Choreographer Nejla Yatkin and Oasis


                                                                                                                                         February 15, 2012

        Contact: Carolyn Kamrath



Nejla Y. Yatkin Examines
Multiple Realities of the Middle East

Choreographer Nejla Y. Yatkin is bringing her latest work entitled Oasis: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about the Middle East but Were Afraid to Dance in a preview performance to Dance Place in Washington, DC on Saturday, March 24 at 8pm and Sunday, March 25 at 7pm.

This new piece for 7 dancer is an evening length multi media dance theatre work conceived and choreographed by Nejla Yatkin with original music composed by Iranian American composer Shamou and Video Design by Patrick Lovejoy. Oasis is centered on a juxtaposition between the desert and the oasis. Similar to mystical realism in literature the piece exists in two realities – magical elements blend seamlessly with the real world meaning that the  “real” and the “fantastic” exist in the same stream of thought.

Through the prism of desert/oasis and magical/real, the piece explores issues of identity, veiling, torture and spirituality moving through what is familiar; what is imagined or mythical, what is actual; what is out of the Middle East and what is inside it. The desert can be experienced as beautiful and exotic even as it is harsh and potentially lethal. The Oasis is an almost dreamlike element, just the idea of which sustains life–even in its most vulnerable state.

Against/with/for one another the two exist, in tension as well as in tandem- moving back and forth.

Oasis: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about the Middle East but Were Afraid to Dance by Nejla Y. Yatkin is a National Performance Network (NPN) Creation Fund Project co-commissioned in partnership with Dance Place, Bates Dance Festival and NPN as well as the Forth Fund program supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and NPN. The Creation Fund is supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Ford Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts (a federal agency). For more information:, this project is in part supported by the University of Notre Dame and the Illinois Arts Council. This engagement of NY2Dance is a DC Performing Arts Presenters Initiative project, made possible through funding by Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, with support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities.

About NY2Dance

NY2Dance was formed in 2000 by dancer and choreographer Nejla Y. Yatkin in Washington, DC. NY2Dance is the vehicle for Ms.Yatkins vision to use dance in exploration of the human experience through movement. The company’s mission is to: 1) create works that reflect the complexity of human existence, that tap the essence of what is common within all humanity and to embrace spirituality as a guiding force, a point of communication as well as reflection; 2) to collaborate with other artists from various disciplines from around the world; and 3) to preserve the works of master choreographers. Toward these ends, Ms. Yatkin is in the process of synthesizing the diverse techniques that she has been exposed to throughout her life into her own style of dance, entitled MOZAIK. For more information please visit

About Nejla Y. Yatkin

Nejla Y. Yatkin is 2011 National Performance Network Creation Fund recipient, a 2008 Princess Grace Choreography Fellow (awarded by the Princess Grace Foundation in New York City) and an Artist in Residence at the University of Notre Dame. In her choreography, she explores the beauty as well as complexity of memory, migration, transformation, identity and multiculturalism through movement. This is achieved by drawing upon diverse traditions of dance, cultures and medium as well as utilizing subjects that are at once universal and timeless. Inspired by Martha Graham, Mary Wigman, Susanne Linke and other great female choreographers, in 2000 Ms. Yatkin began choreographing solo works for herself after dancing with several companies in Germany and the USA for over 10 years. She then moved to create larger works on other bodies. To date, she has performed in 25 countries and 75 cities around the world and has choreographed on the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble, Dallas Black Dance Theatre, the Washington Ballet and The Maryland Dance Ensemble as well as the Baltimore Ballet. A recipient of many awards and honors, Ms. Yatkin has received the DC Mayors Arts Award for Outstanding Emerging Artist, 6 Metro DC Dance Awards, a 2008 Princess Grace Choreography Award, a 2009 Princess Grace Special Project Award, 4 Artist Fellowship Awards from the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities for her excellence in Dance and Choreography as well as she was selected as one of Dance Magazine’s “Top 25 To Watch.” Nejla Y. Yatkin has been supported by the National Performance Network, La RED, D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities (an agency of the National Endowment for the Arts), the German Embassy, The American Embassy, University of Maryland, the Goethe Institut NY, US International Artists, University of Notre Dame, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Princess Grace Foundation, the Historical Dance Foundation and the Illinois Council for the Arts.

About Shamou (Composer)

Shamou’s music career began at an early age in his native Iran where he also studied and performed with the Iranian National Ballet as a dancer.  He began his formal music training in Tehran, studied with teachers from the Royal College of Music in London and completed his training at Berklee College of Music in Boston earning a Bachelors Degree in Music.

As a composer Shamou has created original scores for new works by Sacramento Ballet, ODC Dance Jam, The Lab Project, Prometheus Dance Company, and for choreographers Stephan Koplowitz, Robert Moses, Judith Smith/AXIS, Jose Antonio Hevia, Rachel Boggia, Lucky Kele and Michel Kouakou during residencies at the Bates Dance Festival.  He has collaborated with emerging African choreographer’s during a choreographer’s workshop at Ecole des Sables, in Senegal.  He has created music for and performed in world premiere productions of “Gilgamesh” at the Heartwood Regional Theater Company, and in “Yemaya’s Belly” at the Portland Stage Company. He has created scores for Christal Brown’s Liquid Strength training video project and Cathy Young’s Jazz Pedagogy project.  He is creating an evening length score for choreographer Nejla Yatkin, Director of NY2Dance.

What: Nejla Y. Yatkin/NY2Dance

When: Saturday, March 24 at 8pm and Sunday, March 25 at 7pm

Where: Dance Place, 3225 8th Street NE, Washington DC 20017; two blocks from Redline Brookland/CUA Metro station; free and convenient parking

Tickets: $22 General Admission; $17 Dance Place Members, Seniors, Teachers Artists; $10 College Students; $8 for Children (17 & under)  

To purchase tickets visit or call (202) 269-1600

About Dance Place:

DC Wheel Productions, Inc. maintains its permanent arts center, Dance Place, which is the home base for its presentations, dance school and programs for youth. Dance Place was founded in 1978 as an educational and performing arts company that performed in the public schools throughout the greater DC metropolitan area.

The mission of Dance Place/DC Wheel Productions, Inc. is to transform lives through performing arts and creative education programs that inspire personal growth, professional success, physical wellness and community engagement.  The goals of the organization include operating a permanent arts center for live performances, classes and youth programs and serving diverse populations through a wide variety of truly affordable and free programs.  Dance Place engages in community building and revitalization through partnerships with local schools and community organizations.

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TATV is a proud media sponsor of  “Oasis: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about the Middle East but Were Afraid to Dance”, a NY2Dance Performance in DC.
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