Zahira has dedicated her life to the art of bellydance. An accomplished artist Zahira is best known for her charisma, powerful stage presence and engaging performances.
Possessing exceptional technique, musicality, captivating expression, intense creativity and exhilarating artistry, Zahira has a strong background in drama, music and movement. She became a protégé of Hannan Sultan and Roula Said in her formative years and since falling in love with bellydance in 2002, she developed an impressive C.V. of dance training with some of the world’s best teachers. Notable influences include: Aziza, Saida and Amir Thaleb of Argentina, Rachel Brice, Yousry Sharif, Shazadi of Mexico, Jillina, Randa Kamal, Aida Nour, Tito Seif, Hadia, Ariellah, Mira Betz, Sadie and many more luminaries, with whom she continues to expand her knowledge and practice.
Zahira excels at both Egyptian and international bellydance styles, and she is a pioneer of Steampunk bellydance in Canada. A true master of props, her skill with sword, zills and Isis Wings is remarkable, she’s also an excellent performer with cane and veil and her expertise extends to Fan Veils, double veil and Shamadan.
As a performer, Zahira was a founding member of the Sultanettes, collaborated with Roula Said's Roulettes, was a lead dancer with Rhythm of the Nile Dance Company (2007 - 2009) and performed regularly with Mirage (2009 - 2013)
Zahira has performed internationally in the USA, Mexico and Tunisia and in Toronto at events such as Luminato, the Taste of the Danforth, (IBCC) International Bellydance Conference of Canada, FanExpo, Grand Canadian Steampunk Exposition, Nuit Blanche and Steam on Queen. As a highly sought-after soloist she performs at private functions, weddings, restaurants, festivals and corporate events.
Zahira is a member of the International Dance Council (CID -UNESCO) and CADA (Canadian Association of Dance Artists).
ZAHIRA, Choreographer / Artistic Director
As artistic director, Zahira aims to bring the art of bellydance to all audiences in a way that puts forth the vocabulary of bellydance as a movement language in its own right, as an art form with many facets, colors and shades, from the traditional to the avant-garde; with deep respect for the art form and the cultures that saw its birth and embracing its international resonance, the ripples of creativity and experimental richness it can and has inspired.
As a choreographer Zahira demands a lot from herself and her dancers with brilliant results, from deep feeling to technical prowess to prop mastery; she looks to create movement poetry with every piece, where the group shines as a unit without obscuring each dancer in her unique and magical individuality. Unity & synchronicity full of personality and organic cohesion.
Every year Zahira choreographs innumerable pieces for students and professionals. In October of 2015 she realised her most ambitious project to date: "Luminescence" a full length professional bellydance production showcasing traditional and modern bellydance, folklore and fusion.
Zahira is cherished by all her students. As an instructor, her commanding yet nurturing persona make her a beloved and effective teacher; with a friendly approach she is supportive of her students and looks to help them achieve their full potential.
Zahira brings to her classes her extensive academic, musical and movement background as well as extensive teaching training from academia (from her experience as Teaching Assistant at UofT as well as a full time professor at the University of Hidalgo, Mx), from musical teaching (she was a Yamaha organ instructor with Grade 6 for over 6 years) and bellydance specific teaching training (Hadia Level 1 as well as personal mentoring with Hannan Sultan and Roula Said). With great ability to understand and address different learning styles, Zahira's classes are upbeat, dynamic, challenging, rewarding, well informed in the culture of the dance, effective and deeply enjoyable.
Zahira was a founding Faculty member at Hannan’s Bellydance Studio, where she shared her passion for dance for over 4 years (2006-2010), creating a dedicated following of numerous students some of which have gone on to become accomplished professionals and rising stars. She also taught for over a year with Roula Said at OmLaila Bellydance.
In 2010 she founded Dragonfly Bellydance Studio with her partner Ruyah so she could pursue her own bellydance dreams and share her open and creative approach to bellydance with the Toronto community.
ZAHIRA, Academic and more
Zahira has dedicated her life to the art of bellydance. Having found bellydance almost by accident in 2002, her love for Middle Eastern & Mediterranean history and culture as well as for music and dance extend way beyond that, to her early childhood. Her love for art, culture and history led her to acquire a BA in Art History, followed by an MA also in Art History (UofT) and to become a PhD candidate in Medieval Studies (ABD, UofT) with a focus on dance and musical performance in al-Andalus.
A natural performer with a deep musical ear, she studied music as a teenager and drama in her early adulthood. Her connection to bellydance, to its music and movement vocabulary was instant and became a growing source of joy, magic and wellness as her skills grew and her knowledge deepened. A source of pride for her teachers and mentors she rapidly became a "star" student. Always eager to learn more she developed an impressive CV of dance training under some of the most recognized international luminaries and became a true professional of the dance.
Zahira brings her extensive knowledge of art and culture and her great love for dance to enrich her interpretations, filling her performances with artistry, excitement and delight.