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Yewande 103 nurture tender,
compassionate, creative encounters.

Our work firstly lives in our bodies. Our form of embodied activism is
responsive. Themes of repair, loss, joy and intimacy define our work. We practice holding multiplicity and intersectionality by staying in creative processes.

Yewande 103 was founded in 2020 by interdisciplinary artist Alexandrina Hemsley. The organisation amplifies Alexandrina’s established creative practice in dance for inclusive, access-led change. Yewande 103 leadership is co-held with producer Nancy May Roberts.

We are one of the UK’s only Black, disabled, neurodiverse, survivor and artist-led dance organisations. We hold an
access-led practice across dance, arts and mental health.

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Origin & Ethos

Yewande’ is Alexandrina’s Yoruba middle name. It has been passed down the women in their family from their great-great-grandmother who ran away from slave traders in Nigeria. She hid, survived and lived until she was 103 years old. In Yoruba, Yewande means ‘mother has returned’.

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What we do

Yewande 103 Yewande 103  (Y103) is a Black, disabled-led, neurodiverse, survivor-led, parent-led dance organisation founded in July 2020 by Alexandrina Hemsley. We foreground the overlaps between dance & mental health for our audiences & participants via immersive, accessible, nationwide dance. Yewande 103 nurture tender, compassionate encounters with creativity.

- Yewande 103's programme takes shape in three strands

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- Making and production of screen dance/ dance on film

- Artist and producer development- Participatory work in social healthcare spaces

- All strands attend to the survivor-led central research question of how to return to intimacy (individual and collective) after violence ( interpersonal, institutional, systemic).

What Matters To Us

Yewande 103 are passionate about enlivened, sensitive, caring and inclusive frameworks. This approach is at the heart of all that we do. We instigate interdisciplinary projects within contemporary dance film and publications, alongside wider artist and producer development projects.  We also facilitate movement and creative writing workshops in community and social healthcare spaces

Uniting these strands is our embodied advocacy for the inclusion and equity of diverse voices within the cultural sector; with a particular focus on transforming the landscape for people of colour with long term health conditions.
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Our Team

Alexandrina Hemsley

Founder and Creative Director

The company is led by Alexandrina Hemsley whose creative practice lands in the fluid spaces of dance, choreography, writing, facilitating and advocacy. Alexandrina interests are both enduring and in expansive states of flux – or just in connection/relation to the processes within life and within living. They deep dive towards the sensorial, the bodily, the multiple subjective positions of self – and self in intimate relation to self and other selves –  as ways to find breath and voice amidst the unjust and inequitable. 

 

Alexandrina works with intricate improvisation scores and vivid performance environments which insist on conjuring embodied enquiries into a multiplicity of voices. This includes work within organisations around anti-racism, anti-ableism and embodied advocacy. It is a life long, nuanced undertaking.

 

Alexandrina has performed and choreographed nationally and internationally since 2009. Her work has been commissioned by and presented at Sadler’s Wells, The British Museum, Battersea Arts Centre, Southbank Centre, Cambridge Junction, MDI, South East Dance, Chisenhale Dance Space and The Yard Theatre amongst others. Her critical writing has been published by Sick of The Fringe,  an introduction into Selina Thompson’s Salt (Faber & Faber), SPILL Festival and new publication exploring queering the future, Hereafter (Unbound). Other publishing includes The Silver Bandage (Bookworks) and LADA’s Live Art Almanac Vol. 5. Most recently, she has an essay, '‘Feeling My Way Through Several Beginnings’ in Performance, Dance and Political Economy - Bodies at the End of the World, Eds. Katerina Paramana and Anita Gonzalez (Bloomsbury Press).

 

Her collaborations include Project O with Jamila Johnson-Small (2010 onwards, Sadlers Wells New Wave Associates) and Seke Chimutengwende (2016-2019 ) on Black Holes. She collaborated with Rosie Heafford and Helena Webb on Dad Dancing (2012-18).

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Nancy May Roberts

Executive Producer

Nancy May Roberts co-holds the leadership of Yewande 103 alongside Alexandrina. Nancy holds more than 10 years of production experience across independent, commercial and community dance ecologies. Driven by the imperative of addressing the ethics of production, they are Inspired by dance’s potential to unfix binary modes of self, knowledge and power. 

 

Nancy holds extensive experience in senior dance production across a wide range of contexts. Their expansive experience ranges from setting up the dance studios product for global high-quality, low-cost studio brand Pirate Studios, producing the programme at Siobhan Davies Studios (including youth programme, primary programme, classes, courses & commissions) to leading the production of independent & commercial dance performance/film to initiating & leading on Dance Movement Psychotherapy & community dance programmes in NHS trusts & social health care settings.

Our Partners

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Work with us

We'd love to work with you on We'd love to talk with you about potential collaboration across our programme strands and upcoming projects.

Do get in touch.

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It is only a dance
It is only an everything
Body shining, shining, shining through
Tip of rib cage catches something light to
follow-follow

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