YINKA ESI GRAVES
Yinka is a British Flamenco dancer. Her dance journey has taken her from ballet, jazz and afro-cuban dancing at a young age, to studying Flamenco in Spain in the world renowned school Amor de Dios with artists such as La Lupi, Manuel Reyes and Pepa Molina.
She has performed with Santiago de Cuba’s Folklore dance troupe, Ikache, and Cristobal Reyes’ Flamenco Company at The Royal Albert Hall and Teatro Calderon in Madrid. Since 2011 Yinka has been performing in tablaos and venues such as Candela (Madrid), Upstairs at Ronnie Scotts (London) and La Sala Zero (Seville).
Yinka’s work explores the links between flamenco and other forms of expression. She was invited to create and present new work at the Chale Wote Festival in Accra, Ghana in 2014. Yinka co-founded dotdotdot dance alongside two other flamenco dancers in 2014. The company was invited to curate and perform in an evening at the Lilian Baylis, Sadler's Wells as part of its Wild Card series for which Yinka choreographed ‘I come to my body as a question’ a collaboration with award winning spoken word artist Toni Stuart. Most recently the company featured this piece in SAMPLED 2017 festival performing it at Sadler’s Wells and The Lowry. In 2015 Yinka began working with former principal Alvin Ailey dancer Asha Thomas on CLAY. This show premiered at Châteauvallon in France, STUN in Manchester and Mes de Danza in Seville in the Autumn of 2016 and is to continue touring in 2017 -18.
Another aspect of Yinka’s work is centred around engaging young people from different backgrounds in dance and especially Flamenco. In 2012 Yinka developed an educational programme ‘Come Flamenco With Me’ which in 2014 was adapted for ‘My Europe’ a European Commission project. It now runs in London (Classically British), Manchester (Z-arts), Seville (Flamenquería) and Madrid (Amor de Dios).