With Turkish roots, Nejla is originally from Berlin, Germany. She received the Award for Overall Excellence in Choreography from the New York International Fringe Festival for 2012 and 2011. She was a recipient of the 2012 Forth Fund Award as well as was awarded the National Performance Network Creation Fund in 2011, a 2009 Special Project recipient of the Princess Grace Award, a 2008 Princess Grace Choreography Fellow (awarded by the Princess Grace Foundation in New York City). She was an Artist Resident at the University of Notre Dame from 2008 to 2012 and from 2001 to 2008 she was a tenured Professor at the University of Maryland, College Park. In her work 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. Her recent dances have been inspired by stories and events of significant places in the world. Such was the case with the Berlin Wall Project (a work exploring stories about the Wall going up, existing and coming down) and Dancing with Cities (a traveling site specific work around Urban sites), which traveled to Honduras, Panama, El Salvador, France, Germany, New York and now is going to go to Puerto Rico and Colombia in 2013 Her latest work entitled Oasis, Everything you ever wanted to know about the Middle East but were afraid to Dance is a full-length, multi-media dance theatre work inspired by the Middle East. Nejla has just finished previewing this new work to critical acclaim and it will premiere next year at the Bates Dance Festival and then go on tour nationally and internationally. Her previous project, a critically acclaimed dance theatre piece entitled Wallstories was performed in New York, DC, Chicago, Mexico for the 20th Anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Wallstories is part of her ongoing Berlin Wall Project. The Berlin Wall Project is a new way to develop a work of choreography. It encompasses many elements to create more of a movement around a new work. Throughout the development of the piece, she held workshops, wrote a weekly blog, developed a short dance on camera piece and created a monthly discussion group around the Berlin Wall. The concert work was premiered in October 2009 at Dance Place and then performed at the Kennedy-Center with a live broadcast that could be accessed for free by anybody who had an Internet connection. The piece was also presented in Mexico and New York in 2010.
Oasis is a new evening length multi-media dance theatre work conceived and choreographed by Nejla Yatkin for 7 dancers (Shay Bares, Sevin Ceviker, Ahmaud Culver, Rachel Holmes, Jean- Rene Homehr, Fadi Khoury, and Karina Lesko). The original music is composed ...