Nejla Yasemin Yatkin and Enki Andrews


Nejla Y. Yatkin was a 2009 Special Project recipient of the Princess Grace Award, a 2008 Princess Grace Choreography Fellow (awarded by the Princess Grace Foundation in New YorkCity) and an Artist in Residence at the University of Notre Dame. From 2001 to 2008 she was atenured Professor at the University of Maryland, College Park. In her work Ms. Yatkin exploresthe beauty as well as complexity of memory, migration, transformation, identity andmulticulturalism through movement. This is achieved by drawing upon diverse traditions ofdance, cultures and medium as well as utilizing subjects that are at once universal and timeless.Ms. Yatkin has just finished presenting her critically acclaimed dance theatre piece Wallstories atthe Fringe NYC and the Chicago Fringe to mark the 50th Anniversary of building the BerlinWall. Wallstories is part of Ms Yatkin's ongoing Berlin Wall Project. The Berlin Wall Project is anew way to develop a work of choreography. It encompasses many elements to create more of amovement around a new work. Throughout the development of the piece, Nejla Yatkin heldworkshops, wrote a weekly blog, developed a short dance on camera piece and created a monthlydiscussion group around the Berlin Wall. The concert work was premiered in October 2009 atDance Place and then performed at the Kennedy-Center with a live broadcast that could beaccessed for free by anybody who had an internet connection. Additionally, the piece wastoured in Mexico and New York in 2010. Additionally, 2009/10, Ms.Yatkin has created a newwork inspired by the love poems of the great Persian poet Rumi (Jalal-al-Din) for the CleoParker Robinson Dance Ensemble. This work premiered in April at the Denver Center for thePerforming Arts and will be presented again in 2011.In 1993, Nejla Yatkin graduated from "Die Etage" a Performing Arts College in Berlin,Germany. Following this, she danced as a principal with numerous companies in Germany (Fountainhead Tanz Theater, Dance Butter Tokyo and Pyro Space Ballet [1992-1995]) as well asthe United States (Cleo Parker Robinson [1996-1999] and Dayton Contemporary DanceCompany [1999-2000]). She was critically acclaimed for her performance Stravinsky's Firebirdas "Firebird" with the Denver Symphony under the direction of Marion Alstop andchoreographed by Cleo Parker Robinson. During this time, Ms.Yatkin worked with such leadingchoreographers as Donald McKayle, Eleo Pomare, Anzu Furukawa, Katherine Dunham, and RonBrown among many others.In 2000, Prof. Yatkin began choreographing solo works for herself inspired by Martha Grahamand other great female choreographers who all started as soloists and later moved to choreographon companies. To date, she has choreographed on the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble,Dallas Black Dance Theatre, the Washington Ballet, The Maryland Dance Ensemble and theBaltimore Ballet. Her own solo work has toured the world: Austria, Brazil, Canada, Colombia,Germany, Guatemala, El Salvador, England, France, Honduras, Italy, Mexico, Panama, Russia,Scotland, Serbia, Santo Domingo, Taiwan, Ukraine, the United States and Yugoslavia.Additionally, the work has been performed in some excellent venues. For example, as a GuestChoreographer with the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Company, her work was commissionedand presented at Lincoln Center Out of Doors (2001) as well as the Joyce Theater (2003). Othervenues include Dance Place and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (Washington,D.C.), The Place in London, England, Metropolitano in Medellin, Colombia and the OscarNeumeyer Museum in Curitiba, Brazil, the National Theatre in Panama City among many others.The support for Nejla Yatkin's work has been consistent as well as high-quality. Since 2001, shehas been the recipient of four Artist Fellowships for her Excellence in Dance and Choreographyfrom the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities, an agency of the National Endowmentfor the Arts (2001, 2003, 2005, 2008), and a three-time recipient of the Creative Performing Artsgrant from the University of Maryland (2003, 2005, 2008). In 2002, she was awarded "LocalDance Commissioning Project" by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts tochoreograph a new multi-media solo work. The following year (2003), this work was chosen totour Brazil with a grant from Arts International and the National Performance Network. Laterstill, this work was shown in Siberia, Colombia and Canada as well as in India. In 2005, Ms.Yatkin was the recipient of the Creation Fund from the National Performance Network, DancePlace and Miami Dade Community College in order to create a new solo work entitled "De/Reconstructing Mata Hari." This won her critical claim in the New York Times and WashingtonPost and won her two Metro DC Dance Awards for Excellence in Performance andChoreography. Subsequently, the work toured in Maryland, Virginia, DC, New York, Florida andin three cities in Mexico as part of the International Festival of Taumaulipas as well as Istanbul,Turkey. In the summer 2007, Ms. Yatkin was one of the choreographers selected to be part of"Slow Dancing" exhibition by David Michalek at the Lincoln Center Festival as well as featuredin the silent movie "Louis" produced by Wynton Marsalis and directed by Dan Pritzker.To date, the response to Nejla Yatkin's work has been uniformly positive. The opinion of herwork is best summarized by Jennifer Dunning (of the New York Times): "Ms. Yatkin is amagician, telling tales and creating worlds with understated images and movement. She is aftermore than choreography." Thus far, Ms. Yatkin has received five Metro D.C. Dance Awards,including "Outstanding Individual Performance" (which was awarded twice), "Best ScenicDesign", "Best Multi-Media Performance" and "Best Overall Production." In 2005, she wasnamed as one of "Top 25 To Watch" by Dance Magazine and was given the award for"Outstanding Emerging Artist" by the D.C. Mayor's Arts Award Committee. For herchoreography, Ms. Yatkin was three times selected to be part of the adjudicated "MarylandChoreographer's Showcase" (2001, 2003, 2005). For the work created for the Washington Balletin 2008, she was a finalist for "Best New Work" in the Metro DC Dance Awards and Wallstoriescreated in 2009 was selected as one of Top 10 Dances of 2009 by the Washington Post as well asthis year for the award of "Overall Excellence in Dance" for the New York International FringeFestival 2011. In 2010, she was also awarded the Performing Americas Project from the NationalPerformance Network to tour in Panama, El Salvador and Honduras. This also led her to go backwith a Performing Americas Residency award to work with the artist in Tegucigalpa to create asite specific work entitled Bailando con Tegucigalpa. For 2011/12 season, she was awarded a cocommissionby the National Performance Network, Dance Place and the Bates Dance Festival tobe premiered in 2013.