Matan Zamir is an Israeli Berlin-based director, choreographer, performer and the founder of matanicola and The progressive wave dance companies.
Matan Zamir was born in 1977 in Israel and grew up in Kibbutz Rosh-Hanikra, Israel.
He started dancing in 1985, studying initially at the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance School and later at the Bat-Dor Dance School in Tel Aviv. In 1996 he graduated from Manor Kabri high School of arts in both dance and music departments. In 1996 he moved to Tel Aviv and joined the Batsheva Dance Company under the artistic direction of Ohad Naharin where he also worked with other choreographers such as Noa Dar, Lara Barsacq, Keren Levi, Niv Shenfeld, Saar Magal, Yossi Berg, Itzik Galili, Joaquin Sabate, Linda Gaudreau, Frederic Lascour and performed in works of Angelin Preljocaj and Jirí Kilian amongst others. In 1997 he was a scholarship recipient of the America-Israel Cultural Foundation as an “outstanding dancer” in Israel. He also worked with theatre directors Omri Nitzan (New Israeli Opera), Itzik Weingerten (Habima) and choreographers Inbal Pinto and Avshalom Polak, and Rami Be’er amongst others. Matan is collaborating with choreographer Yasmeen Godder since 1998 and has worked with her as a creating performer, artistic collaborator, and rehearsal director. Since moving to Berlin in 2002 he has worked with Sasha Waltz & Guests dance company, Benoit Lachambre, Michaela Casper, Kiriakos Hadjiioannou, Meg Stuart and Peaches, among others.
In 2005, he founded matanicola with Italian choreographer and performer Nicola Mascia. They been defining and developing their own approach to contemporary dance. Well known for their unique choreographic style, their work deeply engages in questioning and redefining the boundaries of cultural and social definition, gender and national identity, highlighting the “queer”, the “other” and the alternative. Their body of work so far includes eight evening-length productions: Under (Kurt Jooss Prize 2007), created in 2005 in collaboration with Israeli choreographer Yasmeen Godder, Ladies First (2007), What in Earth (2010), Piece of Me (2011), To this purpose only (2013) for and with the Italian company Fattoria Vittadini, bodieSLANGuage (2014); Bleach (2015), Aurora Hunters (2018) for and with Theater Thikwa; as well as an ongoing improvisation series: Versus (2006-on going) and Intervention (2012-on going). Their work has been commissioned, co-produced and supported by Hauptstadtkulturfonds, Sasha Waltz & Guests, Sophiensaele, Tanz im August – Internationales Tanzfest, Ballhaus Ost and Radialsystem V in Berlin, Fonds Darstellende Künste e.V., European Association for Jewish Culture, Goethe Institut and Grand Theatre Groningen, Theater Freiburg amongst others and extensively presented in international festivals. In 2012, they have been invited by the Festival Les Grandes Traversées in Bordeaux, to curate the twelve edition of the festival. In 2014, together with Gal Naor, Zamir founded The progressive wave. Their body of work includes so far, four evening-length productions: bodieSLANGuage (2014), Science of Signs I: Lights & Vessels (2016), Science of Signs II: Oráculo (2018), and Zone (2019) – a contemporary site-specific dance ritual for twenty performers. In 2016, he was invited to create a piece for D.Lab dance company in Shanghai, China, the work Transfiguration was presented in Shanghai Grand Theatre. In 2017 he was invited to collaborate on a performative video installation with artist Hanayo Nakajima at MOT museum for contemporary art in Tokyo, Japan. In 2018 Matan also started a collaboration with theater director, Michaela Casper and the Possible World Deaf Ensemble and together they created a Sign Language interpretation to Shakespeare’s play A Midsummer Night Dream, The progressive wave choreographed the piece with the Deaf actors using Sign Language and body language as choreography. Matan is also mentoring dance students in their choreographic works and works as a dramaturge for several choreographers such as Karolin Stächele and Maria Rutanen. Matan Zamir is regularly teaching contemporary dance classes and leads movement research workshops internationally.