~*~ Jatila ~*~
Having Fun at Balkanfolk in Varshets, Bulgaria, with Zornitsa Band
Jatila is an Ethnic Dancer and Choreographer living and working in Santa Barbara, California. She has been dancing since she was eight, back in her native New York City. She studied ballet at Julliard Preparatory Academy, Ballet Arts, and American Ballet Theater School, as well as Flamenco and Bharata Natyam from Carola Goya and Mateo. She began performing with the New-York based EthnoAmerican Dance Theater at age 15, and paid her way through college at Barnard by performing with them.
After obtaining a Masters Degree in Geophysics at Columbia University, Jatila moved to California where she continued studying Bharata Natyam with Katherine and K.P. Kunhiraman in Berkeley, and eventually won a scholarship from the American Institute for Indian Studies/Smithsonian Institute to study in India for the academic year 1986-87. Jatila studied at Kalakshetra and with V.P. and Shanta Dhananjayan in Chennai. Tamil World (Tamil Ulagam) said of her: "Her face was born for bhava (emotion) and her feet for thala (rhythm).
In 1998 Jatila met the well-known Canadian teacher of Bulgarian dance and folklore,Yves Moreau, and "fell in love" with the intricate asymmetric rhythms and haunting melodies of Bulgarian music, and since then has concentrated on studying and performing Balkan dance. She first visited Bulgaria in the summer of 2005, and returns every summer for continued study and research.
Jatila joined the faculty of the University of California at Santa Barbara in 2000 (as a lecturer in the Physics Department). It was then that she met Alexandra King, director of the dance troupe of the UCSB Middle East Ensemble. Alexandra invited her to join the Ensemble, and it was then that Jatila branched out into Middle Eastern dance. Jatila was a principal dancer with the Middle East Ensemble of the University of California at Santa Barbara from 2001 through 2008.
In 2008 Jatila founded Ensemble Dzhamala!, dedicated to presenting authentic dance from the Balkans, Middle East, and former Ottoman Empire, while exploring the fusion of ethnic styles with contemporary and interpretive dance. Dzhamala! Ensemble takes its name from the Turkish/Macedonian term meaning 'big party' or 'celebration,' a name that was suggested by Maestro Goran Alacki and Adrijana Alacka of Macedonia as a fitting name for an ensemble of dancers and musicians who celebrate and perform the joyous folklore of the Balkans.
Jatila's choreographies for Dzhamala! Ensemble include: Voda (music by Elitsa Tudorova and Stoyan Yankulov of Bulgaria); Chupurlika (musical arrangement by Goran Alachki of Macedonia); Szerelem (music by Stellamara of California); and two suites, Malashevsko Suite and Zhenski Makedonski, arrangements of traditional folk dances from the Malashevia and Pirin regions of Eastern Macedonia/Western Bulgaria.
In September of 2008, Jatila relocated to Chicagoland to take a position as Professor of Science Education at Purdue University Calumet. During her sojourn in the Midwest, Jatila studied Bulgarian and Macedonian dance with John and Galia Kuo and performed in their group Ensembl Balkanski Igri - one of the oldest Balkan ensembles in the US.
Now back in Santa Barbara, Jatila is again directing Dzhamala! Ensemble, and is a solo performer with a variety of amazingly talented musicians. She has returned to the UCSB Middle East Ensemble as the folkloric choreographer, and dances with them occasionally as a guest artist. She is currently dance coach for the UCSB Armenian Students Association. Jatila's choreographies for the UCSB Middle East Ensemble include: Khorotik Morotik; Dari Dari; Pentazoli; and Hemshentsi Laz Bar.
Dzhamala! Ensemble is always looking for new members! Contact jatila "at" jatiladance.com if you are a dancer who is interested in a fun, challenging, exciting opportunity to perform in a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural setting.
By day, Jatila works at the University of California Santa Barbara as a Visiting Research Scientist and Lecturer in the College of Creative Studies. Visit Jatila's Physics Website at UCSB at www.physics.ucsb.edu/~jatila
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