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Photo credit: Sjoerd Derine

About Zahira

Zahira is artistic director, performer, writer in the arts, cultural producer, movement therapist and human rights activist. Zahira's aliveness comes through the joy of creation and connection. Her life and work are about embodied experiences that generate feelings of freedom. They facilitate this 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 founding director of the non-profit Healing Arts Foundation.


Zahira's choreographic works seamlessly merge dance and theater; inspired by the late Pina Bausch and Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker and Doris Humphrey. Zahira creates works with overarching themes of (the search for or the peeling away of) identity - with an emphasis on social awareness regarding gender (in)equality, mental health, and women's rights and empowerment. Selected works: THE RITE (2023) about femicide, Soul Famine (2022) about mental health and depression, Reclaiming the Goddess (2019) about sacred sisterhood and sexual trauma healing, and Who am I without my Story? (2017) about peeling the layers of our social conditioning.

 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. Facilitated in  the United States, the Netherlands, Brazil, India, and 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). Since 2023, Zahira is assistant director of the AmsterDans International Competition, alongside founding directors Gary Feingold and Savina Marasi. 


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)

May you be inspired to live an embodied life!

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