Ella Mesma 

Butterfly wings, contrary to popular belief, are not made up of many colours. The colours and patterns we see are made by the reflection of hundreds of tiny scales covering their white wings. The butterfly represents transformation, life, the soul. A chance for us to find ourselves, our place, our identity.

Commissioned by Dance City as Associate Dance Artist, ‘Papillon’ is my ritual to discover who I am and where I belong as I transform to adulthood, and in response to Theresa May’s statement: “If you believe you’re a citizen of the world, you’re a citizen of nowhere.”

Does a person’s ethnic group define their identity? Do different cultures enrich our life experience? How do we define belonging?

When I was born they thought I had jaundice. At primary school, in a small town in the UK, I was called the ‘N’ word. Later, I was asked ‘Is that really your Mum?’ At secondary school, when I braided my hair, I was called ‘wigga’. And as my curves arrived asked, ‘are you Latina?’.

At first glance, I am ‘white passing’, but things are not always as they seem. I have one black and one white parent. Nomad, Mariposa, Mixed Heritage British. Is it only appearance that defines our ethnicity?

Ella Mesma Company (EMC) is an international touring contemporary dance company currently based in Newcastle upon Tyne, North East England, led by Artistic Director Ella Mesma. EMC was founded in 2011 with a solo which premiered at Breakin’ Convention, titled ‘Evol’ (Love backwards) and was officially launched in 2014.

Ella creates work that reflects her background in Latin, Breaking and Contemporary dance theatre and is interested in exploring social, cultural identity and Latin communities under represented in the theatre and on the stage. Since 2011, EMC has toured across the UK and premieres new work ‘Ladylike’ in June at Sadler’s Wells. Ella Mesma Company was Associate Artist at Dance City in Newcastle 2016-2017.


Papillon was performed at PUG Party as part of GIFT Festival 2017.


+44 (0) 77577 39643

Space Six, Floor Six, 39 Pilgrim St, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 6QE

Workshop: oracular practice | Sat 4th May 2019

Workshop: oracular practice | Sat 4th May 2019

oracular practice workshop facilitated by Last Yearz Interesting Negro

Workshop description 

A space where I try to make an opening in myself to share current questions, concerns and interests through practice that is part of a project towards disentangling myself from assimilationist approaches. Moving from and through and with states of overwhelm, using the density of available sensory and remembered information, our interior worlds stacked with living, subjective data that can be used as tools for divination.

Or, in other words: some dancing with some words and sounds to provoke and encourage.

About Last Yearz Interesting Negro

oracular practice will be facilitated by Last Yearz Interesting Negro, the performance project of London based artist and dancer Jamila Johnson-Small. The choreographies are dreamspaces and battlegrounds, that build atmospheric landscapes through the live unfolding of the tensions between things that produce meaning. Working with dramaturgies of sculpture, electronic music, poetry, video, texture, a public and always dancing, Jamila isn’t so interested in genre and her practice moves across various spaces, contexts and roles, also curating and hosting spaces for conversation and artistic exchange. She collaborates regularly with Alexandrina Hemsley (Project O), Phoebe Collings-James, Fernanda Muñoz-Newome, Shelley Parker and Rowdy SS. Please see more about Last Yearz Interesting Negro here.

When: Saturday 4th May, 11am – 1pm

Where: GIFT Festival, Caedmon Hall, Gateshead Central Library NE8 4LN

Tickets: Free. Space is very limited please register your attendance here. 

Suitability: 16+

Please wear soft comfortable clothing. And bring layers to keep warm.

Travel and Access information here.

Please contact PUG Producer, Rosa at if you have any questions.

oracular practice workshop is hosted by PUG with support from Gateshead Council Culture Team, GIFT and ACE. Last Yearz Interesting Negro will be performing at PUG#7 as part of GIFT Festival.

PUG will be hosting workshops throughout 2019.


Image: Last Yearz Interesting Negro. Image by Katarzyna Perlak and Carlos Jimenez.

ROSA POSTLETHWAITE | +44 (0) 77577 39643 | | Space Six, Floor Six, 39 Pilgrim St, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 6QE

All images on PUG website by Chris Bishop