Mika, director of ART BRASIL, is a musician and dance teacher working in performance arts in the UK since 2005. She set up the non-profit organisation in North Staffordshire to provide community music and dance activities for all ages, with a focus on supporting health and well-being. Mika is the lead music and dance artist for the organisation and employs a team of local supporting artists.
The first step in Mika’s performing arts journey was classical music, achieving grade 8 in her first instrument, cello, in high school. As a teen and young adult, Mika performed with various orchestras, ensembles and bands playing cello, flute, piano and singing. After graduating from university, she lived in Japan for 3 years, working with youth orchestras and teaching in schools. There, she also studied traditional Japanese music, specifically the koto harp, and was introduced to the world of Brazilian percussion and dance through capoeira training. This new love took her to Brazil for 6 months, in what would be the first of many study trips, and the start of a whole new journey.
Whilst undertaking further training in percussion and dance on her return to the UK, Mika worked for Stoke-on-Trent Music Service & the In Harmony Project, teaching strings in primary and secondary schools for 10 years. During that time she gradually transitioned from working full time as a classical instrumental teacher to a full time dance and community music teacher.
Mika regularly works with other UK based carnival arts organisations, artists and capoeira groups, and visits Brazil most years for continued professional development. She holds on to her classical roots through work with contemporary dance artists as an instrumentalist, playing for workshops, projects and performances. She is a resident musician for Restoke, a performance company that works in forgotten spaces around Stoke-on-Trent, whose large scale projects include ‘Palace’, ‘The Voyagers’ and ‘You Are Here’. She has also worked with contemporary dance company Ori Dance, providing solo musical accompaniment for their rural tour of ‘Tales of the Tides’, and with Welsh-Brazilian folkloric dance fusion company Cymru:Brasil.
15 years since it began, Mika’s organisation ART BRASIL is now a leading provider of community arts in North Staffordshire, bringing the benefits of music and dance to people of all ages, abilities and mobilities, and supporting a healthy active physical and social lifestyle.