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?
This video work explores the imaginative feeling of a dancer transforming.
With live music from musician Alex Paton the 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.
Filmed by Reynir Hutber edited and performed by Zjana Muraro
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
Stone Nest, 2018
Performing as "Plastic Fat" in collaboration with Architectural Association in London
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
Touching from a Distance (strong sensations)
Laban Theater, London
Dancers Adam Moore, Ashley Handel, Irene Gimenez, Nico Migliorati
Computation Colin Higgs
Video Reynir Hutber
Script Gabriela Flarys
Music Alex Paton
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.
performance photography by James Keates
Set Sail ( Untitled X+3 )
Resolution at The Place, London
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
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.
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
Zjana Muraro and Rachel Tack dance at Turner Contemporary Museum U.K. // 2016
as a part of Deal Festival of Music and Arts
Re-imagining the Future of Dance in Higher Education through Fred Moten's Fugativity and Andre Lepecki's Choreopolitics
"Dance first. Think later." ~Samuel Beckett
Tisch School of the Arts, New York University, May 2015
Improvisation, Avatars and New Media
hosted by Coventry University
Performance Knowledges: Transmission, Composition, Praxis, University of Malta, March 2020
Explorations of motion capture data for Choreographers
Somatics based dance choreography and computer programming for live performance
7th Movement and Computing Conference
Rutgers University, New Jersey July 2020
Resilience - Parallel spaces, self-caring, and heterotopias
Social media, specifically Instagram, and somatics practices as fluid heterotopias; parallel spaces of self-caring and resilience
Dance Studies Association
Conference Vancouver, October 2020 (canceled)
London Centre for Interdisciplinary Research, July 2020 (online)
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
Zjana Muraro is supported by Studio Wayne McGregor through the FreeSpace programme.
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.”
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.”
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.
Currently, 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.
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