Firebird Pop up performances and workshops

Event Type
Event Description

Interactive and joyous Firebird pop up performances by Nejla Yatkin  

As part of Chicago Park District’s Night Out in the Parks series, 2023 Guggenheim Fellow in Choreography Nejla Yatkin will surprise visitors in parks around Chicago with pop-up performances of her interactive and joyous Firebird dances. Accompanied by live music, the meditative dances are created in a sustainable relationship with nature. For four weeks starting on Thursday, June 8, Yatkin will perform 16 dance meditations that spark hope and deepen connections between people and their surroundings. At the end of each dance, park visitors of all ages will be invited to join in a collective bird movement meditation guided by Yatkin to prepare for the final Firebird Parade on Saturday, July 8. The full schedule and locations are below and online at

In many myths and cultures, the Firebird – or in Egyptian myth known as the Phoenix – is a messenger of hope and is considered as an agent for purifying the land and waters, bestowing fertility to wherever the Firebird visits. The mythical creature represents the union between the Earth and the Sky serving as the mediator and messenger between the two.

Before the start of each week’s park pop-up performance, Yatkin will lead free, family-friendly Firebird Workshops each Wednesday in four different cultural centers, including Indian Boundary, Lincoln Park Cultural Center, Ford Calumet Environmental Center, and Berger Mansion. Participants will learn new movement vocabulary inspired by bird-like gestures and shapes, develop movements through flocking, explore the beauty and complexity of bird sounds, learn how to use found objects and movements to create their own unique soundscapes, focus on breath and meditation practices, and create personal costume designs that reflect the transformative journey of the Phoenix.

The park pop-ups and workshops will encourage participants—and roaming visitors—to create their own firebird costumes, sounds, and movements that they can bring to the final Firebird Parade. Participants are invited to gather at the Caracol Gathering Space in the Burnham Wildlife Corridor on July 8 at 5:00pm for a performance of Firebird followed by a festive parade with costumes, sounds, and dances to conclude the Firebird ceremony.

Map of specific performance locations HERE
Cancellations due to weather will be posted online HERE

To RSVP, please reach out to Nejla at

Chicago Parks where Firebird will PopUp

Week 1
Wednesday, June 7 @5:30-7pm Firebird Movement Workshop with Nejla Yatkin Berger Mansion (6205 N. Sheridan Rd. Chicago, IL 60660)
Thursday, June 8 @6pm Firebird Pop up West Ridge Park (5801 N. Western Ave. Chicago, IL 60659 (Nejla + Ulli)
Friday, June 9 @6pm Firebird Pop Up Wildwood Park (6950 N. Hiawatha Ave. Chicago, IL 60646) (Nejla + Ulli)
Saturday, June 10 @12pm Firebird Pop Up Shabonna Park (6935 W. Addison St. Chicago, IL 60634) (Nejla + Ulli)
Sunday, June 11@6pm Firebird Pop Up Legion Park (3100 W. Bryn Mawr Ave. Chicago, IL) 60659 (Nejla + Ulli)

Week 2
Wednesday, June 14 @5:30 -7pm Firebird Costume/Movement Workshop with Janet H Yang & Nejla, Indian Boundary (2500 W. Lunt Ave. Chicago, IL 60645)
Thursday, June 15 @6pm Firebird Pop up Clark Boathouse (3400 N. Rockwell St. Chicago, IL 60618) (Nejla + Patrick) Friday, June 16 @6pm Firebird Pop up Peace Garden (Lakefront Trail, Chicago, IL 60640) (Nejla + Patrick)
Saturday, June 17 @12pm Firebird Pop up Maggie Daley (331 E Randolph St Chicago, IL 60601) (Nejla + Patrick) Sunday, June 18 @6pm Firebird Pop up Promontory Point (5491 S. Jean-Bapaste Pointe DuSable Lake Shore Drive Chicago, IL 60615) (Nejla + Patrick)

Week 3
Wednesday, June 21 @5:30-7pm Firebird Movement Workshop with Nejla
Lincoln Park, (2045 N. Lincoln Park West Chicago, IL 60610)
Thursday, June 22 @6pm Firebird Pop Up Bessemer Park, (8930 S Muskegon Ave
Chicago, IL 60617) (Nejla + Patrick)
Friday, June 23 @6pm Firebird Pop Up Arcade Park, (11132 S. St. Lawrence Ave. Chicago, IL 60628) (Nejla + Patrick) Saturday, June 24 @12pm Firebird Pop Up Jesse Owens Park (8800 S. Clyde Ave. Chicago, IL 60617) (Nejla + Patrick) Sunday, June 25 @6pm Firebird Pop Up Vidum Park (5010 W. 50th St. Chicago, IL 60638) (Nejla + Patrick)

Week 4
Wednesday, June 28 @5:30-7pm Firebird Sound and Movement with Ulli and Nejla. Big Marsh (11555 S. Stony Island Ave. Chicago, IL 60617
Thursday, June 29 @6pm Firebird Pop Up at Gage Park (2411 W. 55th St. Chicago, IL 60632) (Nejla + Patrick)
Friday, June 30 @6pm Firebird Pop Up McKinley Park (2210 W. Pershing Rd. Chicago, IL 60609) (Nejla +Patrick)
Saturday July 1 @12pm Firebird Pop Up Humboldt Park (1440 N. Humboldt Boulevard Chicago, IL 60622) (Nejla +Patrick)
Saturday, July 8 @5pm Firebird Parade at Caracol Gathering (Space South of McCormick Place Bird Sanctuary, approximately 2400 S. Lake Shore Drive, at Burnham Wildlife Corridor.)                                                                                             Start and End at Caracol Gathering Space, (Rain date for parade, Sunday July 9)

Bio for Nejla Yatkin (Performer/Choreographer):
Described by The New York Times as "a magician, telling tales and creaang worlds" and "a fierce and supple performer," 2023 Guggenheim Fellow and Chicago-based choreographer Nejla Yatkin travels the globe inspiring empathic connecaons between people and their environments. She creates solos, choreographs ensemble dances for stages and sites, collaborates on plays and film/ video projects, and educates young arasts. Nejla hails from Germany; her arasac lineage enfolds European dance- theatre, American Modern Dance, African-American modern dance, and numerous internaaonal influences. She is the recipient of awards from the Princess Grace Foundaaon, the Naaonal Performance Network, 3Arts and the Baryshnikov Arts Center, 3Arts Foundaaon, Chicago Dancemakers Forum among others. For more see

Ulli Meta (Musician)
Ulli Meta is a composer, lyricist, pianist, vocalist, and guitarist who has studied classical piano, jazz, voice, and tradiaonal music. She has composed since she was twelve and performed since the age of sixteen. In 2023, Ulli's concert series "Sound Voices" is happening around the world. She creates music spontaneously with piano, voice, guitar, drum, and singing bowls, so her music is always new and unique. Audiences onen find that her energeac spaces enable them to connect with new feelings and insights. You can be part of these unique musical and energeac events, too. For more informaaon, visit

Katrin Schnabl (Costume Designer)
Katrin Schnabl is a designer whose work is primarily situated in contemporary fashion and performance. Visual adributes expand movement, explore tensions, negaave space, flow and paderns, and emoaonal adributes enhance and sharpen the performer's sense of their role. The name lineamente suggests trailing and defining emphaac vault lines created by underlying moaon or tension. With every garment there is a re-negoaaaon of form, of edge, of outline, of lineament that encourages a shin of percepaon. Edge emerges as a crucial border where cloth ends and skin begins.

Patrick Wojtak (Musician)
Patrick Wojtak (Whytalk) is a mula-instrumentalist (Guitar, Bass, Drums, Piano) who composes and performs music as a meditaave healing pracace. He has roots in the Storytelling and Improv communiaes of Chicago. Through his studies of mulaple acang techniques, Patrick has discovered the transformaaonal possibiliaes of live theater and the creaave potenaal when performing truthfully under any circumstance. He understands the world through music, prefers to bike when traveling, and is a Ping Pong enthusiast.


Running Time
1 hour
Dance Styles
Modern / Contemporary


Chicago Park District

541 N. Fairbanks
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 742-7529