“Ladylike should be compulsory watching for the world” Chris Megginson, Yorkshire Dance

LADYLIKE: Are you a heroine? Or feeling a bit chicken? Ladylike is a super-heroines journey, a ceremonious un-dressing in which four warrior womxn use hip hop theatre and sexually charged Rumba to take a fierce, frank and funny look at gender roles to transform their deepest fears and desires, step out of their stories and unite as a sisterhood.  

Ladylike began its journey at Casa Festival in 2015 and premiered at Sadler’s Wells in 2017. The show has also been performed at Richmix, London (2017),Trinity Centre, Bristol (2018), The Women’s Leadership Conference, New York City, (2018), VAULT Festival London (2018), IETM, Hull (2019), Offbeat Festival, Oxford (2019), Dance City, Newcastle (2019), and was runner up in the Lukas awards  for Best Production (2018). The show was most recently performed at Casa Latin American Festival in July 2019.

THEMES: Gender, Gender roles, Stereotypes, Gender Abuse, Me Too, Identity, Sex, Power, Fear, Love, Self Love, Sisterhood, Transformation, Herstory, Orixás, Mythology, Healing, Shamanism, Chickens, Breaking, Afro Cuban, Circles, Rituals

Programme Notes

  1. Todo nace de la Rumba (Everything is born from Rumba), 2. Women who run with wolves, 3. Little Anna, 4. 50 shades of chicken, 5. The Maverick reigns her roost, 6. My dress is not yes, 7. Guerreras (Warriors)

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WATCH NOW: Watch the show using a fully immersive 360° VR experience via our collaboration with technology experts LIVR at their virtual reality content platform here
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“Totally swept away by the powerful performances of the four women! They do represent a diaspora of desires, fears and heroism!” (Casa Festival 2019) South Social Film Fest

“The talented dancers of the Ella Mesma Company keep the audience engaged and interested throughout the piece and transmit a convincing message that everybody can relate to” Julia-Carolin Zeng (Dance GRiST)

“An absurd, comical, and emotionally charged ritual of dance theatre” (Bristol 24/7)

A unique movement language at the crossroads of theatre, Latin and Hip hop, together with a punchy feminist approach” Eva Martinez: Artistic Programmer & Artist Development, Sadler’s Wells

“F***ing brilliant. Very moving” Audience Member: Offbeat Festival

“Completely engaged- Enthralling, emotional, grounding work” Stuart Carter- Audience member and CEO, The Tabernacle- London


“Students were awed by the physical expertise of Ella Mesma Company combined with well created dance motifs was very exciting. The question and answer session was a real eye opener- very focused and intense. All 150 students engaged fuly thought the time. Excellent. Well done.” Subarea Lewis, Plashet School

Our Partners and Supporters:lottery_png_black1

Concept and Direction: Ella Mesma

Dancers: Anna Alvarez, Azara Meghie, Hsing Ya Wu, Lucia Afonso (and we honour Lianett Rodrigues who was involved in the first draft of the work),

Choreography: Ella Mesma and Dancers with the opening scene by Yersin Guillen Rivas

Costume: Jodie-Simone Howe, Dream Sewing, Ila Leila Samba Costumes, Melissa Rolas and Ella Mesma

Lighting: Ciaran Cunningham

Music: Composed by Sabio Janiak

Photography: Nicola Hunter, Camilla Greenwell

Additional Direction: Charlotte Vincent through The Bench (2015), Lea Anderson (2017)

Dramaturgical Support: Peggy Olislaegers through Yorkshire Dance’s Sketch programme (2015)

Thank you:

This work began in 2015 and has been a profound research into the dance styles, with the content and creation spanning 4 continents. A huge thank you to everyone who has been a part of this work, in particular:

Arts Council of England, Crowdfunder donaters, Casa Latin American Festival, Peggy Olislaegers and Yorkshire Dance’s Sketch programme (2015), WCMT, Lisa Ullman Trust, Wieke Eringa, Dance City, Patricia Stead, Jeff Dean, James Froment, Sadler’s Wells, Richmix, ADAP Sar, Dance City, Trinity Centre, Yorkshire Dance, Dance Studio Leeds, ADAD, The Bench (2Faced Dance), Kala Sangam, Eclipse Theatre, Absolutely Cultured, IETM, Harambee Pasadia, Lukas Awards, Artists4Artists and all the team, Big Feast, Sh! Erotic Shop, Fergus Evans, Nicola Hunter, Camilla Greenwell, Tom Bowles, Suzie Howell, Lea Anderson, Charlotte Vincent, Miguel Gonzalez, Yersin Rivas, Luanda Pau, Lianett Rodrigues, Emma Houston, Rita Vilhena, Gabriela Montgomery Solano, Jo Leahy, Hugo Canuto, Mum, Family and Friends.