Dancing Around the World

26 3Arts supporters
$6,827 raised of $5,000 goal
0 Days 0:00:00 LEFT
Funded on April 26, 2017
    • 137% contributed

My life and my art are about embodying the "fleeting moment" that is inherent to dance: the moment that makes people feel alive in the act of creativity. Two years ago I embarked on a journey of a lifetime with Dancing Around the World when I visited 19 countries to take dance to the people, but also to discover why people dance. In each location we created site-specific performances with local dancers to make it more accessible to people, and we documented the experience through short videos, interviews, and group workshops. Now that we are back in Chicago from that year-long journey, we are assembling this material into a complete documentary film in order to share what we have learned. In our travels to cities in Peru, Finland, Kenya, Japan, and many others, we witnessed the power of dance to unite people in very creative and human ways. This experience reaffirmed to me how important it is for humans to express themselves physically, emotionally, and mentally through dance. By creating this film, we want to share how dance affects everyday lives of people as well as how movement impacts and, in some cases, even saves our lives in profound ways.

About This Project

From April 2015 through April 2016, videographer Enki Andrews and I traveled to 19 countries with our Dancing Around The World project to take dance to the people. Throughout the journey, I taught local dancers a movement process that we used to create a site-specific performance within a public space or urban environment of their city. We also interviewed the dancers and collected information about what moves us all as humans.

In my lifetime of choreographing, teaching, and dancing, I have learned how beneficial dance is to human development. Dance sharpens the senses, enhances social intelligence, challenges the body and mind, and consequently reinvigorates our cognitive, physical, and social development. 

Dancing Around the World documents our tour through Colombia, Peru, Chile, El Salvador, Honduras, Finland, Germany, Turkey, Italy, France, Tunis, Kenya, Madagascar, India, Japan, Philippines, Taiwan, and Australia. We returned in May 2016 with culminating performances in Washington, D.C. and Reston, Virginia. 

Now that we are back in Chicago, we are in the process of creating a film that unites all of our footage and shares this story of how movement can be used as a vehicle to connect people from around the world. The film will include interviews poetically interwoven with studio practices, responses of participants, dance rehearsals, public performances, and other footage capturing the unique environments and cityscapes of 19 countries. The artistic approach of the film will utilize a combination of direct cinema and performative documentary combined with dance-on-camera techniques.

Dance is such an elusive and intangible art form. The minute the dance is performed it dies. As the late Merce Cunningham said: “You have to love dancing to stick to it. It gives you nothing back, no manuscripts to store away, no paintings to show on walls and maybe hang in museums, no poems to be printed and sold, nothing but that single fleeting moment when you feel alive.” And that "fleeting moment" that makes people feel alive is what interests me, that "fleeting moment" is what I want to capture and bring alive in this documentary through the stories and moving bodies of people around the world.

Thank yous

Contribute any amount or choose from the levels below.

  • $25
    Personal thank you on social media ($25.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $50
    Your name acknowledged in the film credits ($50.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $100
    All of the above, plus a signed poster by Nejla Yatkin from our Paris shoot ($80.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $500
    All of the above, plus a private dance lesson with Nejla Yatkin via skype or a private photo shoot with Enki Andrews ($350.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $1000
    All of the above, plus a private preview screening of the film ($750.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $2000
    All of the above, plus a private home-cooked dinner by artists in artists' home. ($1650.00 is tax deductible.)

Nejla Yatkin

Described by the New York Times as "a magician, telling tales and creating worlds" and "a fierce and supple performer," Chicago-based choreographer Nejla Yatkin travels around the globe inspiring empathic connection between people and their environments. She creates solos, choreographs …

View Nejla Yatkin's profile
  • Update 1: Thank you to our first supporter Charlie Sohne!
    Posted on March 27, 2017


    Update 2: Thank you for your donation Melissa Antonelli! So grateful to people supporting our film!
    Posted on March 28, 2017


    Update 3: Thank you Heike Bachmann for your support!! So excited about sharing this film with all of you soon.
    Posted on March 28, 2017


    Update 4: Thank you Carla Perlo. So wonderful to feel supported by the community of friends, family and art lovers! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!
    Posted on March 29, 2017


    Update 5: Thank you Lani Montreal for your donations. So happy to be supported by fellow artists.
    Posted on April 04, 2017


    Update 6: Thank you Murat Yatkin for your generous donation.
    Posted on April 04, 2017


    Update 7: Thank you Oz Sozen for your contribution to finish our film. Very grateful for friends like you.
    Posted on April 04, 2017


    Update 8: Thank you Lucy Phillips for donating and getting us to our 33% goal today. So excited we now got our match and are so close to the finishing line.. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!
    Posted on April 05, 2017


    Update 9: Thank you Stephanie Martinez for your support. It means so much to be supported by my fellow artists. So grateful for all the support1
    Posted on April 05, 2017


    Update 10: Thank you to Neslihan Berrais for getting is closer to the finishing line. So happy to for all the support by our friends and family.
    Posted on April 07, 2017


    Update 11: Thank you Scott Lundius and Mark Broomfield for your donations. We have now raised 96% of our goal. So excited to be almost to the finishing line of our goal. Can't wait to share the film with you all soon.
    Posted on April 10, 2017


    Update 12: Thank you Mary Andrews for taking us beyond our finishing line to 109% of our funding gaol. So grateful to be surrounded by a caring and encouraging community of friends and family.
    Posted on April 15, 2017


    Update 13: Thank you Melissa Young, Deborah Riley, Nel Shelby, Susan Manning, Anjal Chande and Scott Monett for your generous donation. We surpassed our goal and we are happy to share the results with you soon.
    Posted on April 25, 2017


    • Thank you to the following for contributing to 3Arts with the recommendation that we support this project.

    • Anonymous Supporter

    • Aglaia Benni

    • Melissa Antonelli

    • Heike Bachmann

    • Carla Perlo

    • Oz Sozen

    • Lani Montreal

    • Murat Yatkin

    • Mona Washington

    • Lucy Phillips

    • Stephanie Martiniez

    • Anonymous Supporter

    • Neslihan Berrais

    • Jon Satrom

    • Scott Lundius

    • mark broomfield

    • James Burks

    • Melissa Young

    • Mary Andrews


    • Nel Shelby

    • Susan Manning

    • Anjal Chande

    • Anonymous Supporter

    • Scott Monett

    • Anonymous Supporter

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 Additional support provided by: 

Department of Cultural Affairs logo  Illinois Arts Council