Born in Kanjiža, in the province of Vojvodina (in the former Yugoslavia, and today’s Serbia) into a Hungarian-speaking family.
After training at the fine arts school in Budapest, he settled in Paris, studying mime and being initiated to tai-chi, buto and contemporary dance as a performer with Sidonie Rochon, Mark Tompkins, Catherine Diverrès and François Verret.
His novel and insolent approach marked him down in the ‘80s as a pioneer of contemporary dance. Since Canard Pékinois (1987), his foundational piece, Josef Nadj has been ploughing a furrow of demanding and passionate choreography. Whether exploring texts by atypical writers (Beckett, Kafka, Michaux) or collaborating on stage with visual artists (Miquel Barceló) or musicians (Akosh Szelevényi, Joëlle Léandre), Josef Nadj thrives in a state of total freedom. As if eager to arouse our senses, he blends references, signs and materials. Swinging between reality and oneirism, between tradition and modernity, he poses the essential question: man’s relationship with himself.
A choreographer and dancer, but also a visual artist and photographer, he beholds humankind with a poetic and passionate gaze, always searching for fresh forms. The originality of his creative flair derives from his artistic pathway through the convulsions of European history. Josef Nadj is an artist without borders or barriers.
Josef Nadj has authored 40-plus dance works and exhibitions staged in nearly 50 countries. He has been a guest artist at major international events (Avignon Festival, International Tchekhov Festival, Prague Quadriennial...). Over the years, his creations have unarguably become fixtures in the contemporary dance repertoire.
Josef Nadj was made a Knight of France’s Order of Arts and Letters in 2002, for his work’s contribution to the promotion of the arts in France and worldwide. In 2011 he was promoted to the rank of Officer. He headed the National Choreography Centre (CCN) of Orléans from 1995 to 2016, before founding his new company, Atelier 3+1, in Paris in 2017.