Throughout the month of June, 2023 Guggenheim Fellow Nejla Yatkin will surprise park visitors in nature with Firebird pop ups in different parks around the city in a sustainable relationship with nature and the natural habitat of the park.

In many myth and cultures, the Firebird (or in Egyptian myth its known as the Phoenix) is a messenger of hope and also considered to purify the land and waters and hence bestow fertility to where ever the Firebird visits. In addition, the mythical creature represents the union between the Earth and the Sky serving as the mediator and messenger between the two. The performer will dance 16 dance meditations to bring in hope and to celebrate the arrival of summer. At the end of each dance, park visitors will be invited to join in a collective bird movement meditation guided by Yatkin to prepare for the final Firebird parade. Before the start of each weeks Pop up performance series, Yatkin and guests will provide workshops on each Wednesday in four different cultural centers to teach and invite people to build their own Firebird costumes or create their own sounds and learn bird movements. Workshop locations include Indian Boundary, Lincoln Park Cultural Center, Ford Calumet Environmental Center, Berger Mansion. This will encourage workshop participants and roaming visitors create their own firebird costume, sound and movement that everyone can bring to the Firebird Parade. The Firebird Pop ups will conclude with a collective Parade starting at the Caracol Gathering Space in the Burnham Wild Life corridor (July 8th at 5-6pm). We will gather there with a performance of Firebird and lead to a festive parade with costumes, sound and dances that will conclude with a Firebird ceremony.

The Firebird costume/dress designed by Katrin Schnabl that moves with the wind and responds to the natural elements. The performances will have live music accompanied by guest performers Patrick Wojtak.

Many arts scholars make an analogy between Yatkin and, Milan Kundera or Italo Calvino—for going into a place and time, exposing it, exploring it, penetrating it and then transcending it. This speaks volumes in a world that has become fragmented and hyper-specialized to the point of myopic ambition. Finally her lifelong commitment to a lifelong career in utilizing dance as a crucial form of social contact, artistic integrity, and collective creativity, represents not only a methodology but also a form of art for exploring and understanding a place from its cultural towers to its stickball origins.

FIREBIRD POP UPS schedule by Nejla Yatkin:
Week 1
Wednesday, June 7 @5:30-7pm Firebird Movement Workshop with Nejla Yatkin Berger Mansion (6205 N. Sheridan Rd. Chicago, IL 60660)
Thursday, June 8 @6pm Firebird Pop up West Ridge Park (5801 N. Western Ave. Chicago, IL 60659 
Friday, June 9 @6pm Firebird Pop Up Wildwood Park (6950 N. Hiawatha Ave. Chicago, IL 60646) 
Saturday, June 10 @12pm Firebird Pop Up Shabonna Park (6935 W. Addison St. Chicago, IL 60634) 
Sunday, June 11@6pm Firebird Pop Up Legion Park (3100 W. Bryn Mawr Ave. Chicago, IL) 60659 

Week 2
Wednesday, June 14 @5:30 -7pm Firebird Costume/Movement Workshop with Janet H Yang & Nejla,
Indian Boundary (2500 W. Lunt Ave. Chicago, IL 60645)

Thursday, June 15 @6pm Firebird Pop up Clark Boathouse (3400 N. Rockwell St. Chicago, IL 60618) (Nejla + Patrick)
Friday, June 16 @6pm Firebird Pop up Peace Garden (Lakefront Trail, Chicago, IL 60640) (Nejla + Patrick)
Saturday, June 17 @12pm Firebird Pop up Maggie Daley (331 E Randolph St Chicago, IL 60601) (Nejla + Patrick)
Sunday, June 18 @6pm Firebird Pop up Promontory Point (5491 S. Jean-Baptiste Pointe DuSable Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60615) (Nejla + Patrick)

Week 3
Wednesday, June 21 @5:30-7pm Firebird Movement Workshop with Nejla
Lincoln Park, (2045 N. Lincoln Park West Chicago, IL 60610)
Thursday, June 22 @6pm Firebird Pop Up Bessemer Park, (8930 S Muskegon Ave
Chicago, IL 60617) (Nejla + Patrick)
Friday, June 23 @6pm Firebird Pop Up Arcade Park, (11132 S. St. Lawrence Ave. Chicago, IL 60628) (Nejla + Patrick)
Saturday, June 24 @12pm Firebird Pop Up Jesse Owens Park (8800 S. Clyde Ave. Chicago, IL 60617) (Nejla + Patrick)
Sunday, June 25 @6pm Firebird Pop Up Vittum Park (5010 W. 50th St. Chicago, IL 60638) (Nejla + Patrick)

Week 4
Wednesday, June 28 @5:30-7pm Firebird Sound and Movement with Ulli and Nejla. Big Marsh (11555 S. Stony Island Ave. Chicago, IL 60617
Thursday, June 29 @6pm Firebird Pop Up at Gage Park (2411 W. 55th St. Chicago, IL 60632) (Nejla + Patrick)
Friday, June 30 @6pm Firebird Pop Up McKinley Park (2210 W. Pershing Rd. Chicago, IL 60609) (Nejla +Patrick)
Saturday July 1 @12pm Firebird Pop Up Humboldt Park (1440 N. Humboldt Boulevard Chicago, IL 60622) (Nejla +Patrick)
Saturday, July 8 @5pm Firebird Parade at Caracol Gathering (Space South of McCormick Place Bird Sanctuary, approximately 2400 S. Lake Shore Drive, at Burnham Wildlife Corridor.) Start and End at Caracol Gathering Space, (Rain date for parade, Sunday July 9)

Firebird by Nejla Yatkin is presented as part of the Chicago Park District’s Night Out in the Parks series, supported by the Mayor’s Office and Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. The Night Out in the Parks program presents cultural events year-round in neighborhood parks throughout the city. The Chicago Park District in partnership with 100 local artists and organizations, present engaging events and performances that enhance quality of life across Chicago and amplify the artistic and cultural vibrancy in every neighborhood. Through multiple disciplines, which include theater, music, movies, dance, site-specific work, nature programs, and community festivals, the series aims to support Chicago-based artists, facilitate community-based partnerships and programs, cultivate civic engagement, and ensure equity in access to the arts for all Chicagoans. For more information, please

Bios: Bio for Nejla Yatkin (Performer):
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 the globe inspiring empathic connections between people and their environments. She creates solos, choreographs ensemble dances for stages and sites, collaborates on plays and film/video projects, and educates young artists. Nejla hails from Germany; her artistic lineage enfolds European dance-theatre, American Modern Dance, African-American modern dance, and numerous international influences. She is the recipient of awards from the Princess Grace Foundation, the National Performance Network, 3Arts and the Baryshnikov Arts Center, among others.

Katrin Schnabl (Costume Designer)
Katrin Schnabl is a designer whose work is primarily situated in contemporary fashion and performance. Visual attributes expand movement, explore tensions, negative space, flow and patterns, and emotional attributes enhance and sharpen the performer's sense of their role. The name lineamente suggests trailing and defining emphatic vault lines created by underlying motion or tension. With every garment there is a re-negotiation of form, of edge, of outline, of lineament that encourages a shift of perception. Edge emerges as a crucial border where cloth ends and skin begins.

Patrick Wojtak (Musician)
A multi-instrumentalist (Guitar, Bass, Drums, Piano) who composes and performs music in the spirit of healing transcendence. With roots in both the Storytelling and Improv communities, Patrick acknowledges the transformational possibilities of live theater and its creative potential. His studies in varied acting techniques, particularly Meisner, offers him the opportunity to perform truthfully under any circumstance.

Enki Andrews (Video)