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Nejla Yatkin Unveils Ouroboros: A Transformative Dance-Theatre Performance for International Women’s Day

photos by Enki Andrews

Chicago, Illinois – Nejla Yatkin, a Guggenheim Fellow, choreographer, and global artist, is set to mesmerize audiences with the world premiere of “Ouroboros,” an interactive, evening-length solo dance-theatre performance. In celebration of International Women’s Day, this transformative journey will unfold on Friday–Sunday, March 8–10, 2024, at 7 p.m. at Links Hall, 3111 N. Western Avenue, Chicago.

A Symbolic Exploration: Ouroboros and Feminine Power

“Ouroboros” draws inspiration from the ancient snake dances of the Middle East, crafting a narrative around the powerful symbol of Ouroboros. This symbol, representing the unity in all things and the cyclical nature of existence, becomes the focal point of a performance that promises to be immersive and profound.

Nejla Yatkin, with her nomadic ancestry as a guiding force, has chosen to present “Ouroboros” in the round. The performance incorporates an array of elements, including original composition, multiple languages (English, German, Turkish, movement, and ASL), live music, and a fusion of dance styles that encompass both contemporary and Middle Eastern dance. This unique blend mirrors a nomadic gathering, inviting active audience participation in a journey of memory, place, and paradoxes.

Honoring the Sacred Thread of the Feminine

Yatkin emphasizes the profound significance of gathering in a circle, stating, “Every time we come together in a circle, we heal the sacred thread of the feminine.” In a world where feminine power, expression, and wisdom have historically faced suppression, dismissal, and disrespect, “Ouroboros” becomes a poignant exploration of reclaiming and honoring the sacred feminine. The performance serves as a means to express wisdom, share voices, connect with sensuality, and ultimately heal the sacred thread of the feminine.

Moreover, “Ouroboros” delves into the essence of dance, tracing it back to its roots inspired by nature. Yatkin reflects on the origins of dance as a tool for understanding ourselves and the world by observing, mirroring, and imitating the natural world around us.

A Nomadic Journey of Unity and Expression

As the performance unfolds, audiences can expect to be transported on a nomadic journey that celebrates unity, expression, and the rediscovery of the original power of dance. “Ouroboros” becomes a canvas where the rich tapestry of feminine strength is interwoven with elements of dance, language, and music.

Nejla Yatkin’s creative vision comes to life in this one-of-a-kind performance, offering a space for reflection, connection, and celebration of International Women’s Day.

For those seeking an immersive and transformative experience, “Ouroboros” at Links Hall is a must-attend event that promises to leave a lasting impression on the soul.

Nejla Yatkin’s “Ouroboros” is not only a solo journey but a collaborative endeavor featuring a team of exceptionally talented individuals. The creative synergy is heightened with contributions from costume designer Katrin Schnabl, composer Shamou, lighting designer Giau Truong, set designer Delena Bradley, sound designer Sathapat Sangsuwan, deaf artist Susan Elizabeth Rangel, and dramaturg Joanna Furnans. Together, they form a collective force that enhances the immersive and multidimensional nature of the performance.

Creative Process and Residencies

The genesis of “Ouroboros” dates back to 2021 when Yatkin embarked on its creation. Residencies through the Morrison-Shearer Foundation at Ragdale and Links Hall provided crucial support for the development of this unique piece. In 2022, a preview of the work took place at Links Hall, setting the stage for a return in February 2024 for a technical residency supported by a National Dance Award grant.

Co-Commissioning and Future Tour

“Ouroboros” is co-commissioned by Dance Complex Boston, Art2Action Tampa, and MECA in Houston, highlighting its broad appeal and significance. Nejla Yatkin has ambitious plans for the future, intending to bring the performance to Boston, Tampa, Houston, and Washington DC in 2025. This expansive tour speaks to the universal themes explored in “Ouroboros” and its potential to resonate with audiences across diverse communities.

World Premiere Details and Ticket Information

The world premiere of “Ouroboros” is scheduled for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, March 8, 9, and 10, 2024, at 7 p.m. at Links Hall, 3111 N. Western Avenue, Chicago. Tickets are priced between $16 and $42, offering a range of options for attendees to experience this transformative performance. For specific dates and ticket purchase, visit Links Hall’s event page:

About Nejla Yatkin: A Visionary Artist

A Guggenheim Fellow in choreography for 2023, Nejla Yatkin’s artistic vision is deeply rooted in her Turkish and Armenian heritage, combined with the nomadic traditions of her ancestors. Acknowledged by The New York Times as a “magician, telling tales and creating worlds,” Yatkin’s work transcends traditional boundaries, weaving personal histories and universal stories. Her interdisciplinary approach to dance-making, involving film, augmented reality, and more, has earned her recognition and accolades, including Dance Magazine’s Top 25 To Watch, the Princess Grace Fellowship, and the 3Arts Award Foundation, among others.

Support and Acknowledgments

“Ouroboros” has received generous support, including a Links Hall Co-Commissioning Fellowship, a Sybil Shearer Fellowship Award from the Morrison-Shearer Foundation, a Finalist Grant from the National Dance Project, DCASE Esteemed Artist Award, and support from DANK Haus. Additionally, the performance is a National Performance Network Creation & Development Fund Project, co-commissioned by MECA, Art2Action, Dance Complex, and NPN. Funding from the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, has played a pivotal role in bringing “Ouroboros” to life.

For additional information and updates, please visit Nejla Yatkin’s official website.

As “Ouroboros” prepares to make its mark on the world, audiences can anticipate an enriching experience that transcends the boundaries of traditional performance art. Join Nejla Yatkin in this celebration of International Women’s Day and embark on a transformative journey of unity, expression, and the timeless power of the feminine spirit.

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