“A Day in the Life” with dancer and choreographer Esie Mensah

Born in Hamilton, Ontario, acclaimed dancer and choreographer Esie Mensah first entered the world of dance through the Ewe-Canadian Cultural Organization of Ontario — a community group that celebrated traditional Ghanaian culture with weekly dance lessons. These early gatherings would become the root of Esie’s unique style of Afrofusion, a genre that mixes the traditional with the contemporary, the urban with the classical. She studied dance at George Brown College, and upon graduating began working with some of the biggest names in the music and commercial industries: Rihanna, Janelle Monae, and Drake, in addition to Estée Lauder and Coca Cola. Esie has been featured in documentaries produced by Vice and CBC for her socially engaged style of dance, which speaks to contemporary black issues. This once extremely shy girl — the youngest of six children — has developed a strong voice in the community.

Esie Mensah - The odd selfie that you will see me take! Our first rehearsal back with Francesco Yates preparing for our dates opening for Justin Timberlake’s Man of the Woods Tour!
The odd selfie that you will see me take! Our first rehearsal back with Francesco Yates preparing for our dates opening for Justin Timberlake’s Man of the Woods Tour!
My love for sunsets. This was taken at Cabana Pool Bar while I was at a party called Soca or Die.
My love for sunsets. This was taken at Cabana Pool Bar while I was at a party called Soca or Die.
3.First class at the Sony Centre. Free community classes every Wednesday! Next two classes are 12th and the 19th at 6pm.
3.First class at the Sony Centre. Free community classes every Wednesday! Next two classes are 12th and the 19th at 6pm.
Thru the lines Find beauty on my walks thru the city.
Thru the lines Find beauty on my walks thru the city.
Working with the cast of Shades with the amazing D’Bi Young Anitafrika (bottom center) and Akosua Amo-Adem (bottom left). Cast from left to right: Allyson Trunzer, Percy Anane-Dwumfour, Shakeil Rollock, Tereka Tyler-Davis, Miranda Liverpool, Roney Lewis, Esie Mensah
Working with the cast of Shades with the amazing D’Bi Young Anitafrika (bottom center) and Akosua Amo-Adem (bottom left). Cast from left to right: Allyson Trunzer, Percy Anane-Dwumfour, Shakeil Rollock, Tereka Tyler-Davis, Miranda Liverpool, Roney Lewis, Esie Mensah
The exciting show of Shades!!! Designed by Allwood Agency
The exciting show of Shades!!! Designed by Allwood Agency
On set for Yemi Alade’s new video Oh My Gosh
On set for Yemi Alade’s new video Oh My Gosh
Celebrating Caribana in the Gaia Section of Carnival Nationz.
Celebrating Caribana in the Gaia Section of Carnival Nationz.

What ‘hood are you in?

Cabbagetown!

What do you do?

Choreographer/dancer/teacher/model

What are you currently working on?

Shades! My production which tackles shadeism within communities of colour. I’ve spent two years working on this production and I am excited to share this with my audience. A potent subject that affects people at their core and understanding the root cause of it. Shadeism is a generational disease that plagues the subconscious to assume someone is greater or lesser than the other due to their shade.

Where can we find your work?

Performance of “Shades”, Sept 27-30 at Factory Theatre, Toronto.

My website! www.esiemensah.com

 

 

Joel Levy
About Joel Levy 1561 Articles
Editor-In-Chief at Toronto Guardian. Photographer and Writer for Toronto Guardian and Joel Levy Photography