News: Transformative piece Papyllon to be streamed by Pavilion Dance South West

One of the nations’ leading dance venues outside London, Pavilion Dance South West (PDSW) will make Papyllon by Ella Mesma available for livestream on its website from Monday 18th January 2021. This transformative new piece provides an opportunity to see a work in development from one of the UK’s rising dance talents. Responding to the need for high quality artistic entertainment during lockdown, PDSW have ensured the powerful work returns to the digital sphere to be enjoyed by audiences up and down the country.

Inspired by the lifecycle of the butterfly and each stage of metamorphosis, Papyllon interrogates identity, privilege and imposter syndrome as Ella confesses to the audience how and why she doesn’t fit with society. The live music from Marv Radio (Sound Connections’ New Voices; Mantra) is entirely improvised in response to Ella’s work as the piece seamlessly blends dance, text, song and aerial silks. Papyllon skillfully plays with form to explore ideas of race, heritage, nature and nurture even as it uses shamanism and alchemy to inform the piece.

Exploring new ways to diversify its programme, PDSW were among the first to offer free to view dance premieres in the March 2020 Lockdown, giving audiences an opportunity to engage, some for the first time, with contemporary dance at home. PDSW’s Company in Residence, Ella Mesma Company’s intimate performance kicks off PDSW’s 25th anniversary with a story of transformation. There will also be an opportunity to find out more about the creation of the piece with a post-show discussion with PDSW’s CEO and Artistic Director Zannah Chisholm.

Artistic Director and CEO of Pavilion Dance South West, Zannah Chisholm commented: “We are delighted to be hosting Papyllon online. It has been wonderful to see this work develop and transform in our Ocean Theatre. As an organisation who is passionate about inclusion, this streaming will be accompanied by an audio description that has been created in collaboration with the artist, Ella Mesma and audio describer, Caroline Burns, so everyone will have access to enjoy this stunning new work.”

Ella Mesma is also one of the PDSW’s family highlighted in their digital postcard series. With a personal dance story as part of every postcard, each one highlights the wide variety of work PDSW do across the BCP area as well as paying homage to the people who have supported them for 25 years as a charity and for ten years in their building. Designed by CuCo Creative, the postcards perfectly partners with an interactive map from Google to help the audiences dance their way to PDSW from wherever they are in the world.

Papyllon will be available to stream on the PDSW website from Monday 18 – Sunday 24 January.


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