Laila is a dance maker based in Bristol. Since 2005, she has been creating dance works, primarily for live performance, that toured across the UK and internationally.
Amongst others, Hold Everything Dear (2012), a piece for nine dancers and musicians, was performed across the UK and in France whilst Sense of Self (2008), a duet co-authored and performed with Mélanie Demers, toured the UK and travelled to Kenya, Italy, France and Canada.
Current work includes Edge and Shore, a collaboration with visual artist Helen Carnac commissioned by Siobhan Davies Dance and a new performance work, Countless Yellow Chairs, with composer Jules Maxwell. Laïla was also recently commissioned to create a new work for Skänes Dance Theatre, Malmö, Sweden, in 2017.
Laïla’s practice involves regular contributions to productions in opera, theatre and television. Movement credits include: Otello (Opera North), The Dance of Death (Donmar), Howard Goodall's Story of Music (BBC2), Aïda (Canadian Opera Company), All's Well that Ends Well (National Theatre) amongst others. As assistant to Wayne McGregor and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, she also worked at La Scala (Milan), Royal Ballet (London), Opéra de Paris and Lyric Opera (Chicago).
Laïla frequently works as an educator within the university and vocational sectors, with children, youth and community groups as well as with emerging artists and peers through commissioned work and the delivery of workshops, classes, talks and mentoring.
A recipient of a Rayne Fellowship for Choreographers in 2006, Laïla also was an Associate Artist at ROH2, Royal Opera House, between 2009 and 2012. She currently sits on Theatre Bristol's Board of Directors and is a trustee of The Wayne McGregor Foundation.
‘I always tell people how I came to dance quite by accident, following a friend into some ballet jazz lessons when I was eleven years old.
My mum told me this summer she had always felt a career in dance was written in the stars for me.
I’ll have to remind her of the audition I went to at L’École de Danse des Grands Ballets Canadiens when I was thirteen or fourteen. That day, in my purple unitard and my stiff white ballet shoes, I found out I didn’t know much about ballet at all.
Anyways, I carried on with this dancing lark and now, some thirty years later, or nearly, how glad I am that I did. Written in the stars or not.
I work in theatre (in the largest sense of the term) because, gently or brutally, it has the power to provoke us, to shake and shock us, to show us a different point of view, to make us dream, to reveal something of what it is to be human.
I make dance because it seems to me that movement, people moving and the experience of watching people move and the joining in the dance can move us. It can move us deeply. To action, to tears, to thought. It can take us to a place of solace or respite, a place of escape or one of connection.’