Research & Teaching
Nathan enjoys giving extended workshops for teams and performers, in either of 2 directions: Rhythm & Trance, and Organizing Desire. These workshops are where he lets music & dance resonate as a single art based on pulse & breath. Hosts have been Meg Stuart / Damaged Goods dance company in Berlin and Brussels, at Rhythm Institute Hellerau in Dresden, ImPulsTanz Festival in Vienna, and SMASH Berlin. Inspiring teachers from which Nathan draws direct influence in his own teaching work include Keith Hennesy and Meredith Monk.
Zikr at Ponderosa Dance Festival (Stolzenhagen, 2006)
Organizing Desire at ImPulsTanz Festival (Vienna, 2010)
with Meredith Monk (Norway, 2007)
Rhythm & Trance is the fruit of his independent research of traditional healing trance musics, commenced in Morocco in 2002 with the Master Musicians of Jajouka and the Gnawa Brotherhood of Marrakech, after 3 immersive journeys there, proceeding on to Egypt to engage the Sufi Zikr and Sudanese Zar ceremonies, and then to the dimension of rhythm science and dance divinity which is Senegal. And concurrently in Europe, with Balinese "shaking" shaman Ratu Bagus during his annual visits. Ultimately— demystifying and distilling nearly 4 continents worth of diverse traditional & secular musics of healing, trance, & joie de vivre... whether in the village, the nightclub, the street, or the symphony hall. This workshop draws its knowledge from direct experience and from a scientific focus on what these musics and ritual practices have in common— for example in terms of physicality of sound, circularity of rhythm, and engagement of breath.
Organizing Desire is the result of frequent requests from dancers to participate in the Cobra shows in Amsterdam and Berlin. Nathan was inspired by the challenge to "translate" this already complex language into movement, in a way that a group of dancers alone could improvise with it, or ultimately so that dancers and musicians could use the language with absolutely equal "power" in the game, as if there was no difference between their respective artistic mediums. You can read much more about that on the SMASH Berlin website here.
A statement from an ImPulsTanz workshop participant is provided on the NATHAN page.
Nathan has also been invited to lead 90-minute Egyptian Sufi Zikr trance ceremonies, for example as a special event of a yoga center or an afterparty of a dance festival.
The Zikr is traditionally a Sufi trance ceremony which transpires as a night ritual, and has different manifestations in its various places of origin. In Egypt, Zikr takes the form of an ecstatic repetitive dance, on the breath...
Driven by specific music which guides a natural rhythm of breathing, the breath then invites the body into a continuous torso-swing-like movement for one hour, in gradual acceleration… remaining throughout a free and natural consequence of the breath and music.
This is both an active meditation and a different way of partying… Eyes wide open and sharing joy... A multitude of me's surrendered to one we.
Note: A traditional Zikr takes place often over the whole night. Where we stop after 1 hour and come down, in Egypt they would take a break over tea or shisha and begin again; gradually progressing into the trance: three steps up, one step down, three steps up, one step down... so to speak. What is offered here is not a full ceremony itself, but rather just a potent taste.
People of any age and condition are welcome to participate and choose their own comfortable degree of physical intensity, as engagement of the breath holds priority over the physical movement. Please allow yourself ca. 20 minutes to come down before moving on with your night or your DJ afterparty.
Nathan has participated in many Zikrs in different contexts in Egypt and Europe since 2002, and was given by Sabri Saad el Hamus in 2005 the music and blessing to lead it himself outside of traditional settings, and embark upon his own cultural recontextualization of the practice.
" A feeling of lightness and lucidity stayed with me for almost a week— thank you ! "
“ When you called 10 minutes, I didn't know if that meant 10 minutes had passed or 10 minutes were left ! ”
International School of Dakar 2011 Final Concert surprise finale
Maori "Haka" chant dance
performed by 160 children
Nathan Fuhr, director