I grew up in rural Nova Scotia in a place few have heard of which happens to have the highest tides in the world. I lived in an alternative community without electricity, television or computer and my neighbour lived up a tree. I started dancing in the forest, on beaches and in my living room listening to Cindy Lauper, Madonna and the Wizard of Oz soundtrack. I believed I could fly and spent time jumping off high places whilst flapping my arms, fast. I got good at falling. I performed my first solo to Rockin’ Robin (Michael Jackson) which I choreographed myself (despite not knowing what choreography was back in 1988). My choreographic hero is Crystal Pite. My family is my anchor point.
My formative years were spent playing in the mud, climbing trees, and rocks and frolicking through fields of wild flowers or watching the waves crash violently into the cliffs. I loved watching the landscape chip away and gradually change shape over time.
Music is fundamental to my creative instinct.
I am fascinated by how intelligent bodies articulate emotions that elude words.
It feels like the boldness, vitality and power of the Bay of Fundy, where I grew up, somehow crept into my bones and when I make work, that force wants to come out to play.
Eleesha Drennan is an award winning choreographer and dance artist based in London, She is recipient of the prestigious Sky Academy Arts scholarship award which launched the formation of Eleesha Drennan Dance in 2014.
Following her training at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance and McMahon School of Ballet in Leeds, Eleesha began her choreographic career while dancing for National Dance Company Wales (2004-2013). Eleesha made multiple works with the company and was House Choreographer 2011-2013.
Eleesha received first prize for her solo performance of Whiskers at the International Solo Dance Theatre Festival, Stuttgart 2012 and was awarded the Sky Academy Arts Scholarship in 2014 for the creation of Channel Rose, supported by mentorship from Wayne McGregor. Channel Rose was performed to live music featuring a new composition by Mark Bowden (British Composer Award 2016).
Previous choreographic commissions include: National Dance Company Wales, Studio Wayne McGregor, The Great Masked Ball by The Lost Estate, Vanara, The Musical, The Place, EDge (London Contemporary Dance School), London College of Fashion, Grace & Growl Dance Company, Maiden Voyage Dance Company, Selfridges, Intoto (London Studio Centre), Fertile Ground, National Youth Dance Wales, RDC Youth, Mathew Herbert Ron Arad’s Curtain Call at The Roundhouse, London.
As a performer, Eleesha has worked with internationally renowned choreographers including Ohad Naharin, Christopher Bruce, Itzik Galili, Nigel Charnock, Stephen Shropshire, Stephen Petronio, Angelin Preljocaj, Andonis Foniadakis and Stijn Celis. Eleesha performed in Betrayal: A Polyphonic Crime Drama by I Fagiolini produced by The Barbican. She has worked with Gwyn Emberton Dance and continually gains valuable professional development from Kerry Nicholls Dance through the Performance Mentoring Programme and master classes.
Eleesha has taught professional level technique classes for many organisations including The Place, Greenwich Dance, Trip Space, Open classes at The Lodge, Rambert School, Northern School of Contemporary Dance, and National Dance Company Wales.
Eleesha is passionate about making dance accessible to all ages, abilities and levels. She regularly teaches dance to members of Headway East London which supports adults living with long term brain injuries.
Eleesha is an Inaugural FreeSpace Artist at Studio Wayne McGregor. She is currently working on a new dance production from Eleesha Drennan Dance called, Infinite Glimpse, funded by Arts Council England, Sky Arts and the Arts Foundation (25th anniversary awarded artist) with a new score by Adelphoi Music.
‘Drennan’s aesthetic is very much her own. Her imagery is strong and original and elicits excellent performances from the dancers’ - Judith Mackrell, The Guardian on Channel Rose