Yasmeen Godder was born in Jerusalem in 1973 and moved with her family to New York City in 1984. Growing up in NY, Godder studied dance at the LaGuardia High School. for Performing Arts and the Martha Graham school, and was deeply connected to the punk scene in downtown Manhattan. Godder received her BFA from the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU while attending a variety of workshops and classes at Movement Research which have impacted her approach to dance making until today.  While still in school she began presenting her choreographic work at Downtown Arts Festival and Gowanus Arts Exchange. After completing her BFA she continued to work as an independent choreographer in NY, and was commissioned by Dance Theater Workshop’s Freshtracks and Splitstream Series, Dancing in the Streets, and the Kitchen. During this period she was a 1999-2000 Movement Research Artist in Residence.

In 1999 Godder was invited to present her solo, Aleena’s Wall, at the Gvanim (Shades in Dance) Festival at the Suzanne Dellal Center for Dance in Tel-Aviv.  The solo was well received and she was immediately commissioned to make a work for the HaRamat Masach (Curtain Up Festival), Israel’s leading festival for independent dance makers. Since 1999, Godder has been commissioned eight times by the Curtain Up Festival, supporting her continuing research and developing artistry. This continuous platform allowed Godder to establish her company which over the years has received local and international acclaim for the works’ depth, impact, and complexity.

In 2007 Godder opened her own studio in Jaffa, which has become a home for all of her activity and projects including creation processes and rehearsals, open classes and workshops for professionals and non-professionals, community exchanges, performances, and production and artistic support of young choreographers.

To date Godder has created nineteen evening-length works: Hall (2001), Sudden Birds (2002), Two Playful Pink (2003), Strawberry Cream and Gunpowder (2004), I’m Mean, I Am (2006), Singular Sensation (2008), Love Fire (2009), Storm End Come (2011) and See Her Change (2013). In 2014 she created two new works which deal with her own choreographic archive: Climax, commissioned by the Petach Tikva Museum of Art, a three-hour performance piece and Lie Like A Lion a solo work exploring the archive in her own body. In 2015 Godder created The Stereotypes Game, an interactive and dialogic performance for young audiences made up of excerpts from Godder’s repertoire, creating an active discussion about gender stereotypes. In May 2016 Godder premiered in Theatre Freiburg the work – Common Emotions, an artistic outcome of a year-long project involving dancers, scientists and people living with Parkinson’s disease, researching movement disorders. Another outcome of this project was the creation of Simple Action– a participatory choreographic action. In 2018 she created Demonstrate Restrainta duo with a vocal noise artist Tomer Damsky, responding to the shutting off of female voices in the context of Israeli male-dominated political and militant culture. 

Since early 2019, Godder has initiated the research project Practicing Empathy, out of which a series of outcomes have been created: performances, workshops, and events. Each of the outcomes is set to explore the notion of empathy through a variety of perspectives and approaches, attempting to look at what opens us up emotionally and how can we create new practices, rituals, songs, and choreographies, which may open up our ability to take in complexities without fear and distrust. This research has evolved into three works: Practicing Empathy#1 (2019 – a group creation), Practicing Empathy #2by2 (2020 – an interactive format for 2 performers and 2 audience members) and Practicing Empathy #3 (2021 – a solo for Godder)

In 2023, The Yasmeen Godder Company was commissioned by the Tel-Aviv Museum of Art to make S.O.S.- Songs of Sequence, the fourth chapter in Godder’s research. The extensive experience of working with an audience that Godder and her company have accumulated reaches its pinnacle in this durational work for 11 performers, in which visitors are welcome to join – as viewers, witnesses or active contributors, and participate in a joint voyage towards creating an ad-hoc, empathy-based community. 


In 2015 Godder founded “Moving Communities”– a community outreach initiative, inside the Yasmeen Godder Company, which places emphasis on opening the studio to varying populations and life experiences and sharing the medium of dance as a means of creating space for dialogue, empathy, joy, healing and social activism. “Moving Communities” includes weekly contemporary dance classes for people living with Parkinson’s disease, International Conferences, and commissions of mixed-ability performances. In 2020 a new initiative was added titled Na’ot Ma’ Ba’ad (Moving Together,נעות مع بعض ) – dance classes for Palestinian Arab and Jewish women living in Jaffa, in co-direction with the choreographer Nur Garabli. In 2022, Godder and Garabli established the Na’ot Ma’ Ba’ad Festival – a 3-day event for local women and girls in Arabic and Hebrew, incorporating workshops, artist talks, and dance performances at the Madel Arts Center in Jaffa. 

All of her works have been presented in Israel and at numerous venues throughout the world including: the Lincoln Center Festival, Sydney Opera House, Montpellier Danse, Tanz im August Festival, The Place, Tanzhaus NRW and Tokyo Festival, and many more.

In addition to creating for her company, Godder has been commissioned by the Batsheva Dance Company, Matanicola Dance Company, Theater Freiburg, and a creation for the London-based mixed ability Candoco Dance Company premiering in September 2017 at the Oriente Occidente Festival in Italy and in later at Sadler’s Wells.

Godder is the recipient of numerous awards including a 2001 New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Award for her work i feel funny today, presented at Dance Theater Workshop. Other awards include: the Israeli Ministry of Culture Award for Young Choreographer (2001, 2003); The Israeli Ministry of Culture Award for Best Small Ensemble in Dance (2003, 2009); The Tel Aviv Municipality Rosenblum Award for Excellence in the Performing Arts as “Promising Artist” (2004) and “Excellent Artist” (2009). Yasmeen was a Chosen Artist of the Israel Cultural Excellence Foundation (2004-09), and in 2005 she received the prestigious Michael Landau Prize for the Performing Arts from the Tel Aviv Municipality. In 2015, Godder received the Israeli Ministry of Culture Award for “Best Creation” for her work CLIMAX. And In 2017 Godder won the prestigious Shimon Peres Prize for having made an outstanding contribution to the shaping of German-Israeli relations in the interdisciplinary project “Disorder/Ha-fra-ah”, which brought together dancers, neurologists and people with Parkinson’s disease to work on the topic of movement.  And in 2018 Godder was chosen to be a Valeska Gert Guest Professor Fellowship for Dance And Performance at the Institut für Theaterwissenschaft (Drama department) at Freie Universität Berlin.  

Three books have been written about Godder’s work: Paolo Ruffini’s Yasmeen Godder (L’Epos, Italy, 2005), EXTREMUM-Reflection on the work of Yasmeen Godder (The Petach Tikva Museum of Arts and Asia Publications, 2014) and most recently Set in Motion Dance-Art-Community (The Petach Tikva Museum of Arts and Asia Publications, 2017). Godder and her creations have received a distinctive focus in three books on the international contemporary dance scene, among them in Rosita Boisseau’s Panorama de la Danse Contemporaine (100 Chorégraphes) and Norikoshi Takao’s Dance Like Nobody. (Tokyo, Japan, 2009) and Performing Care- New Perspectives on Socially Engaged Performance edited by Amanda Stuart Fisher and James Thompson (Manchester University Press, 2020)

The Company