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Shaping Poetic Ambience

Indian Dancer and Choreographer Navtej Johar Will Be Valeska Gert Visiting Professor at Freie Universität Berlin during Summer Semester / Public Event on April 16

№ 064/2019 from Mar 21, 2019

The Indian dancer and choreographer Navtej Johar will be the Valeska Gert Visiting Professor at Freie Universität Berlin during the 2019 spring/summer semester. He will be teaching a seminar entitled Crafting Poetic Ambiance: Methods of Designing and Willfully Inhabiting an Autonomous Imaginary World. At a public opening event on April 16, Navtej Johar will present his artistic work and his plans for working with the students in his seminar. The opening event will take place in the Akademie der Künste. In addition to Navtej Johar, the dance critic/cultural journalist Claudia Henne, Professor Gabriele Brandstetter (Freie Universität Berlin), and Nele Hertling (Akademie der Künste) are expected to attend. The event will be in English, and admission is free.

In the seminar at Freie Universität, Navtej Johar aims to develop with the students a practical understanding of the Indian bhava-rasa aesthetics. The participants will examine how a poetic atmosphere is first conceived, then clarified in their minds, and finally physically experienced and expressed.

The work of Navtej Johar, an Indian dancer, choreographer, university teacher, yoga expert, and activist, is based on principles of the classical Indian dance style Bharatanatyam, physical theatre, and somatic approaches. Navtej Johar is a Sangeet Natak Akademi Award winner in contemporary choreography. His own dance includes tradition and modernity and combines critical theory, practice, and social action. Navtej Johar has been working as a yoga teacher since 1985. In yoga he combines asana, pranayama, meditation, visualization, and vedic chanting.

Navtej Johar is also known for his political commitment to LGBTI* rights. The Indian law decriminalizing homosexuality passed by the Supreme Court in India in the summer of 2018 is named after him. LGBTI stands for lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender and intersexual individuals. The asterisk includes other sexual and social gender identities.

The Valeska Gert Visiting Professorship is hosted jointly by the Institute of Theater and Dance Studies at Freie Universität Berlin, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), and the Akademie der Künste (Berlin).

Navtej Johar

Navtej Johar

Navtej Johar
Image Credit: Sumedh Tandon

The photo is available free of charge for media if used in the context of the press release and due credit is given.

Further Information

Times and Events

Opening event / opening lecture:

  • Tuesday, April 16, 2019, 7 p.m.
  • Akademie der Künste, Clubraum, Hanseatenweg 10, 10557 Berlin (subway station: Hansaplatz, U9)

Final event:

  • Tuesday, June 25, 2019
  • Akademie der Künste, Pariser Platz 4, 10117 Berlin (subway station and S-Bhf: Brandenburger Tor)


Alexander Schwan, Institute of Theater Studies, Department of Philosophy and Humanities, Freie Universität Berlin, Tel.: +49 30 838-757 15, Email: alexander.schwan@fu-berlin.de