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Photo by Camilla Greenwell

Flora Wellesley Wesley is a dance artist who lives in England and works freelance as a performer, choreographer and teacher.

During the COVID-19 lockdown, Flora has gently been experimenting with laughter exercises she came across with at London Clown School and more recently through Laughter Yoga to lift her spirits. She has started leading participatory sessions, Laugh Time with Floraon a near daily basis.

As a solo artist Flora makes bold, exuberant and intimate multimodal work. Between 2017-18 she developed the umbrella project The Weather Inside, creating a body of work – live performances, photographic portraits, films and writing – out of her interest in how seasonality, environment and mood interlink. She has a Selfie Dance series and a history orchestrating ensemble and solo improvisation performances in theatres, galleries and festivals, as well as community halls, gardens, pubs, shop windows and roof tops. Her work has been supported and programmed by Sadler’s Wells, DanceEast, Villa Lena Art Foundation, Chisenhale Dance Space, the Cuming Museum, the Wallace Collection and Coventry University.

Freelance projects have included: dancing for choreographers Simonetta Alessandri, Seke Chimutengwende, Last Yearz Interesting Negro, Fernanda Muñoz-Newsome, Florence Peake, Eva Recacha and Robbie Synge; working with visual artists Yelena Zhelezov, Ed Fornieles, William Hunt and Eddie Peake; appearing in films by Hugo Glendinning & Tilly Shiner, and Grace Schwindt, and live art works by Richard DeDomenici; acting in Lost Text/Found Space productions; and doing collaborative research with artists Kira O’Reilly, Guy Dartnell and Evy Jokhova.

Flora co-directs Nora (2014-present) with dancers Eleanor Sikorski and Stephanie McMann. As a trio they invite choreographers to create new work for them to perform and tour. To date they have worked with Liz Aggiss, Simon Tanguy, Jonathan Burrows and Matteo Fargion, Deborah Hay, and Eleanor Bauer. Nora is in the process of creating Nora Reels, a documentary about the often hidden work of performers, and NORA (the many)a film collaboration with Eleanor Bauer.

Between 2009-2013 Flora was one of eight artists that made up the editorial team of BELLYFLOP, an online performance magazine dedicated to reflecting on, documenting and intervening in the contemporary dance scene in London. She was also a member of Hiru Dance Organisation from 2008-12, creating ‘meanwhile dances’ The Cave and Lazy Susan, as well as The Public House, a pop up home for performance in Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre.

Flora currently represents independent dance artists on Equity Council (Choreographers’ seat) and is seeking re-election in June 2020. She has been working to improve and promote dance artists’ workers’ rights, conditions and pay since 2013 through grassroots activism and the campaign work of Equity Dance Committee. Flora is also a proud member of Chisenhale Dance Space.

Flora teaches dance, improvisation and laughter classes to both professional and non-professional performers and has led undergraduate and postgraduate student workshops at conservatoires and universities across the country.

To watch a short gestural portrait of Flora – one of a series of 52 Portraits by choreographer Jonathan Burrows, composer Matteo Fargion and video maker Hugo Glendinning – go here.

To view Flora’s video work, visit Vimeo.

Follow her on Instagram @florawellesleywesley and Twitter @FloraMWW

To contact her write to floramww[at]gmail.com

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Flora with Eleanor Sikorski performing ‘Eleanor And Flora Music’, made in collaboration with Jonathan Burrows & Matteo Fargion, 2015. Photo by Tristram Kenton.
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Flora, Eleanor Sikorski & Stephanie McMann, AKA Nora, performing ‘Where Home Is’ by Deborah Hay, 2018. Photo by Camilla Greenwell.
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‘Shade’, Tuscany, part of ‘The Weather Inside’ photo series. Photo by Evy Jokhova.

 

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Flora performing ‘Creating And Collapsing a Drama, or How It Must Feel To Be An Ill Dog Wearing One Of Those Plastic Head Funnels’ by Eddie Peake with Fernanda Muñoz-Newsome, Charlie Ashwell and Rosanna Ter-Berg at David Robert’s Art Foundation, 2012. Photo by Mark Blower.

 

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Flora performing in ‘Digging’ by Simon Tanguy, part of Nora Invites I, 2015. Photo by Camilla Greenwell.
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Hiru Dance members Eleanor Sikorski, Jamila Johnson-Small and Flora performing ‘Lazy Susan’ at Bermondsey Street Festival, 2010. Photo by Camilla Greenwell.
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A ‘Netball and Dance Club’ session (featuring dancers Stephanie McMann, Kirsty Arnold, Jessamin Landamore and Joelle Green) that Flora led while resident at The Albert meanwhile hub in Queen’s Park, 2012. Photo by Sam Coren.
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‘Shade’, Suffolk, part of ‘The Weather Inside’ photo series. Photo by Peter Aguilar.