Yasmeen Godder in 13 questions


Born in Jerusalem,
she grew up in New York.

Yasmeen Godder is currently considered one of the most dynamic
choreographers of Israeli contemporary dance. In her second time in Greece, she is presenting to the Greek audience Love Fire, a work with a very personal approach to the world of waltz. She has said that waltz as music, do not really touch her and that was exactly the challenge for her in Love Fire, to find the way that she could “connect” to this kind of music.

1. Key words of “Love Fire” 

Romanticism, loose control, animalistic, gender roles, connection, disconnection, cultural expectation, visual associations, passion, connectivity, performance, character shifts, humour.

2. Waltz : the first words or images that come to your mind

The first images were of course the grand ballrooms, with male and female couples turning with big long flowing dresses. A kind of European sense of “civility” and grandeur. But this exact image is what I couldn’t connect to, and I didn’t feel comfortable with, and therefore it drew me to begin working with listening to the music, and commit to trying to  finding my own “version” and understanding of it. While I was aware of this music’s history and overuse, I tried to find my own specific sensibility of influenced by the Middle East, contemporary culture, and personal associations.

3. Dance “dialogues” in your works, with….

I believe that my work is in dialogue with cultural questions in general such as what is high culture? And what is low culture? It dialogues with visual arts, with films, and fashion and also with performance as an art form which needs to be challenged, questioned and played with.

4. An element that always exists in your works

I think that one thing which is always present in a strong way in my work, is the need to deal with human emotion, its contradictions, its conscious and unconscious expression, its impact on the body, the face and the voice, as it comes into play in social expectation and the different and sometimes contradicting cultural reading of it.

5. Your relation with other Αrts besides Dance

In Love Fire in particular I am working with the visual artist Yochai Matos, who is known for his guerrilla art in Tel-Aviv alongside gallery exhibition of florescent installations and is responding as a performance and visual artist to the choreography at the end of the work. He enters as kind of version of himself and physically responds to and shifts the space, using the dancers and all the leftovers from the work to create an installation which is his take in regards to romanticism. Also, I often enjoy collaborating with artists from different fields, to find an interesting and fertile dialogue, which furthers my understanding of what I do.

6. A choreography that you consider a masterpiece of art

Fase by Anna Teresa de Keersmaeker

7. A favorite dance personality

The Portugese Vera Mantero, whom I haven’t met in years, is someone I am fascinated by as a performer and has impacted me in my beginning as a choreographer.

8. An Artist is for you…

Someone who has the need to express something from themselves through a medium.

9. Most significant moment of your artistic career

I am not sure if this is the “most significant” but in 2008 I was invited in Pina Bausch’s festival to perform my work “I’m Mean, I
“, in which I was dancing. Being invited by her, meeting her in person and having her see my work and respond so strongly to it , it was an extremely important and personally meaningful moment in my life.

10. Sources of inspiration

I am inspired by everything in particular visual art, film and the people I work with.

11. What makes your personality “blossom”

Endless curiosity, the constant need to explore, feel and be challenged.

12. What disappoints you more today

I am disappointed when I feel that a potential for someone which could be so wonderful and have a positive impact socially, politically and artistically, is made not possible by the narrow vision of people with power.

13. A place, or Αrt Center you frequent mostly lately

Most recently I performed at the Kitchen in NYC. This is a theater, which also has a gallery, and has multi-disciplinary programming that invited cutting edge theater, performance, music and dance. It is a beautiful, originally industrial black box, with a good size audience, and this was my third time performing. I love this space both as a spectator and a performer.

info :
“Love Fire” – 27 & 28 November 2010 │206, Piraeus Str. (near Chamosternas Str.) Tavros, Athens 177 78, Tel.: +30 210
341 8550   |  20:30  |  Tickets  €20  (Piraeus 206, Tavros – Mon-Fri 11:00 – 14:00)