is a German-Nigerian choreographer, dancer, filmmaker, curator, organizer, mentor and author. Drawing inspiration from her travels to and study in 40+ countries in Asia, Europe, the Caribbean, Africa, the Pacific, and the Americas, she is also a self-taught artist who developed her own performing language. It is her passion to work at the intersection of arts and civic education. She serves on the Board of the Hof Theater in Berlin Kreuzberg since 2005, is a Founding Member of the non-profit organization li:chi e.V. – transcultural network for art & civic education since 2010 and is a Co-Curator of Dance at the International Human Rights Art Festival. Chi was listed in the Dance Enthusiast's 2018 A to Z of People Who Power the Dance World.
Oxana Chi & Ensemble Xinren (meaning "New Human") was founded by Oxana Chi in 1991 in Berlin, Germany and moved to New York City in 2015. The repertoire comprises 19 dance productions, all of which are performed to music composed and interpreted live (or recorded) by outstanding contemporary musicians specially for the dance. The group grew from a national company sponsored by the German government to an internationally active company. Our tour history includes the USA, Finland, Turkey, Australia, Canada, India, France, Austria, Taiwan, England, Indonesia, Germany, Ghana, Martinique and Singapore.
Education & Training (selection)
1973 – 2020
Germany: Rudolf Steiner School, Bochum (Bothmer Gymnastic, Eurythmy and Theatre Technique) Weber Academie,
Düsseldorf (Gymnastic teacher training); Folkwang University of the Arts, Essen (European Stage dances); Center of Dance Berlin
(Ballet with Yvonne Vendrig); Tanzfabrik Center for Contemporary Dance (Cunningham Technique with Riki von Falken); Studio X Step, Berlin
(with Zadiel Sasmaz, Egyptian Raks Sharki).
NYC, USA: Cunningham Studio (with Merce Cunningham); The Klein School of Movement and Dance Studies (Klein Technique with Susan Klein); Mark Morris Dance Center (Afro-Caribbean Dance with Pat Hall).
Paris, France: Académie des Arts Chorégraphiques Cité Veron (Ballet with Antonio Alvarado), Centre national de la Danse (Ballet with Christina Kono).
Sydney, Australia: Jodi Rose Ballet at St. Columba Uniting Church, Sydney Dance Company (Ballet with Catherine Goss).
Indonesia: STSI University Of The Arts, Surakarta (Classical Javanese dance with Endang Subono)
Europe, Taiwan, India: Advanced continuous training in Eastern and Western dance styles, martial arts and healing methods including Tai Chi, Kungfu, Qigong and Yoga.
Oxana Chi was in the first historical cohort of the AIRspace Grant for Performing Artists at Abrons Art Center, NYC (2017-2018). She is grateful for a long Studio Space Grant at the former Community Center Naunynritze in Berlin (2005-2015). Other residencies include: Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning, Queens, NY (February 2018); shared Studio Space with painter Katja van Zoest at the Cité des Arts in Paris, in cooperation with the Centre National de la Danse and the Foundation Hessische Kultur Stiftung (2001); Space and Funding Grant Residency at former Cultural Center/Theater Kulturhaus Parkhaus, Treptow Berlin (1995) and collaborative residencies at La Maison rouge: Maison des Arts in Martinique (first in 2014 and again in January 2019).
2018 feelingJAZZ (25 min., work in progress)
2016 Psyche (60 min., work in progress)
2014 The Journey (12 min.)
2014 Dream of a Sunrise (6 min.)
2012 Killjoy (10 min.) Commissioned by Professor Lann Hornscheidt, Humboldt-University for the International Symposium "Transforming Politics"
2012 I step on air (35 min.) Commissioned by Dr. Natasha Kelly, Humboldt-University for the May-Ayim-seminar
2012 Neferet iti (35 min.)
2011 Tanz auf der Stelle (60 min.)
2008 Through Gardens (Durch Gärten) 60 min.)
2008 Oxana Meets Martin High de Prime (30 min.)
2006 Zéro, zero, zero II (60 min.)
2006 Der Schein trügt / Appearances are deceiving (60 min.)
2001 Zéro, zéro, zéro (60 min.)
1999 All kind of wild style (35 min.)
1998 Improvisation series Vent de rêves (Dream winds) (45 min.)
1997 Coco Mopiheici (70 min.)
1996 The Transformation (Die Verwandlung) (60 min.)
1995 New York Short Stories (60 min.)
1993 Senhora Pacival (60 min.)
1993 Lilith (60 min.)
1992 Time Freedom (Zeitfreiheit) (60 min.)
1991 Peace Spirit (Ruhegeist) (60 min.)
Tour History (selection)
Based in NYC since 2015, the company presented work in North America at:
NYU Tisch School Of The Arts, Jack Crystal Theater; Dixon Place; Abrons Arts Center; CUNY BMCC; Movement Research @ Judson Church; Moving Archives Conference at The Center for the Humanities, CUNY Graduate Center, Martin E. Segal Theatre; Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance (BAAD!); La MaMa; LAVA Studio; Performance Project @ University Settlement; Triskelion Arts; Center for Performance Research; Wow Café Theater, Playroom Theatre, Rutgers University Camden; The Wild Project; Cheikh Anta Diop International Conference Philadelphia; International Human Rights Art Festival.
A 2018 highlight was the invitation to be a keynote performer with I Step On Air together with her collaborator Dr. Layla Zami at the University of Toronto, School of Performing Arts, Robert Gill Theatre in the realm of the BGHRA Conference.
In Berlin, Oxana Chi performed at: Radialsystem V, Hebbel am Ufer Theater (HAU), Ballhaus Naunyn Theater, Grimm-Zentrum-Auditorium at Humboldt University, Freiraum at Technical University, Theaterhaus Mitte, Werkstatt der Kulturen Theater, Hoftheater Kreuzberg, Rroma Aether Klub Theater Berlin, Black History Month at Südblock; Haus der Demokratie und Menschenrechte Berlin, Brotfabrik, HCB, Nacht und Nebel Festival at Nicodemus Church among others. The company toured throughout Germany upon invitations by universities, festivals and theaters such as: Jüdische Musik- und Theaterwoche Dresden (Jewish Music and Theater Festival), Mainz University, Bielefeld University, DansArt Bielefeld Biennale, Festival Homestory Deutschland at Westwerk Hamburg; DAGESH Kunstlab at Schloß Rheinsberg (Castle Stage).
In France, Chi performed at: Maison-Heinrich-Heine, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Festivals Rencontres d'Automne at Centre Culturel Franco- Japonais, Cabaret Sauvage (Parc de la Villette), Le Divan du Monde, Le Dansoir Karine Saporta, Théâtre de Belleville and the Symposium Atelier de la Danse "Traversées" held in the realm of the Cannes Festival de Danse.
The international tour history of the company also includes following events and venues:
Solo International Performance Arts Festival (Surakarta); International Symposium Writing Women's Lives at Yeditepe University (Istanbul); New Delhi International Queer Theatre & Film Festival at NCUI Auditorium & Convention Centre; ICTM UNESCO Symposium on African Music Scholarship in the 21st Century: Challenges and Directions at the University of Ghana, School of Performing Arts; Aliwon Arts Center Singapore; Taipei City Youth Development Office Auditorium; 6th Biennal Network Conference on Afro-Europeans at Tampere University (Finland); Archives Matter Conference at Goldsmith University (London).
Before deciding to focus on producing and performing her own work, Oxana Chi has been engaged in several productions. Notable ones include performances at the Berlin Academy of Arts (Akademie der Künste), in the dance-theater pieces Nur die eine Nacht and Purim by Daphne Chernobilsky and Robin Anne Bah in the realm of the 1993 Festival and Exhibition series on the "Jüdischer Kulturbund 1936" (Jewish Culture League). Oxana Chi also performed the role of the "Beauty" in the play Totenfloß (The Death Raft) written by Harald Müller and directed by Christian Pölzl at Theater Forum Stadtpark in Graz, Austria.
Multimedia & Film
Since 1995, Oxana Chi has added multimedia technology to her dance creation art. She produced several movement-centered
orientated videos and films in the categories of experimental film, installation video and art documentary. A milestone achievement
is the reception of the International Gold Award Filmmaker of Inspiration and the title of Ambassador of Peace
for her documentary Dancing Through Gardens, created in collaboration with Layla Zami. The movie also received the International
Award of Recognition in the category European Documentary at the Documentary and Short International Movie Festival in Jakarta
in 2016. The DVD now belongs to the collection of museums, libraries and archives across the world including: Israel Museum Jerusalem,
Amerika-Gedenk-Bibliothek Berlin (Central Library), Vienna Art History Museum (Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien); German Dance Archive Cologne
(Deutsches Tanzarchiv Köln) and is also included in several university curricula.
Dancing Through Gardens was shown and discussed at universities, festivals and event series at Columbia University, Bielefeld University Series on Gender, Power and Society Gesellschaft Macht Geschlecht, Cinema Bundesplatz Kino, Europa-University, Viadrina (Center for German-Jewish Literature and Cultural History, Exile and Migration), MLA International Symposium at Heinrich-Heine-University in Düsseldorf and most recently at Pratt Institute New York in the realm of International Education Week 2018.
Oxana Chi and Layla Zami have been appointed Curators of Dance at IHRAF in New York for 2019. They curated special performance events for Black History Month at Dixon Place Theatre (2018, 2017). Together, they also initiated and chaired the International Symposium-Festival Moving Memory at Technical University Berlin, in the realm of Berlin 2050 – Stadt der Zukunft (City of Future). Oxana Chi also initiated and curated the monthly Dance series TANZnews co-produced by and held at Werkstatt der Kulturen Theater, Berlin (2009-2010) as well as the Dance(a)Summer Festival (2012). She is also known for initiating and curating the annual interdisciplinary talk and performance series Salon Qi (2009-2017) in Berlin and in Paris in theaters, community centers and galleries.
Publications & Press
As an author, Oxana Chi published nonfiction essays and creative writing about dance with notable publishers
such as w_ortenundmeer and Orlanda Frauenverlag in Berlin, Germany.
As an editor, she published the bilingual exhibition catalogue Tanzende Erinnerungen (Dancing Memories) in collaboration with Galerie Gondwana (Berlin, 2011).
Her dance art was featured in daily and weekly newspapers: Zitty Berlin; Tip; TAZ Berlin; BZ Berlin; Neues Deutschland; Delhi Press; Jüdische Allgemeine; Jüdisches Berlin; Suara Merdeka; Jitu Surakarta; France-Antilles Martinique as well as in the magazines Nah & Fern Culture Magazine; AMINA; Berlinpoche magazine; Tanzraum Berlin; Bielefelder Spiegel; Madinin'Art; AVIVA Online Magazine to name a few.
Radio appearances include: RFI; Deutsche Welle; Martinique Première; Eezy FM; Deutschland Kulturradio.
The artist is very grateful for the review of her work written by Bessie-Award winner Eva Yaa Asantewaa (Infinite Body, Village Voice) and for the listing in the Dance Enthusiast's 2018 A-Z of People who Power the Dance World.
The company's work is discussed in academic and art books, and journal publications such as Neues Judentum, altes Erinnern (Hentrich & Hentrich – Berlin 2017); Postcolonial Queer Europe (Lambda Nordica, Uppsala University – Sweden 2017); Sichtbar_Unsichtbar (Transcript Verlag – Bielefeld 2015); The Living Archive - Kulturelle Produktionen und Räume, (Foundation Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung – Berlin 2013) and in the exhibition catalogue Tatjana Barbakoff: eine vergessene Tänzerin in Bildern und Dokumentaten (Freundeskreis Kulturbahnhof Eller e.V. – Düsseldorf 2009).
Most recently, Oxana Chi and Layla Zami's work is reviewed in the magazine TANZ – Zeitschrift für Ballett, Tanz und Performance (November 2018).
Teaching / Educator
1987-1991: Jazz Dance Community Class at the Education Center Auxilium Düsseldorf
1995-1997: Adjunct Faculty at Volkshochschule Schöneberg and Volkshochschule Königswusterhausen hired by the Berlin City Council
1991-2015: Dance Instructor at the community centers Schokosport Frauenzentrum (Women center); Community center Naunynritze, and the fitness studio Außer Atem Frauensport.
Course: Oxana Chi Technic, her own Fusion dance style, a mix of Jazz, Taichi, Yoga, Pilates, Fitness, and Ballet. Workshops and masterclasses by invitation around Berlin.
2008-2010: Dance instructor at two high schools, Gottfried-Keller Gymnasium and the Schiller Gymnasium Charlottenburg and at the JUKUZ Gérard Philipe Community Center (2010).
Since 2010: Workshop Facilitator in collaboration with Layla Zami: Moving Tongues, Speaking Bodies offered at Grimm-Zentrum-Auditorium, Humboldt-University; GLADT Summer School (Berlin Senate); xart_splitta association; Tapesh series at LeSMigras. A unique workshop concept using dance, writing, spoken words and acting together to empower various communities to overcome traumatic discrimination based on race, gender or sexuality.
The company has received funding from public and private institutions.
National and regional institutions: Berlin City Council for the Arts; French Ministry for Youth, Sports and Societal Cohesion (Envie d'Agir Program); Federal Agency for Civic Education; Berlin Regional Center for Civic Education; Fonds Soziokultur Bonn; Fond Darstellender Künste Bonn (Performing Arts Fonds); Förderband e.V Berlin.
Berlin Cultural Councils: Kulturamt Schöneberg – Tempelhof Berlin, Kulturbüro City West Charlottenburg – Wilmersdorf Berlin, Kulturamt Mitte Berlin, Kulturamt Treptow – Köpenick Berlin, Kulturamt Pankow Berlin, Kulturamt Steglitz Berlin, Kulturamt Kreuzberg Berlin.
European Union Community Funding Program for Berlin Boroughs: Soziale Stadt Fonds: QM Flughafenstr Berlin, QM Kottbusser Tor Berlin, QM Wrangelkiez Berlin, QM Körnerpark Berlin, Bürger Stiftung Neukölln Berlin, Aktionsfonds Vielfalt tut gut Berlin
Foundations: Fondation pour la Mémoire de la Shoah (FMS Paris), Zurückgeben Foundation for Jewish Women in Art and Science, Gerda Weiler Stiftung für feministische Frauenforschung Mechernich, Amadeu Antonio Stiftung Berlin, elledorado; Die Linke German Parliament Cultural Funding; Bildungswerk der Heinrich Böll Stiftung Berlin, Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung Berlin and private Sponsors.