Esie Mensah

Dancer, Choreographer, Teacher, Model & Director

Esie Mensah, dancer/choreographer/teacher/model is the 2014 Black Canadian Award Winner for Best Contemporary Dancer and the 2015 recipient of the Cultural Promotion award from the Ghanaian-Canadian Association. Esie has worked with some of the industry’s biggest icons such as Rihanna, Drake, Janelle Monae, Nelly Furtado, Flo Rida, as well as Coca Cola, Luminato, TIFF, Estée Lauder, FIFA, WE DAY and more. Esie was the co-choreographer for “Panamania” Victory Celebration as apart of the 2015 Pan Am Games entertainment. Choreographer of the CHFI commercial “Mornings are a little different” for the Erin and Darren show. Featured dancer in the 2016 FOX TV remake of Rocky Horror Picture Show “Let’s do the time warp again” featuring Laverne Cox and Adam Lambert directed by Kenny Ortega and Lou Adler.

Aside from her accolades, Esie is committed to bringing a new fresh genre of dance into the industry. Afrofusion is her own unique style of dance that includes movements from Traditional and Contemporary African, Commercial, Urban and Contemporary styles. Expanding her abilities, Esie has produced several art pieces;  Shades of Blackness, Zayo and the an original play called Akoma which is a dance/theatre production that premiered in 2015. An excerpt of the production travelled to Birmingham, UK in November 2016 for the OneDanceUk conference for Africans of the Diaspora. Recently, Esie was featured on Daily Vice with Congolese-American artist Young Paris discussing Afrobeat music and movement. Esie and Vice director Alexis Wood shot a short documentary surrounding her recent work, Shades of Blackness. It speaks about the issue of shadeism within the black community and several communities of colour. “Dancing with Shades” will air on the “Exhibitionists” on CBC in February. Esie is currently the movement designer for 1837: Farmer’s Revolt directed by Philip Akin for the 57th season of Shaw Festival.

“If you are attentive enough, God places signs on the horizon for you to see and those signs empower your intuition… if you choose to be attentive to them it can change your life. That’s what happened when I chose to dance… it changed my life.” – Esie Mensah

Movement Director

 

As a Movement Director, Esie Mensah works closely with directors and performers to transform movement into a physical language. Esie’s work lends itself in a variety of production settings that includes theatre and television. Her credits include:

  • 1837: The Farmer’s Revolt
  • Venus’ Daughter
  • Shades
  • CHFI

Dancer

 

A dancer who excels in the beauty of human movement; she brings her aesthetic and lasting value to performing arts around the world. Esie Mensah has worked with some of the world’s biggest brand and icons.

  • Rihanna
  • Drake
  • Janelle Monae
  • Flo Rida
  • Coca-Cola
  • FIFA
  • WE DAY
  • Toronto International Film Festival
  • Estée Lauder
  • Luminato.
  • 2016 FOX Tv remake of Rocky Horror Picture Show “Let’s do the time warp again”

Choreographer

 

As a choreographer, Esie uses each artistic opportunity to express her creativity through the art of movement and dance. She designs and directs performances that have inspired others to share in her innovative ideas. She’s developed original works for over a decade and presented her first production in Toronto to sold out shows in 2015; traveling to both the UK America to showcase the story of AKOMA.  Her most recent work, Shades of Blackness was featured with the CBC, Royal Ontario Museum developing her first documentary in partnership with VICE director Alexis Wood.

  • Shades of Blackness
  • ZAYO
  • AKOMA
  • 2015 PanAm Games victory celebration, Panamania
  • CHFI “Mornings are a little different”, Commercial
  • Francesco Yates – Man of the Woods Tour

Model

 

The versatility of Esie’s look captures you and lures you in. Her strength and vulnerability leaves a last impression on the viewer and entices photographers. Utilizing dance to elevate the concepts of her photos her presence and focus is always remembered.

“Esie Mensah is a creative innovator, always bringing an interesting angle to her projects. Working with her is a pleasure as well as a great experience of learning and self discovery”

Alexis L WoodDocumentary Filmmaker 
(BBC, VICE, CBC)

“For once one has met you…you remain here in the spirit of that truth”

Ben Vereen American Actor

Esie Mensah is the real deal - an artist who has transcended and become the dance.

Kevin AllwoodEditor in Chief KA Magazine - Fashion Designer

“1837: The Farmers' Revolt is a social history told in an ensemble fashion. Mackenzie's there, played with colloquial Canuck charm by Ric Reid, but the play is really focused on the farmers, workers and rank-and-file Reformers who find themselves coming up against oligarchic unfairness and eventually pick up pitchforks to fight for responsible government.
In this production of 1837, Akin tries to account for omission of the latter of the original script through choreography (by Esie Mensah) at the top of the show and Rachel Forbes's Woodland Art-inspired set.”

Globe and MailFarmers Revolt Review

“Akin makes many smart decisions in order to bring 1837 into 2017 — the cast plays parts across age, race, and gender, allowing the cast to reclaim these roles, with great performances from Donna Belleville, Cherissa Richards, Travis Seetoo, Jonah McIntosh and Ric Reid as William Lyon Mackenzie. The movement by Esie Mensah — who, among other things, choreographed Rihanna’s music video for “Work” — gives the show a strong intercultural heartbeat and rhythm, and takes on new meaning when the farmers lift up their fists in resistance to oppressive authorities.”

The StarFarmers Revolt

“1837: There is such a striking physicality to this show that makes the tragedy poetic at times.
From the way the actors seamlessly switch from character to character, to their slow-motion fight scenes and a haunting final hanging scene, the actors deliver phenomenal performances – and the choreography by Movement Director Esie Mensah is arresting.
The battle scene is truly the pièce de résistance, as red lights wash over the stage and actors move in perfect harmony with the sound design – quite literally, dancing with death.”

The Theatre ReaderFarmers Revolt Review

“Venus’ Daughter: The play does pick up shortly afterwards, and the combination of Denise’s soliloquies, her encounters with Sara as well as significant individuals in her life, and the traditional African-inspired interpretive dance (choreographed by Esie Mensah and accompanied by Lyon Smith’s congruous bongo drum effects) all succeed in visually addressing the inner psychological and verbal abuse associated with body image and societal expectations. Even if we are socially evolving, this play shows us that not much has changed in our understanding of sex and the body, though the language to express it has.”

The Theatre ReaderVenus' Daughter Review

“Venus’ Daughter (Obsidian Theatre Company)
Written by and starring the bold and brilliant Meghan Swaby, the latest from Obsidian is a pressingly contemporary deconstruction of ancient myth and sadly not-so-ancient history. Director Philip Akin (who reveals stirring empathy with a piece theoretically better suited to a female director) pairs with movement designer Esie Mensah to create a vibrant, engrossingly physical production anchored by three superb performances.”

My Entertainment WorldVenus' Daughter Review

“On exploring the issue further, Mensah found that shadeism is usually not openly discussed. Now, she's bringing multiple experiences of shadeism together in a stunning new performance to bring the issue out into the open: "Shades of Blackness." The show brings together dance and dialogue to question the idea of shadeism and its impact on the black community.”

CBCShades Of Blackness Review
WORK WITH ESIE