Ouroboros by Nejla Yatkin

Event Type
Event Description

Nejla Yatkin, a Guggenheim Fellow choreographer and global artist, celebrates International Women’s Day with the world premiere of Ouroboros, an interactive, evening-length, solo dance-theatre performance that takes the audience on a transformative journey. The performance takes place Friday–Sunday, March 8–10, 2024 at 7 p.m. at Links Hall, 3111 N. Western Avenue, Chicago.

Ouroboros draws inspiration from the snake dances of the ancient lands of the Middle East and centers around the powerful symbol of Ouroboros, symbolizing the unity in all things and the cyclical nature of existence. Inspired by her nomadic ancestry, Yatkin has set the piece in the round and incorporates original composition, multiple languages (English, German, Turkish, movement and ASL), live music and a fusion of dance styles, including contemporary and Middle Eastern dance. Similar to a nomadic gathering, the performance weaves together and invites active audience participation in a journey of memory, place and paradoxes.

“Every time we come together in a circle, we heal the sacred thread of the feminine,” Yatkin said. “For millennia, feminine power, expression and wisdom have been suppressed, dismissed and disrespected. I feel every time we honor our body, express our wisdom, share our voice and connect with our sensuality, we heal the sacred thread of the feminine. This piece also is a way to reclaim the original power of dance, which was inspired by observing, mirroring and imitating nature to understand ourselves and the world around us.”

Collaborating with Yatkin are 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.

Yatkin began creating Ouroboros in 2021 with residencies through the Morrison-Shearer Foundation at Ragdale and Links Hall, where she previewed the work in 2022 and will return for a technical residency in February 2024 supported by a National Dance Award grant. Ouroboros is co-commissioned by Dance Complex Boston, Art2Action Tampa and MECA in Houston; Yatkin will bring the work to Boston, Tampa, Houston and Washington DC in 2025.


A 2023 Guggenheim Fellow in choreography, Nejla Yatkin hails from West Berlin, and her artistic vision is informed by her Turkish and Armenian heritage, as well as the nomadic traditions and poetics of her ancestors of interchanging places, races, rhythms and histories. Described by The New York Times as a “magician, telling tales and creating worlds,” Yatkin blends personal histories and universal stories in her performances, weaving together the past and present in a way that is both deeply moving and incredibly imaginative. In addition to her work in traditional theater and dance settings, Yatkin is highly respected for her interdisciplinary approach to dance-making, which includes film, augmented reality and more. She has been recognized with numerous grants and awards, including Dance Magazine’s Top 25 To Watch, the Princess Grace Fellowship, the Baryshnikov Art Center residency fellowship, the John F. Kennedy Center Local Dance commission, 3Arts Award Foundation, the Chicago Dancemakers Forum and the Illinois Arts Council.

Support for Ouroboros includes a Links Hall Co-Commissioning Fellowship, Sybil Shearer Fellowship Award from the Morrison-Shearer Foundation, Finalist Grant from the National Dance Project, DCASE Esteemed Artist Award and DANK Haus. Ouroboros is a National Performance Network Creation & Development Fund Project co-commissioned by MECA, Art2Action, Dance Complex and NPN. Ouroboros has been made possible by 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.

For more information visit www.ny2dance.com

Running Time
1 hour and 30 minutes
Dance Styles
Modern / Contemporary
Musical Theater


Links Hall

3111 N. Western Ave. at Constellation
Chicago, IL 60618
(773) 281-0824