Yewande 103

Alexandrina founded her own organisation Yewande 103 in July 2020. She works with Executive Producer Nancy May Roberts on this company work. 

Compassion I Embodiment I Advocacy I Action

Compassionate, embodied advocacy in action through choreography, production, artist support and mental health discourse.

Our work firstly lives in our bodies. We language (choreograph, write, facilitate) ways of honouring lived experiences. We practice holding multiplicity and intersectionality by staying in creative processes.  Our form of embodied activism is responsive and adaptable rather than resting in specific genres; the breath of our practice sees us invested as much in discourse and organisational structures as choreographic or aesthetic enquiries.

Yewande 103 formalises the past 10+ years of Creative Director Alexandrina Hemsley’s work in the contemporary dance field as a choreographer, performer, writer, mentor and educator. ‘Yewande’ is Alexandrina’s middle name. It has been passed down the women in their family from their great-great-grandmother who ran away from slave traders in Nigeria. She hid, survived and lived until she was 103 years old. In Yoruba, Yewande means ‘mother has returned’. There are echoes of intergenerational, nurturing and survivorship within this name and family history, that speak to personal/ political lines of ancestry. This name also speaks to ways in which Alexandrina would like this company to hold others and uphold values of care and connection. 

Yewande 103 is a Black, disabled and survivor-led organisation formed in response to racial, ableist  and gender-based violences and biases, upholding white supremacy in the dance and wider cultural sectors.

Yewande Urban Dictionary: A term for the girl you wish you knew. The girl you would not pass up a chance to befriend. She is usually the cutest, weirdest, and most awesomest person you know.