Heads Up–Tessel

by Lynn on June 2, 2021

in The Passionate Playgoer

Forgot this important film by Esie Mensah:


The Vision

TESSEL is a national initiative conceptualized by Dora-nominated choreographer and dancemaker Esie Mensah (ShadesA Revolution of Love), featuring the stories of 14 pioneering Black artists from across Canada, exploring the complexities of diverse movement and voice as a form of resilience.​

Premiering across the country on the one-year anniversary of Blackout Tuesday (June 1) – a day when organizations worldwide publicly expressed their commitment towards institutional change to support the Black community – lead commissioners and co-executive producers Fall for Dance North and Harbourfront Centre, along with 19 national co-presenters, aim to elevate Black dance artists of diverse genres from across Canada, placing a spotlight on their vital role and purpose in our artistic community. This momentous project is intended to be a journey towards change, and an archive of Canadian Black excellence.

“What began as a 7-hour discussion between 14 Black dance artists from across the country, has been beautifully distilled down into a spiritual calling, a tessellated journey through the cycles of healing. This film has taught me to trust the voice that I have within. As a choreographer, the industry can place limitations on who you are even though the vision you have for yourself is so much greater. I’ve been spending many years doing the work to unveil myself as an artist whose creations can shift across disciplines. TESSEL is a reflection of my artistic work and my commitment to share the stories we need and not the stories we want. I am grateful to have done this with 13 artists that trusted me to bring this vision forward.

The necessity to share our voices and not just our bodies is how we ensure these artists feel heard and seen. You will see each of us dance in our respective styles: together, apart; unapologetically, emotionally, and truthfully. Hear us speak to one another; harmonizing, calling in, and lifting one another. This film is intended to be a journey towards change, an archival of Canadian Black excellence, and a sliver of truth that many have not been privy to. May you watch with an open heart, mind and spirit and allow the journey of TESSEL to wash over you like water.” – Esie Mensah

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