all work is collaborative. this website is collaborative. so it feels a little strange to have a section of this website called “collaborations”. in any case, here are the various projects that i have been involved with as a co-creator, co-director, participant, documenter/writer or performer.

feel free to click into the photo galleries or videos, or press the ‘plus signs’ to read more about the projects below.

sacrifice (2023)

“sacrifice” is a Live Action Role Playing (larp) game designed by myself and the brilliant larp designer
Nadja Lipsyc. The larp formed part of Alexandre Achour’s research project “Choreographic Games
whereby he paired dance artists with larp designers to create a larp together around a particular theme. the larp Nadja and i ended up creating explored themes around desire, city-building and what needs to be let go of or sacrificed in the context of urban living and land. astrological symbolism was an important framework in developing the structure of both the game and characters.

Fallen!Zusammen (2023)

Fallen!Zusammen is a theatre piece for young audiences, created and performed by myself and Coila-Leah Enderstein. the 30-minute piece explores the action of collapse and the potentials within the motion of falling down. the outdoor piece was created with various questions mind: how we can strengthen resilience in the face of collapse? what can we learn from children about falling down? how is humour a critical tool for hope? what can interruption and things breaking down provide in terms of searching for balance and the ability to continue? Coila and i developed this work at the square at Apfelsinenplatz in Berlin and through workshops with the children at the Apfelsinenplatz kita.

to watch the trailer, click here.

Concept, choreography, performance: Nicola van Straaten & Coila-Leah Enderstein
Stage and costume design: Zee Hartmann
Sound technician: Kayla Elrod
Dramaturgical support: Vera Strobel
Production management: Falk Grever
Video documentation: Aaike Stuart

Fallen!Zusammen is a production of Offensive Tanz für junges Publikum Berlin as part of the RAUSGEHEN project, funded by TANZPAKT Stadt-Land-Bund with funds from the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media and the Senate Department for Culture and Europe. In cooperation with Berlin Mondiale and the Evangelische Kirchengemeinde in Gropiusstadt.

Le Sacre du Printemps 2018 (2023)

in 2023 i was invited to perform in choreographer Xavier Le Roy’s trio “Le Sacre du Printemps (2018) alongside dancers Scarlet Yu and Alexandre Achour. we performed the work in april/may 2023 with the Comédie de Valence, touring the areas of Drôme-Ardèche. and in october 2023 we performed again at the Théâtre de la Ville in Paris.

geistzeit (2022)

“geistzeit” is a 45-minute site-specific performance created for 1-2 people at a time. this piece was developed and written by Coila-Leah Enderstein and myself.

something between a guided tour and a treasure hunt, the work draws attention to the opaque powers that shape(d) the borders of African countries today. four fictional characters activate the site through humour and absurdity, bringing participants into critical relation with practices of imperialism through playing with archetypes of eurocentric knowledge producers.

after spending a year in relationship with this particular site, Coila and I wrote the script and then opened it up to the performers Alexandre Achour, Auro Orso and Cikacé Lestine who then brought their own interpretations to the script and its themes. the work premiered in September 2022.

Supported by the NATIONAL PERFORMANCE NETWORK – STEPPING OUT, funded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and Media within the framework of the initiative NEUSTART KULTUR. Assistance Program for Dance.

8. Tanzausbildung Biennale Stuttgart (2022)

in 2022, i was invited to document the 8th Tanzausbildung Biennale Stuttgart alongside Parvathi Ramanthan. the two of us attended the six-day conference, themed “Coming Together: Solidarity, Encounter, Sustainability”. we set up various formats and frameworks to gather resonances of the event, including interviews with participants. we compiled the results of these formats into this small publication, printed on risograph, as well as on this website.

Nesting-Landing (2021)

“Landing-Nesting” was an artistic research project conceived and initiated by Shelley Etkin. Shelley brought myself alongside Marina Hulzenga and Parvathi Ramanathan into the project, which invited children with recent migration backgrounds to create an autonomous space together at a Bauspielplatz in Berlin in/with the Nesting installation/structure that Shelley has worked with on previous projects. collaborating mainly through the lens of writing, reflection and documentation, my contribution included this publication that collated our collective exchanges of writing and documentation throughout the project.

Visitations (2021)

Visitations was a three-month long site-specific research project that took place in the block surrounding the location where the so-called “Berlin Conference” took place in 1884 and 1885. Coila and i brought our individual practices of haunting and expanded listening together and visited the site regularly in order to enter into deeper relation with the historically loaded location. specifically, our research looked at the ways in which this particular event, with far-reaching consequences, is often overlooked in the memorial landscape of berlin, drawing parallels between tourism and colonialism, consumption and imperialism and memory and land.

this research was supported by the #TakeCare Grant by NeuStart Kultur, Fonds Darstellende Künste and laid the groundwork for the site-specific performance geistzeit which we did in 2022.

Crossing the Pale River (2020-2021)

in 2020 and 2021, Coila and i created and performed in Crossing the Pale River – an hour-long guided audio walk with intermittent performances. the site-specific work reflects on a street in berlin named after a province in south africa that no longer exists, inviting critical contemplation on the entangled colonial histories of germany and south africa through sound, storytelling, poetry, performance and guided listening prompts.

for more information about the work, check out Coila’s website or read Parvathi Ramanathan’s review on Stream.

Crossing the Pale River premiered in September 2021 in the framework of Tanzfabrik’s Autumn Program. Supported by the NATIONAL PERFORMANCE NETWORK – STEPPING OUT, funded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and Media within the framework of the initiative NEUSTART KULTUR. Assistance Program for Dance.

creation & performance: Coila-Leah Enderstein, Nicola van Straaten | assistant/guide: Vilja Mihalovsky | voice actor: Lena Astarte Posch, Mmakgosi Kgabi, Daniella Mooney, Ndinomholo Ndilula | dramaturgy: Hans Peter Kuhn, Scarlet Yu | music composition, mixing, mastering: Coila-Leah Enderstein | Script & editing : Coila-Leah Enderstein & Nicola van Straaten | zine design: Nicola van Straaten | translation into German: Lena Astarte Posch.

casting circles (2020)

casting circles is a site-specific collaborative game created by myself with sculptor and painter, Daniella Mooney. The game follows the logic of pagan-magical practices where by a container (circle) is cast to invoke and direct particular energies. incorporating this practice with the idea of a game that involves a series of rules and strategies, the idea was to build energy through playing, in order to be directed and released through the framework of a specific intention that is built into the game’s design. the game was developed and played next to St. Nikolai-Kirche in Berlin, Mitte, the oldest church in Berlin and continues to be played in other sites.

courtyard dances (2019)

“courtyard dances” is a sound and video installation with a durational performance that was created for and shown at Zwitschermachine Gallery in Berlin. the installation comprised of three 20-minute projected films on loop, with a stereo multi-channelled soundtrack across two rooms. the films, edited by myself and Coila, came from footage of improvisation that we had done in the courtyards of the apartments where we have lived over the past four years; in 2016 (observatory, cape town), in 2017 (muizenberg, cape town) and in 2019 (wedding, berlin). the soundtrack, created by Coila, was comprised entirely of sounds from the footage.

in this way, we created a space holding archives of our improvisation, intimacy and memory. we then occupied this archive with our bodies, responding to the installation and the audience with a three-hour durational improvisation that moved in and out of various states of performativity.

courtyard dances (extracts 2019)

Extracts from the three-hour durational performance during the video installation of “courtyard dances”, presented on 7 & 8 November 2019 at Zwitschermaschine, Postdamer Str. 161, Berlin. Footage by Kim Wichera. Edited by Nicola van Straaten and Coila-Leah Enderstein.

Retrospective (2019)

in 2019 i performed in Xavier Le Roy’s exhibition “Retrospective” at the Hamburger Bahnhof in berlin, interpreting and performing extracts of the choreographer’s body of solo works through my own biography. conceived and directed by Xavier Le Roy in artistic collaboration with Scarlet Yu, alongside performers: Alexandre Achour, Saša Asentić, Josep Caballero, Caitlin Fisher, Zeina Hanna, Berit Jentzsch, Sabine Macher, Ming Poon, Ingo Reulecke, Julia Rodríguez, Emmilou Rößling.

Rhythm Study II (2016-2019)

“Rhythm Study II” was a second attempt of trying out the same process used in creating “Rhythm Study”. this time, the process became imbued with technical failures and year-long delays. the film incorporates our whatsapp conversations that we had while i was struggling to edit the footage, it embraces the pixelated effects of not knowing how to export a film and it features a very dreamy soundscape. as we attempted to re-create the effortless creative exchange of “Rhythm Study” and instead encountered upsets that became so integral and important – i now wonder if, in the honouring of the oddities that emerge during process, this film speaks more directly to our shared interests in vulnerability, conversation and intimacy.

Rhythm Study (2016)

“Rhythm Study” is a short film of my own improvised dancing that Coila responded to with an improvised score of prepared piano and clapping. the piece was a fluid, simple and joyous exchange of improvisation, rhythm, conversation and creation.

 screened at:

Joburg Fringe (Johannesburg, 2016)

Circle1 Gallery (Berlin, 2019)

TOME (extracts 2016)

Extracts from the performance of TOME at PurPur Festival of Transgressive Arts, filmed at Youngblood Gallery, Cape Town. For the full ten-minute performance, please look here:

TOME (2015)

TOME is a ten-minute duet with piano, and is usually accompanied by a zine made for each performance. our first work together, TOME set out to interrogate and dismantle learned behaviours around our respective classical trainings of classical ballet and classical piano, placing emphasis on the vulnerability of the performer and the intimacy that arises through vulnerability.

performed at:

Baxter Dance Festival (Cape Town, 2015)

Pur Pur Festival of Transgressive Arts (Cape Town, 2016)

Circle Gallery (Berlin, 2019)