did the mediation you sent me last night – I calmed down soooooo much – I didn’t even get to the end of it and I was so ready to sleep! Been really struggling to switch off and sleep calmly these days – was sooooooooo good! ” Lisa, Client, Birmingham


“Thank you for today, it was inspiring and so good to move my spine and body and learn new mudras”. Aleksandra Jawulska

For quotes from each individual show please go to projects