I am a British born dancer and artist of mixed heritage from Bristol.

I trained at Laban/LSCD (where I now have an MA), but my first love was Salsa, and I began my dance career with Afro Latin & Brazilian styles (touring the UK and internationally with shows and workshops) and breaking (breakdance). I also studied yoga with Abby Hoffman (Embodied Dancer Teacher Training) in 2011 and Kundalini at the Karam Kriya School in 2018.

Some highlights of my performance experiences include touring internationally with the Russell Maliphant Company (The Rodin Project), performing for Lea Anderson (Trying it On: The Chomondeleys), the Olympics Opening Ceremony, dancing salsa and samba in India and the WCMT and AIDF awards which took me to Brazil, Cuba and South Africa.

Under my dance theatre company (Ella Mesma Company), I have been commissioned for Sadler’s Wells (Wild Card) with my work Ladylike (a piece about gender roles celebrating the female) 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.

I have been an Associate Artist at Trinity in Bristol and Dance City in Newcastle, where I devised a piece called Papyllon 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.

I am currently working on a dance theatre piece with an amazing team of artists, called Foreign Bodies an Underwater Love Story. This multi-sensory quiz show presents a hopeful alternative reality where the audience can explore  what is gained and what is lost through cultural exchange and connection and is currently taking shape in the North of England at Northern Stage in Newcastle.

I am super interested in the power of the mind and coaching which I am creating under the name 'Maya Gandaia' (which translates as 'Illusion to Joy') and includes 'The PathFor Series': a series of 7  workshops to help us to step out of the illusions which hold us back from being our true superhero selves. We are about to run our first ever retreat to Thailand for NYE!

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.

I have also curated Roots of Rumba Festival (a festival to showcase and celebrate artists who work with dances of the African Diaspora) that has toured the UK since 2013.