Ballet Black: Like Water

Sun, 28 March 2021 19:00 – 20:00 BST

Like Water is a hypnotic short film that appropriately caps a year when Black Lives Matter became an irrepressible global movement

A screening of Ballet Black’s short film Like Water followed by a Q&A.

Choreographed by Ballet Black Senior Artist, Mthuthuzeli November, and filmed on a deserted beach, where gentle waves slowly fold and unfold on the sand, it features five Ballet Black dancers, whose deeply expressive movements respond to a powerful and poetic text by the young South African poet Asisipho Malunga.

The text, recited on voice over by November, delves into the ancestral memories of Black Africans, indelibly associated with slavery and transportation across the ocean, ‘the only connection with home being the ocean herself’.

“LIKE WATER acknowledges the resilience of our ancestors, passed down from generation to generation. A world unkind to our people, yet somehow we survive. A world that that has conditioned us to not see the beauty of our skin, hair, culture and our people. But like water we flow, like water we change shape. We remain resilient.”

The screening will be followed by a discussion with Ballet Black’s Founder, CEO and Artistic Director Cassa Pancho MBE; writer and poet Nandi Jola; poet Anesu Mtowa; and Sinead O’Sullivan, Senior Fellow, MIT and Senior Advisor, CDPB.


Cassa Pancho, MBE Of Trinidadian and British parents, Cassa trained at the Royal Academy of Dance, gaining a degree in classical ballet from Durham University. She is now the founder, CEO and Artistic Director of Ballet Black, which won both the Critics’ Circle National Dance Award for Outstanding Company in 2009 and Best Independent Company in 2012. Cassa was awarded an MBE in the 2013 New Year Honours List for Services to Classical Ballet and has served as a judge on the panels of both the Kenneth Macmillan Choreographic and BBC Young Dancer competitions. In 2015, Cassa was appointed a Patron of Central School of Ballet and in May 2016 became a vice president of The London Ballet Circle. In 2017, she joined the Ballet Now consortium in association with Birmingham Royal Ballet and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA).

Anesu Mtowa is 17 years old and attends Portadown College. She is a youth advisor to Terra Nova Productions, a multicultural theatre company in Northern Ireland. Anesu is in the Executive Committee for the Northern Ireland Youth Forum and she is elected International Relations Officer by the NIYF. She has her Poetry published by FourxFour Journal Poetry Ireland, her poem Where Am I From has been published by Unite the Union for Black History Month 2017 and the Northern Ireland Youth Forum. Anesu had been long-listed for the Seamus Heaney new writing, and 2 poems are published in the Community Arts Partnership Anthology Renaissance.

Nandi Jola, who is originally from South Africa, has been active in the NI arts community as a writer, artist and facilitator for more than ten years where she has been engaged in cultural awareness workshops, poetry, memoir and drama. She has been involved with the Irish Writers Centre XBorders project; Women Aloud and Terra Nova Productions, an arts organisation that creates intercultural productions with professional artists from around the world. Her one woman play ‘The Journey’ debut at the International Literature Festival Dublin 22 October 2020.

Sinead O’Sullivan is a Senior Fellow at MIT, a former Sainsbury Management Fellow at Harvard Business School and an advisor for the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building.

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