Private Project

Dancing Through Gardens

A moving and inspiring tale about women's struggle and survival through the power of dance. In the 1920s/30s, Chinese-Jewish-Russian dancer and muse Tatjana Barbakoff inspired the whole European dance and visual art scene from Berlin to Budapest by way of Paris. Today, she is revived on stage and on screen by artist Oxana Chi, an icon of the contemporary Berlin off-scene. The film dives into the fascinating biography of legendary Tatjana Barbakoff...and reveals its connections to the 21st century story of Oxana Chi.
An epic documentary with unseen archival footage, inspiring fiction scenes, electrifying music and breathtaking dance moments, playing in France, Indonesia and Germany.
An urgently needed new perspective on the links between past and present topics of migration, equal rights, and empowerment through art.

  • Oxana Chi
  • Layla Zami
  • Oxana Chi
  • li:chi verein
  • Eva Dorothea Schöngut
    Key Cast
  • Oxana Chi
    Key Cast
  • Tatjana Barbakoff
    Key Cast
  • Yeji Min
  • Layla Zami
  • Project Title (Original Language):
    Durch Gaerten Tanzen / Danser A Travers les Jardins
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Feature
  • Genres:
    historical and contemporary biography, socially-engaged, artistic, drama
  • Runtime:
    2 hours 20 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    October 12, 2014
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
    France, Germany, Indonesia
  • Language:
    English, German, Indonesian
  • Shooting Format:
    HD, Super 8
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
    Black & White and Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Documentary and Short Movie Awards Festival (DOSHIMA)
    September 22, 2016
    Asian Premiere
    International Gold Award Winner, Filmmaker of Inspiration
  • Other Europe(s) International Symposium
    June 25, 2016
    MLA Award
  • xart splitta Monthly Film Series
    Berlin, Germany
    March 8, 2015
    Women's Day Special Selection
  • Cultural Series at Women's Center "Schokofabrik"
    Berlin, Germany
    February 13, 2015
  • Filmbühne Movie Theatre am Steinplatz
    October 12, 2014
  • Begine Women's Centre
    May 21, 2016
  • Women Migration & Resistance Series, Frauenkreise Cultural Centre
    July 14, 2016
  • Gender & Society Arts Festival Bielefeld University "Gesellschaft Macht Geschlecht"
    Bielefeld, Germany
    November 17, 2014
    Gesellschaft Macht Geschlecht
  • In-Vision Festival
    October 23, 2016
  • SUSI Frauenzentrum
    November 4, 2016
  • Osnabrück University
    June 1, 2017
  • Bundesplatz Kino
    December 3, 2017
  • Pratt Institute
    United States
    November 15, 2018
    North American Premiere
Distribution Information
  • Fembooks
    Country: Germany
Director Biography - Oxana Chi, Layla Zami

LAYLA ZAMI (Paris, 1985) is an interdisciplinary artist and scholar working with video, music, photo, and words. She holds a PhD from Humboldt-University Berlin and an M.A. from the Paris School of International Affairs Sciences Po. Former Visiting Research Scholar at Columbia University, she received several awards including a Fellowship from the German Federal Ministry of Education Talents Program, and the French Prize "Envie d'Agir" for Dancing Through Gardens, and the Stiftung Zurückgeben Award for Jewish Women in Arts and Sciences. She is currently Visiting Assistant Professor of Humanities and Media Studies at Pratt Institute in New York. Zami also serves as Board Member and Co-Curator at the International Human Rights Art Festival in New York City.

OXANA CHI is an award-winning filmmaker, performing artist and curator. Born in Germany, she is based in NYC since 2015 and was a 2017-2018 Artist-in-Residence at Abrons Arts Center. She has won many prizes and grants including Berlin City Council for the Arts, Fondation pour la Mémoire de la Shoah, LGBT Fonds Elledorado, Gerda-Weiler-Stiftung für feministische Forschung and Fonds Darstellender Künste. Together with Dr. Zami she has performed, presented and screened work at international venues, festivals, and universities such as NYU Tisch School, Rutgers University, University of Toronto, Bielefeld University, Humboldt-University Berlin, Technical University Berlin, New Delhi NCUI Auditorium and Convention Centre. For this movie, Oxana Chi received the Gold Award "Filmmaker of Inspiration" (DOSHIMA 2016) and has been crowned as Ambassador of Peace by the Indonesian government and royal family.

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Director Statement

A unique dancing HERstory produced by the artist duo Oxana Chi & Layla Zami. This thought-provoking and breath-taking movie is writing the missing pages of history books... It stands for all the other biographies of women whose art and culture strongly contributed to the culture we know today, but who have been forgotten or have not been officially acknowledged yet. "Dancing Through Gardens" embraces the flexible standpoint of contemporary dance to stretch connections between remembering the past and moving towards the future.