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'What would the dance and art scene look like if you got to decide?' artistic response

moving image & performance by Sara Mikolai

Presented online at

Finding Sisterhood series by the Ful Collective, Sweden, 2021

Collective cooking, reading, sounding

As part of this residency, Mikolai engages the audience in a collective Sri Lankan cooking session She shares a letter to her stomach, in which she writes about the context of food traditions, lost ingredients and the impact of colonization on food patterns and chronic illness. On another day of the residency, together with the artist Jan Val, they share a sound performance.

cooking session, letter reading, sound performance



Jan Val, Sara Mikolai, apparatus GbR



'What do you need as a dancer and choreographer?'
artistic response 

This artistic response was part of the Parcours und Think Tank Postmigrantische und (lokale) postkoloniale choreographische Perspektiven, organized and curated by Sandra Chatterjea. It is a response to the question: what do you need as a dancer and choreographer? It consists of audio recordings and text fragments, describing the challenges faced as a choreographer with a dance background that does not originate or derive from a Western dance lineage, questioning the notion of contemporaneity, tradition and the requirements dance artists have to meet in dance institutions.

Elegie IV

This performance was created in the one month artist residency PHARMAKOS/N: EIN APPARAT organized and curated by Apparatus GbR.

The performers experiment with movement, sound and the material provided in the space. Mikolai invited the other artists of the residency for this situation, which can be understood as a collective cleansing ritual. The artist works here works with turmeric and bay leaves, which have antibacterial properties and are not only used in food in South Asian cultures, but are also used as cleansing agents in various ceremonial acts. Movement, sound, song, and material matter comes together in a situation that does not ask for a specific material outcome, but the act of collective transformitive cleansing itself.

Artist residency

Performance in response to residency theme

Choreography: Sara Mikolai

Performance: un collective, Hatam/Hacklander, Sara Mikolai

intervention 03.03

Here the dancer explores the relationship between movement and sound, using the medium of a moving body as the initiator of sound: the costume functions as both the source of sound through friction between the moving body and the material of the costume, as well camouflaging the body with the white walls of the performance space*.  The dancer moves in kanda tala, a 5 beat rhythm, for the entirety of the performance, creating a constant rhythm through the costume throughout the dance. 


Concept, Choreography, Performance: Sara Mikolai

Special thanks to Nuray Demir, Rodrigo Alves and Pedra Costa 

Presented at

Hamamness - Wiener Festwochen,

Performeum, Vienna, 2017

Atmo, Altes Finanzamt, Berlin, 2017

Mourning in protest

Here Sara invited Garunya K. to look into experiences their common experiences of long-distance grief. Both have grown up in the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora in Berlin and since the civil war in Sri Lanka, the homeland of their parents, came to an end in 2009,  Mikolai felt and observed a sort of numbness within the usually active community. Attributing this to the devastation of the brutal end of the war and the lack of a space to mourn, as well as being far away from families and ancestral lands, they use the piece as a dialogue, which manifested in an invented ritual performance: invented, as they have realised, that a lot of knowledge and practices, such as collective grieving, are lost in the diaspora and new generations. With elements of dance, song and activating familiar objects, this performance functions as a collective mourning ritual.


Concept & Choreography: Sara Mikolai

Performance: Garunya Karunaharamoorthy, Sara Mikolai

Special thanks to: Nuray Demir, Noha Ramadan

Presented at 

Live Art Festival - Hamamness, Kampnagel, Hamburg, 2015

The Dotted Dance Project

The ‘Dotted Dance Project’ is an artistic research project initiated in 2014 as a collaboration between Kiran Kumar and Sara Mikolai. Conceived primarily as ongoing dialogues around their shared yet different traditions of Indian dance and music, the project seeks to frame the choreographic nature of dialogue and discourse.

Lecture Performance

Concept, Choreography & Performance:

Sara Mikolai, Kiran Kumar

Presented at

Inzucht Festival, HZT student festival, Uferstudios Berlin

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