Photo credit: Sjoerd Derine
Zahira's sense of aliveness comes through joy and her keys for that joy are creation and connection.
Their life and work are about embodied experiences that generate feelings of freedom. She facilitates this within herself and for you through creativity within dance, meditation, and writing.
From exploring artistic and spiritual practices across the globe, Zahira developed understandings of varying cultures and languages and how they influence humanity and, by extension, the arts - and vice versa,
how the arts influence humanity.
Zahira holds a Master of Fine Arts in Dance and a Graduate Certificate in Women’s & Gender Studies from The University of Oklahoma (US) and a Bachelor of Theatre in Education from Noordelijke Hogeschool Leeuwarden (NL). She is the director of dance theater company Project Zahira with a home base in Amsterdam, and the dance education outreach program Changing Lives Through Dance, and the founder of the non-profit Healing Arts Foundation.
This Renaissance Woman - as she has been called - is a dance theater maker, performer, writer, painter, cultural producer, project manager, movement therapist and activist for human rights. Zahira's choreographic works have been shown and she has facilitated her Art in Motion 'healing through the body' workshops in the United States, the Netherlands, Brazil, India, Greece, and Palestine. She is also invited internationally as a jury on dance competitions, such as the Oklahoma International Dance Festival, Solocoreografico (USA edition), and AmsterDans (NL). And since 2023, assistant director of the AmsterDans international dance competition, alongside founding directors Gary Feingold and Savina Marasi.
Zahira creates works that seamlessly merge dance and theater. Overarching themes of (the search for or the peeling away of) identity seep through Zahira’s dance theater works - with an emphasis on social awareness regarding gender (in)equality, mental health, and women's rights and empowerment.
Zahira's aim is to facilitate healing through dance; via her professional dance productions, such as THE RITE (2023), Soul Famine (2022), Reclaiming the Goddess (2019) and Who am I without my Story? (2017) as well workshops and retreats. Zahira developed the method called Art in Motion - a healing practice of movement & creativity, in which the participants are invited to listen to the wisdom of their body through dance improvisations, guided meditations, and creative assignments. People leave the workshop feeling more alive and connected to themselves with new personal insights.
Besides her professional training in dance and theater, Zahira is a certified Ayurvedic Yoga Massage therapist, aerial yoga teacher, and has completed training in art therapy, meditative therapies such as Mystic Rose and No Mind, Primal and Path of Love, and is working towards accreditation as NLP practitioner as well as a therapist for Healing the Inner Teenager (with mentor Svarup de Koning)
As a highly intuitive, Zahira creates Energy Art; these are paintings that Zahira creates by meditating on and tuning in with the client’s energy, evolving into artworks that show their aura and energy through colors and shapes. Clients perceive the commissioned art works as a mirror to their soul.
You too can get your spiritual portrait!
Beyond her work as an artist and therapist, Zahira is a writer. She writes as a dance critic and journalist for the Dutch Theaterkrant. Currently, she is finishing her memoirs.
May you be inspired to live an embodied life!