Malika is an international prize winning poet, performer and teacher. Her collection, ‘Pepperseed’ (Peepal Tree) was nominated for the BOCAS literature prize and for the Seamus Heaney First Collection award. A former Writer-in-residence for the RSC, Malika is currently the Cultural Fellow at Leeds University. She is passionate about the Carnival culture of her native Guyana and frequently attends carnivals around the world. Malika is a fellow of the Complete Works Poetry, an organisation promoting quality and diversity in UK poetry. www.thecompleteworks.net
Leon is a world renowned Latin dancer, teacher and choreographer. He formed his own company, ‘The Project’ which has performed around the world. He reached the final of the popular television series, ‘Got to Dance’ seen by millions with an innovative combination of Latin and Contemporary dance. Leon is from Trinidad and shares Malika’s love of carnival culture. www.leonrose.com
Karen’s poetry collection, ‘An Aviary of Small Birds’ (Oxford Carcanet) was published to wide acclaim and she was nominated for both the Forward and Aldeburgh first collection prizes. She is currently completing a PhD at Royal Holloway and has held a wide number of residencies around the world. Karen is also a fellow of the Complete Works poetry. http://mccarthywoolf.com
Ella is an internationally known dancer and choreographer who is an expert in a wide range of different dance forms. She was a soloist for the Russell Maliphant dance company in Rodin at Sadler’s Wells, earning glowing reviews. She is also a frequent performer at the UK’s best known hip hop event, Breakin’ Convention and has been elected a Rio Queen of Samba. She is probably one of the only dancers in the world to have had such success in these different forms. In 2006 Ella founded an all female dance company, ‘Element Arts’, and is also a well respected teacher. http://ellamesma.co.uk/
Kayo is a poet who has had exceptional success before reaching the age of 30. He won the Geoffrey Dearmer prize, was shortlisted for the African Brunel poetry prize and represented his country, Zambia, at the Southbank’s Poetry Parnassus. One of the youngest poets to represent their country of origin. His debut pamphlet, ‘Some Bright Elegance’ was published by Salt. Kayo is also a musician (hip-hop) and is a gifted (self-taught) dancer. https://kchingonyi.wordpress.com
Sean has worked across various genres and industry segments including, contemporary, commercial, hip hop theatre and musical theatre.
He was the recipient of the Trailblazers Award (2008) by the Association of Dance of the African Diaspora ADAD, Marion North Choreographer Mentorship Award – Trinity-Laban Conservatoire(2009) and has been a temporary resident artist in partnership with State Of Emergency Ltd and The Bernie Grant Arts Centre (2007).His hcoreography has been staged at Sadler’s Wells, The Place and the Southbank, to name a few. http://seangraham.co.uk/Commissions/dancer.html
Nathalie has been working to promote diversity, quality and innovation in British art for 15 years. She is the Director of the Complete Works Poetry, an organisation which has helped raise the level of diversity in British poetry by 800%: a significant change in the landscape. During her research for a PhD on Argentinian poets, Nathalie became distracted and then obsessed with tango dance which became a significant section of her doctoral thesis. This passion led her to pursue other dance forms over the next 15 years, including salsa, and she is currently training in contemporary dance and circus acrobatics. She has also worked developing dancers/choreographers and companies and curated several dance events. During the last round of The Complete Works, Nathalie decided to pursue a long held dream: to combine her twin passions for dance and poetry. This led to two incredibly successful performances at the Southbank with collaborative pieces with Sean Graham (dancer) and Kayo Chingonyi (poet) as well as Ella Mesma (dancer) and Warsan Shire (poet). Dancing Words is a project aiming to take these collaborations further and working with new poets and dancers to explore how the complexity and intimacy of page poetry can be brought to the stage.