USA / Martinique / France / Austria / Germany
Directed, filmed and edited by Layla Zami

Memory2Go from layla zami on Vimeo.

In this movie about dance, memory and diaspora, we encounter contemporary international dancers-choreographers of various backgrounds and aesthetic styles. Through personal conversations and performance excerpts, we get closer to understanding the power of dance to perform, process, and produce cultural memory in the 21st century. This film is currently in post-production, in connection with the recent book publication Contemporary PerforMemory.



Dancing Through Gardens (Durch Gärten Tanzen)

Germany / Indonesia / France 2014. Duration: 140 min.
By Oxana Chi & Layla Zami

How does a dance biography from the past become a source of inspiration for a dance artist of the present? The movie takes the audience on an poetic and insightful voyage to Paris, Berlin and Solo (Surakarta) . Layla Zami accompanies the award-winning dancer-choreographer Oxana Chi on the footsteps of historical dance legend Tatjana Barbakoff. A Chinese-Jewish-Latvian artist, Tatjana was very famous in 1920s/30s Europe, and inspired many visual artists of the 20th century. Today, Oxana brings her back to life on stage, giving her an afterlife through her performance Through Gardens.
Including unseen archival footage, fiction scenes, innovative Fusion dance (from ballet to wayang kulit over Chinese martial arts), and a sprinkle of animation, Dancing Through Gardens tells a moving and inspiring tale of women's struggle and survival through the power of dance.

Produced by lichiverein, made possible in parts with the support of the French Ministry Program "Envie d'Agir", the Foundation for the Memory of the Shoah (FMS Paris), Berlin Arts University (UdK), Amadeu-Antonio-Stifunt and private sponsors.

 more info


Durch Gärten Tanzen - Trailer from layla zami on Vimeo.


Press & Awards

Interview with Layla Zami, Visiting Research Scholar at Columbia University
Advanced Consortium on Cooperation, Conflict, and Complexity (AC4) Interview Series, April 8th, 2016.
Interviewer: Meredith Smith, New York City.


Hommage an Tatjana Barbakoff
"Durch Gärten Tanzen" erinnert an die lettisch-jüdische Tanzkünstlerin
in Jüdische Allgemeine, October 12th, 2014.


L’amitié, l’amour et… la danse
in Berlinpoche, Berlin's Francophone Cultural Magazine, October 06th, 2014.
Interview in French with Layla Zami and Oxana Chi. Interviewer: Laura Strack.


The film was honored with the International Award of Recognition at DOSHIMA 2016.
 watch award-ceremony trailer



DVD Release

German original version with English and French subtitles. li:chi movie 2015. Duration: 140Min.

Orders within Europe through the online-distributor Fembooks
For orders in the USA, please reach out to me directly: mail(at)
This is a special first limited edition.

The DVD is part of the permanent collections of following national institutions, universities and museums: Jewish Museum Berlin, Tanzarchiv Köln, Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts de Lausanne, Israel Museum Jerusalem, Fondation pour la Mémoire de la Shoah (Paris), Université Libre de Bruxelles, Dance Department at Université de Nice Sophia Antipolis, Universität der Künste Berlin, Humboldt-University Center for Transdisciplinary Gender Studies, Helen-Dahm-Museum Switzerland, Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, as well as public libraries such as the Manfred-Bofinger-Bibliothek Treptow and the Central Berlin Library Amerika-Gedenk-Bibliothek.

In the summer of 2017, the movie was listed, amongst material on dance legends such as Trisha Brown, Merce Cunningham and Pina Bausch, as part of the special exhibition Themenraum Tanz organized by the Berlin Central Library in partnership with the festival "Tanz im August".

 view exhibition catalogue


 Commissioned Works 


Dance Biennale "Passages14" International Festival of Afro-Contemporary Dance in Bielefeld

Commissioned by Festival Director to document the whole Festival Week on video. Festival trailer co-edited with Oxana Chi

DansArt Biennale Passages14 - Video Documentation from layla zami on Vimeo.

DansArt Biennale PASSAGES14 - African Contemporary Dance Festival
DansArt THEATRE Bielefeld



Sustainable Energies

Commissioned by AfricAvenir International e.V. – African Renaissance, Development, International Cooperation, and Peace.
Sponsored by the Berlin Senate and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation

Logo AfricAvenir

Video Interviews for the conference Paradoxes of Sustainability / Paradoxien der Nachhaltigkeit, 2012.

 Interview with Judy W. Wakhungu, Executive Director of the African Center for Technology Studies (Nairobi, Kenya)
 Interview with Prof. Many C. Camara, Representative of Faléa 21 in France (Mali/France)



spuren legen_verwehen.

Commissioned by Professor Dr. Lann Hornscheidt
Premiere 2012 at galerie funke, berlin

a feminist video_poem
by layla zami & lann hornscheidt

this film inspired by the book "feminismus schreiben_lernen" explores quest_ions of language, position_ing and beLong_ing to comm_Unities beyond heteronormative mainstream. a unique collaboration between gender studies professor lann hornscheidt and filmmaker layla zami, it stresses intertwined aspects of gender and race. this challenging mix of poetic documentary and experimental essay portraits people who leave temporary traces of their identities and politics in their surroundings. in the audiovisual medium, the u-topian quests for spaces and words are re-created, suggesting alternative linguistic practices and demanding new ways of seeing_listening.
quotes by: sarah kirsch, audre lorde, adrienne rich, luz maria umpierre, elana dykewomon, lann hornscheidt, chrystos, marg yeo, helene cixous

this short experimental video was created for the exhibition "to dyke_trans | dis_visualizing re_locating de_silencing", featuring works by layla zami, zanele muholi, claude cahun, coco riot & elisha lim.

Screening history includes:
Vivo Media Arts Centre in partnership with the Italian Cultural Centre, Vancouver Canada
In the series Performigrations: Unspoken Intersections curated by Juli Saragosa



Trans_forming Politics Lab

Video documentation for the Lab Transforming politics | politicizing trans, organized by the Centre for Transdisciplinary Gender Studies at Humboldt University, Berlin in collaboration with Intergender at Linköping University, Sweden (May 2012).

 Watch the lectures



Kurz in der Welt: Die Welt in den Augen der Kinder

Commissioned by ManuEla Ritz for the State Antidiscrimination Board in Germany (Antidiskriminierungsstelle des Bundes). Premiere 2012 at the action week Aktionswoche im Besten Alter. Immer. movie theatre 'fsk Kino' Berlin.

How do children deal with growing up in a world which is conceived by adults for adults? How would it be if adults see the world through children's eyes and learn to listen?

ein Dokumentarspielfilm von Kindern für Menschen jeden Alters
Um den gesamten Film (45 min.) zu bestellen, Schreiben Sie an:

Was bedeutet es, als Kind in einer Welt zu leben, in der (meist) Erwachsene das Sagen haben? Wie wäre es wenn es anders herum wäre? Was können Erwachsene lernen, wenn sie Kinder zur Sprache kommen lassen und ihnen zuhören? Die Kinder, die diesen Film konzipiert haben, nehmen uns mit auf eine lustige, nachdenkliche phantasievolle und inspirierende Reise in ihre Alltagswelten. Reisen Sie mit! Das Ziel steht fest: Gleichwürdiger Umgang zwischen allen Menschen; ganz gleich welchen Alters.

 Press article


 Other Projects 



An experimental video art work on women and/in exile.

l'oiseau de feu * жар-птица * firebird * feuervogel *

a short videopoem on travel and exile
A film by layla zami, starring the actress ana kavalis (Berlin | Cuba)

Premiere: Salon Qi Festival, Theaterforum Kreuzberg, Berlin, may 2010



SCHWARZ, ROT, GOLD, Alles nur Vergangenheit?

short documentary about nationalism in germany. berlin 2011. galerie gondwana salon qi festival 2011



Bis an den Aussersten Rand

In Memory of Ghanean-German Poet, Activist & Author May Ayim (Berlin 1960 - Hamburg 1996)



Hibiscus. Madinina

Short Super 8 Film. shot in Madinina 2011