Jonah Bokaer

Andrew W. Mellon Foundation DisTIL Fellow

A choreographer and dancer exploring trauma and healing at UNC and in the surrounding community

Award-winning choreographer and visual artist Jonah Bokaer was named the fourth Andrew W. Mellon Foundation DisTIL (Discovery Through Iterative Learning) Fellow at Carolina Performing Arts at UNC-Chapel Hill in 2018. He has cultivated a new form of choreography merged with visual art & design. American and Middle Eastern, he is among the most widely distributed artists to have emerged since the postmodern era. Jonah Bokaer Choreography has authored 63 original works, produced in 34 nations, 27 of the United States, and 292 cities, including 41 museum exhibitions worldwide.

Bokaer’s Mellon-funded fellowship at Carolina Performing Arts culminated in a public event featuring dancers from Jonah Bokaer Choreography and violinists Angela and Jennifer Chun performing music by Isang Yun. The collaborative performance work included visual elements created by architect Charles Renfro in collaboration with Bokaer. The collaboration also featured texts written by UNC sociology professor Charles Kurzman, who specializes in Middle East and Islamic Studies.  

Indecent Spaces explores connections between identity, gender, race, and space through dance, three-dimensional video art, architectural elements, social commentary, and music. It explores the complex histories of the United States (and of UNC-Chapel Hill), its citizens, and their bodies, with themes of singularity, binarity, and everything in between, drawing on research and collaborations stemming from Bokaer’s residency at Carolina Performing Arts. 

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