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Performing Artist

Zjana is a multicultural choreographer and dancer creating contemporary dance performances inspired by books, fashion, art, multiculturalism, and science. Her works are at the edge of the natural physical world and virtual digital spaces. Her dance projects bring together layered perspectives on the physical, virtual, imaginative and real and explore the possibilities of dance to open up new perspectives and escape conventional norms.  Trained as a classical ballet dancer and performing as a contemporary dancer for some renowned choreographers, her practice as a dance artist spans mainly live performances but also film, video, projection, dance for camera, and VR | AR.

Zjana's recent works focus on the body and its environment which includes the physical natural world of forest, oceans, land and sky and the virtual digital space of VR | AR. As a dancer and dance maker Zjana enjoys exploring new technologies and how they can intersect with embodied physical dance practice and believes the process of art and dance making can be a way to build diverse communities. 

Her current works ask what will the future of embodiment be? What is nature if we grew up on the internet? And is the 'self' lost somewhere online?

Critics Reviews

Critics have recognized Zjana’s artistic strengths in her stage presence, technical skill, and imaginative portrayals.

An experience full and complete. Remarkable.

Jenny Gilbert, The Independent UK

Has magnetic appeal. The alchemy on stage is engrossing.

Cathy Culver, Voice Magazine

a wonderful mix of fluidity and strength....masterfully executed

iDance, NYC

Live Dance and AR

Performed at
Kingston University London
September 2022

Now more than ever before, the way we are seen and if our bodies matter or not happens not only physically but also digitally. This multidisciplinary live dance performance for three female dancers and one sound artist on modular synth explores body image, displacement, body dysmorphia, and the augmented self or “The Doll.” It's inspired by our very personal yet very common experiences as women on social media through a tragic comedy style. Bringing together contemporary dance with Augmented Reality this live show blends digital images with physical bodies. Using their personal mobile phones audience members are invited to change what they see on stage and around the dancers, transforming the spaces and the faces of the dancers as they move.

This work is supported by East London Dance and London College of Fashion through the Creative Lab Fund for independent artist working with dance, fashion and technology.

Dance and DIY MoCap

Touching from a Distance

Touching from a Distance (strong sensations) is about a man who goes for a walk and on the way must pass through a forest. But this forest is filled with unbelievable things - a levitating man, magical Technicolor shadows, and talking forest creatures. In the end, the question is what was real and what was not?

The emergence of the story in this work was discovered through Zjana's distinctive creative process in juxtaposition and multidisciplinary collaboration.

The work uses live motion capture technology on stage to illuminate and hide things that are there but can’t be seen. Using an app specially developed by the choreographer with collaborator Colin Higgs for the motion capture system. Input from the dancer's movement and from the choreographer's mobile device create a projection that animates the space in real-time. A mysterious and whimsical landscape appears and disappears as the dancers navigate their way through. 

Touching from a Distance was created in partial completion of MFA research in choreography at Trinity Laban in London and was supported in part by the European Culture Foundation and Compagnia di San Paolo.

More here! www.digitaldance.xyz

performance photography by James Keates

Trinity Laban Theater, London December 2019

Dancers Adam Moore, Ashley Handel, Irene Gimenez, Nico Migliorati
Computation Colin Higgs

Music Alex Paton

Experimental Dance Films

Becoming Hardware

This video work explores the imaginative feeling of a dancer transforming.

 

With live music from musician Alex Paton this video work is a falling and transforming, a morphing of a dancing body. Rather than following a direct narrative, the form of video is used here to allow for the possibility of depicting the internal experiences of the dancer into an external form which allows for a story to be emergent based on the non-linear hard cut editing.

London 2018

Filmed together with Reynir Hutber film edited and performed by Zjana Muraro

Glass on Glass

Analogy film colouring 

Zjana Muraro

Goldsmiths University of London

2018

collaboration with

Ben Sassen music

and

Reynir Hutber camera

Dancing in churches across Europe this project began in 2014.  Performing in spaces from the Sistine Chapel to small churches in the Old City of Jerusalem this project is a feminist protest and performance art piece aiming to broaden perspectives of how a woman's body can be seen socially and political.  

Interview 

The Work
of
Art

Interview for the Oulu Dance Hack at Oulu Museum of Art in association with Oulu University of Arts, Finland August 2018

Residencies & Other Works

Set Sail
( Untitled X+3 )

Resolution at The Place, London
February 2017
Choreography & Performance Zjana Muraro
Actress Gabriella Flarys
Live Video Projection Reynir Hutber
Music Catarina Dos Santos, Ged Flood, Matt Kirk
Rehearsal Coordinator and R&D assistant Gianna Burright

An interdisciplinary performance about the line between fake and real, questioning how we might be able to, or not, see the difference between them. Described by critics as "an entrancing mix of live and recorded" Jenny Gilbert, The Independent. The poetic narrative traces a lone dancer in an absurdly oversized baby-pink jacket at an exotic beach scene, suggesting of Brazilian beats and Brazilian heat "that seep under your skin. An experience, full and complete" (J.Gilbert) with live music, storytelling, and projection encompassing unrealized dreams and how no matter the chaos around us or which beach we're on we just must still, keep dancing.

 

The R&D titled 'Being seen and the difficulty of being seen' for this work started from Zjana's very personal explorations into feelings around exclusion, surrender, resistance, and questioning if it is possible to be both an insider and an outsider at the same time. To belong to everywhere and to belong to nowhere. Exploring the relationship between body and environment and society, the work questions what is excluded in our ethics, in our thoughts, and in our actions. Bringing attention to things that are there but can't be seen. 

performance photography by Julia Testa

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Glitch

Laban Studio Theater, London 2019

A theatre dance performance that uses distorted projection generated live in real-time through an interconnected loop of improvisation between dance movement and live music. The music's amplitude and frequencies generate the projection using only a webcam.

 

Creative code originally developed by Chris Vik

Reimagined and redesigned for the stage by Zjana Muraro

Live music performance Alex Paton

Dance performance Zjana Muraro

Zjana Muraro and Rachel Tack dance at Turner Contemporary Museum U.K. // 2016

Zjana Muraro and Rachel Tack dance at Turner Contemporary Museum U.K. // 2016

Play Video

Turner Contemporary 

Zjana Muraro and Rachel Tack dance at Turner Contemporary Museum U.K. // 2016
as a  part of Deal Festival of Music and Arts

Bamboo (See her)

Inspired by the architecture of Hong Kong which is filled with bamboo and having a cast of female dancers, the work explores resilience in the strength and malleability of the bamboo plant through movement. Costumes for the performance designed through a partnership with local independent French clothing designer Ophelia Jacarini based in Hong Kong who created dresses out of bamboo fabric.

"See Her" is a dance dedicated to all women anywhere who are not free to live, learn and be as they choose. What an honor to work with the beautiful dancers of Hong Kong.

Dancers Sarah Xiao and Sylvie Coax  

Hong Kong at Sheung Wan Culture Centre 2017

Music by musicians Darja Janošević and Ranko Maric

Dresses designed in collaboration between Ophelia Jacarini and Mahka fashion gallery 

Lighting design by Zooey Yao Li 

Stone Nest London

Workshop Participants

What They’re Saying
Education that explores science and social justice through the arts, technology, and dance.

Facilitating workshops and performance labs internationally and having delivered lecture/seminars on Dance and New/Digital Media, Somatics, and Performance in Museums at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and as a visiting professor of dance at the Belgrade Dance Institute (Serbia) teaching contemporary dance technique including contact improv, floor work, improvisation and performance making.
Participants have given the following feedback at a dancer and digital workshop at Trinity Laban.

Even though most things are actually not (physically) possible because I’m not actually there (in the digital space), many things felt a lot more possible than in real life. I felt like I could go up and touch things that ordinarily would be way out of my reach. The worlds feel like they exist only for my private curiosity.”

 Cynthia C.

For the duration of this workshop, I have felt completely disconnected from my own world and introduced to many new ones that allow for absolute and utter feelings of freedom to explore. This experience has allowed me to reevaluate the idea of approaching sensation through my movement.”

Izzie C.


Stone Nest, 2018 
Performing as "Plastic Fat"
in collaboration with Architectural Association in London

Teaching

Somatics and Dance

Somatics and dance classes are a mix of awareness through movement, improvisation and structured dance exercises. Starting in 2015, Zjana is the first to bring Ilan Lev Method movement classes and one-to-one sessions to the UK and is currently the executive producer of Ilan Lev Method London workshops.

Qualified as a Feldenkrais® Awareness Through Movement® teacher, Gyrotonic©, Ilan Lev Method practitioner and British Wheel of Yoga teacher, Zjana trained in these modalities of embodied practice directly with some of their inventors including Ilan Lev and Juliu Horvath and is an ISMETA registered practitioner.

Alongside teaching somatics for dance and digital spaces, Zjana also currently teaches dance and performance at David Game College in London. Technical dance training modules are baed on her experience as a professionally dancer internationally and in Israel and she is Ofqual UK qualified teacher in contemporary dance with Rambert Dance School in London through a syllabus developed by Hofesh Shechter, Alesandra Seutin, and Benoit Swan Pouffer.

 

She is currently also a distance mentor for recent graduates at the NYU Tisch dance department and a career advisor for dancers at the Dancer Transition Resource Centre in Toronto, Canada.  

Image by Ava Sol

Academic Qualification

MFA, Choreography, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, London

MA, Performance Studies, Tisch, New York University, NYC

PgDip, Computational Arts, Goldsmiths University of London

BFA, Performance and Choreography, California Institute of the Arts, Santa Clarita CA

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publications

Independent peer reviewed research

 

Dancing Chaos with Augmented Reality, Digital Research in the Humanities and Arts, International Conference, Kingston University, London, UK, September 2022

 

Narratives of Displacement, A case for wild thought, UNIVERSALE BIBLION, (Università “G. d’Annunzio” di Chieti-Pescara), Editor Prof. Miriam Sette, Italy, October 2021

 

Somatics for the digital space - based on, CHW Southwest Conference, Special Issue Perspectives in Public Health submitted August 2021

 

Contemporary dancing, embodied practices and wellbeing during digital times, Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance United Kingdom, June 2021

 

Improvisation, Avatars and New Media, hosted by Coventry University, Performance Knowledges: Transmission, Composition, Praxis, University of Malta, March 2020

 

Resilience - Parallel spaces, self-caring and heterotopias, London Centre for Interdisciplinary Research, July 2020

 

Portable Interactive Explorations of Motion Data Systems for Choreographers, 7th International Conference on Movement and Computing, Rutgers University, July 2020

Zjana Muraro is supported by Studio Wayne McGregor through the FreeSpace programme.