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SHADES by Esie Mensah

September 27-30

Mainspace Theatre



Esie Mensah
Esie Mensah
Esie Mensah, Percy Anane-Dwumfour, Miranda Liverpool, Tereka Tyler-Davis, Roney Lewis, Allyson Trunzer, Shakeil Rollock

Lighting Design: Steve Lucas
Costume Design: Alexandra Lord


General Admission - $35.00
Student/Senior/Arts Worker - $25.00

Show Times:

September 27 at 8:00pm Premiere
September 28 at 1:00pm Matinee
September 28 at 8:00pm
September 29 at 8:00pm
September 30 at 4:00pm Matinee

challenges the issues of discrimination by communities of color against themselves and examines a group mentality that has plagued countries for over four centuries. We see countless examples of the great lengths people around the world have taken to permanently alter their skin tone in the quest for a distorted beauty ideal; but what message does this send to the next generation of young boys and girls, and more importantly, why is this happening? What has been imbedded into our collective psyche that created an environment for us to believe these significant changes were beneficial?

We are saturated with images and ideas of the preferred body shape, hair texture, facial features, skin colour and shade; but Shadeism is an issue far beyond beauty - it lies within old ideals that fundamentally determine what we perceive as desirable.

Creator Esie Mensah and her cast examine the question of how our communities became fractured. How did we start to see our own brothers or sisters as inferior because of the shade of their skin? Throughout this performance, we hope to address the roots, realities and effects of Shadeism that will ultimately lead us towards a path of reconciliation and healing.

Media Inquiries:  
Ella Batten at ebatten(at)

Website: Esie Mensah Creations

Company Information

Esie Mensah dancer/choreographer/teacher/model was named 100 Black Women to watch in Canada in 2017, 2015 recipient of the Cultural Promotion award from the Ghanaian-Canadian Association, and 2014 Black Canadian Award Winner for Best Contemporary Dancer. Esie and her company The Black Stars were recently on stage with French Montana on Live with Kelly and Ryan in Niagara Falls. 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. She was the 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 productions; Shades of Blackness, Zayo and 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 One Dance UK 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 was the movement designer for 1837: Farmer’s Revolt directed by Philip Akin for the 57th season of Shaw Festival.



Shades- tile image: Dahlia Katz
Shades- banner image: Dahlia Katz


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