Nejla Yatkin’s Firebird Dance Parade

Photograph by Enki Andrews

Renowned choreographer Nejla Yatkin will surprise park visitors throughout Chicago with captivating pop-up performances of her interactive Firebird dances as part of the Chicago Park District’s Night Out in the Parks series. This free event will infatuate attendees with the transformative power of dance, coated by live music. For four weeks starting on Thursday, June 8th, Yatkin will present 16 dance meditations that inspire and deepen our relationship with nature.

The Meaning

The Firebird, also referred to as the Phoenix in Egyptian mythology, serves as a powerful symbol of hope and renewal. This ancient creature has long been associated with the concept of rebirth, rising from its own ashes to begin anew. Its enduring symbolism resonates deeply with the human experience. Serving as a constant source of inspiration and affirmation, this motif assists many during challenging times. Acting as a messenger between the Earth and Sky, the Firebird brings forth purification and fertility, leaving a trail of rejuvenation in its wake. 

Yatkin’s creative work has deep influence in her pastoral nomadic heritage, which reflects her choreographic tapestries. With a multicultural background, she weaves diverse influences into her dances, exploring multifaceted identities and connecting with communities worldwide. Her artistic journey has taken her across continents, allowing her to engage intimately with different cultures and collaborate on projects.

Firebird Workshops

In addition to the pop-up performances, Yatkin will lead free Firebird Workshops at four cultural centers: Indian Boundary, Lincoln Park Cultural Center, Ford Calumet Environmental Center, and Berger Mansion. These family-friendly workshops will happen every Wednesday before the park performances. Expect to learn bird-like movements like flocking, as well as melodic bird sounds. Visitors will practice breath and meditation techniques, and design personal costumes symbolizing the transformative journey of the Phoenix.

Both the park performances and workshops will encourage participants and wandering visitors to craft their own firebird costumes, sounds, and movements to showcase in the final Firebird Parade. The culminating event will take place on July 8th at 5pm at the Caracol Gathering Space in the Burnham Wildlife Corridor. The Firebird performance will be followed by a lively parade featuring dazzling costumes, infectious sounds, and enchanting dances!

For the full schedule and locations of the pop-up performances and workshops, click here!

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