2006-2011 PhD Candidate, (ABD) Medieval Studies
University of Toronto, Canada.
Dissertation topic: Dancers and Performers in Al Andalus
2004-2006 Associate Professor, Dept. of History and Anthropology.
University of the State of Hidalgo
2002-2004 MA History of Art
University of Toronto
1997-2002 BA Art History, Honours Graduate
Universidad del Claustro de Sor Juana,
CAPDEC-ANDA, Mexico city. (The program included 2 semesters of Ballet foundations, 1 semester
of Jazz, one semester of Contemporary dance, one semester of acrobatics among other movement
classes as well as theatrical and stage makeup).
CHOREOGRAPHER / ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
~ Dragonfly Dance Company, Dragonfly Student Troupe, Dragonettes
~ Full length Bellydance Theatrical Production "Luminescence", Alumnae Theatre, Oct. 2015
~ Full length Bellydance Theatrical Production "Alchemy: An Anthology of Steampunk Stories", Alumnae Theatre, Nov, 2017
MIDDLE EASTERN DANCE TRAINING
Regular classes, Intensive Training, Teaching Training
* Dance Educators International workshop, January, 2016.
* Intensive training with Aziza, Blainville Quebec, (Winter, 2015)
* Completed HADIA’s Level 1 Teacher’s Training Program, 2008.
* Intensive training (private instruction, mentoring and regular classes) with Hannan Sultan and Roula Said, Toronto (2004-2008)
* Tribal Fusion workshops with Audra Simmons.
* Advanced bellydance weekly classes with Shazadi, Mexico City, 2004-2005
* Weekly classes with Mayada and Arabesque Dance Academy, summer 2004
* Weekly classes with Ilana Salazar, Fall 2002- Spring 2004
Seminars and Workshops with International Instructors and Master Teachers
* Oscar Flores, Fusion, Fan Veils, Veil, Tango -Bellydance Fusion, March 9 - 11, 2018.
* Assala Ibrahim, Iraqi Dance Intensive, Nov 25-26, 2017.
* Katalyn Schaffer, Fluidity in Transitions; Jazz Bellydance Fusion, July 2016.
* Aziza, Master Class: Extreme Technique & Stage Craft; Taqsim & Fluidity in Transitions; Traveling Steps & Combinations: Oriental Choreography. May 2016
* Aziza, Oriental Choreography, Saidi, traveling steps and technique, July 2015 (Ottawa)
* Luna of Cairo, Egyptian bellydance Oriental Choreography, Egyptian technique and Shaabi choreography, July 2014
* Sadie Marquardt, Pops, locks and shimmies; Rolls, Flutters and Undulations; Drum solo choreography; Drum solo secrets,
workshop weekend, March 2014.
* Nath Keo, bellydance workshop, February 2014.
* Luna of Cairo, Egyptian Shaabi workshop, June 2013
* IBCC 2012 workshops: April Rose, Mahmoud Reda, Sashar Zarif, Paola Blanton, Tamalyn Dallal.
* Randa Kamal Oriental and Folklore workshops, May 2011.
* IBCC 2010 workshops: Amel Tafsout, Sera Solstice, Jillina, Cassandra Shore.
* Hannan Sultan, Bellydance 2.0, Chatham Ontario, Winter 2009.
* Ariellah workshop, April 2009.
* Mira Betz workshop, April 2009.
* Hannan Sultan, workshops, October 2008.
* IBCC 2008 workshops: Tito, Aida Nour, Amy Sigil, Bozenka, Mayyadah & Amir, Lopa Sarkar, Ranya Renee.
* Hadia and Denise Enan workshops: Turkish Rom, Oriental Technique and Beledi workshops, May 2008, Kingston, ON.
* Ariellah, workshops: “The darker side of drilling” and “Expressive Arms”, January 26-27, 2008
* Aziza Intensive Workshop, Toronto, August 2-5, 2007.
* IBCC 2007 workshops: Amir Thaleb, Randa Kamal, Sahra Saida, April, 2007.
* Jillina, workshop, Toronto, 2007
* Nath Keo workshop, Toronto, April 2007.
* Jim Boz workshop, Toronto, February 17-18, 2007.
* Sharon Kihara workshop, Toronto, September, 2006.
* Fahtiem workshops, Oriental technique and finger cymbals, Mexico city, May 27-28, 2006.
* Yousry Sharif, workshops and Master class, Mexico city, February 25-26, 2006.
* Amar Gamal workshops, Mexico city, Oriental technique and choreography, January 21-22, 2006.
* Saida Helou workshop, Mexico city, Classical Arabic choreography, technique, Folkloric styles, Spring 2005.
* Rania workshops, Mexico city, Khaleegy, Folklore, Oriental technique, October 1-2, 2005.
* Ansuya workshops, Toronto, July 9-10, 2005.
* Zahra Zuhair, workshops, Mexico city, March 5-6, 2005.
* Rania workshops, Drum Solo, Sword, Isis Wings, Oriental, Mexico city, November 6-7, 2004.
* Rachel Brice workshops, Toronto, July 2004.
* Magdy el-Leysy, workshop, Toronto, summer 2004.
Seminars and Workshops with Local Instructors
* Ya Amar & Lavish, “It’s all Bellydance” weekend workshops, November 2015.
* Anjelica Scannura, Flamenco Bellydance workshop, May 2015
* Abigail Derbecker, Reda Style footwork and floor pattern, May 2015
* Joharah Kolishenko, Egyptian Clinic, March 2015
* Danielle Davies, Urban Fusion, March 2015
* Iana Komarnytska, Persian Classical Choreography, January 2015
* Anjelica Scannura, Flamenco Bellydance workshop, November 2014
* Joanna de Souza, Kathak for Tribal Bellydancers, April 2014.
* Roula Said, Daret el Ayram workshop, choreography, November 2013
* Iana Komarnytska, Ballet foundation for bellydancers, Winter 2013
* Iana Komarnytska, Turkish Rom workshop, Fall 2012
* Danielle Lottridge, “From the nitty gritty to the evocative”, Sept. 2012.
* Roula Said, The 7 Waves Bellydance Holistic Approach and Zills workshops, Summer 2012.
* Laura McCutchan (Serpentina) ATS Fundamentals with Laura McCutchan, Spring 2012.
* Laura Atma, Tribal Fusion choreography, Spring 2012.
* Danielle Lottridge “In-Fusion of Creativity” trio workshops: “Slinky sideways moves”, “ Soft, Strong and Integrated Arms”,
“Compelling creative combos” August - September 2011.
* Sarah Skinner, Turkish bellydance choreography to "Mastika", 2010.
* Hannan Sultan, "So you want to be a Professional Bellydancer?", workshop-lecture, 2007.
* Nada Krysko, Folklore workshop, 2007.
* Melissa Nichol and Hannan Sultan, "Make up for Bellydancers", 2007.
* Yasmina Ramzy, Drum Solo choreography, summer 2005.
* Lila Zellet Elias and Marina Hidalgo, Moorish Dance workshop, Mexico city, December, 2004.
* Hannan Sultan, Oriental technique workshop, Toronto, summer 2004.
* Roula Said, Zills and Doumbek 10 -week course, Toronto, summer 2004.
* Busker Fest, guest appearance with Dr. Draw, September 4, 2016.
* Aziza Gala Show, May 7, 2016, Palmerston Library Theatre.
* “Luminescence” by Dragonfly Dance Company, October 8 - 11, 2015 Alumnae Theatre. Artistic Director,
choreographer, lead dancer.
* Hip Hip Hooray Cabaret, August 2014, May 2015, November 2015, solo with live music and duet performances with
* Grand Canadian Steampunk Exhibition, solo and group performances, September 2014, September 2015, September
2016, & September 2017, Niagara-on-the-Lake.
* Dragonfly Rocks the Boat: a Vaudeville Fundraiser, April 2015, (organization, group and solo performances)
* Luna of Cairo Gala Show, July 17, 2014
* LCCA "Beyond our Roots", Visual Arts Exhibition Opening, Gallery 1313. May 2014.
* Ad-Astra, solo and group performances, April 5, 2014.
* Steam on Queen, solo and group performances, June 23, 2012; June 2013, October 2013, March 2014
* Sadie Gala Show, March 29, 2014
* Nuit Blanche, Moonlight Tribe A Nuit Blanche party, solo and group performances, 2011, 2012
* Pride Toronto, 2012, 2013, 2015 duet, group & solo performances.
* Bellydance BiZzarre, Kitchener, October 2012.
* IBCC 2012, solo and group performances, May 2012.
* LCCA "Beyond our Roots", Visual Arts Exhibition Opening , Gallery 1313, February 2012.
* Mirage Gala shows, group and solo performances 2009, 2010, 2011, 2014.
* Great Lakes Convention, Michigan, USA. Featured instructor solo performance, November 2011.
* Johnny Hollow concert, featured dance artist, duet and solo performance to the live band, October, 2011.
* Featured dance artist (solo and group performances) at several Steampunk events organized by the Toronto Steampunk
Society, Fall 2011.
* Feature dance artist (solo and group performances) at Salon Noir – Dark Cabaret, Sept., 2011.
* FanExpo 2011, solo and group performances with the Airship Pirate Project and Mirage, August 2011.
* Canadian National Steampunk Exhibition, group and solo performances, May 2011.
* Regular performer at Casa Barcelona, Spanish Restaurant, 2980 Bloor St. W., (2011 – present)
* Bourghiba School Dinner Gala, Tunis, Tunisia, Summer 2010.
* AYYAM ZAMAN: Rhythm of the Nile dance production. Group and solo performances under the direction of Nada
Krysko and Abigail Derbeker. Zahira was chosen to portray the legendary Badia Masabni. (October 3rd, 2009).
* Rhythm of the Nile Gala Show: directed by Nada Krysko and Hannan Sultan, group performances, October, 2008.
* Feature dance artist at PAN on the Danforth, Greek Restaurant, 516 Danforth Av. (2006-present)
* Regular performer at Shiraz, Persian Restaurat, 9185 Yonge St. Richmond Hill (2008- 2010).
* Regular feature performer at Mayada’s Rak n’ Roll and Roula Said’s Funk ‘a Belly.
* Taste of the Danforth, solo and group performances, August 10-12, 2007 and August 7-9, 2009.
* Hadia Gala Show, May 23, 2008, hosted by Adishakti, Kingston, ON.
* Luminato, as soloist and in group performances as member of Rhythm of the Nile Dance Company, 2008.
* Inversion: Rewind, an evening of Tribal and alternative bellydance, April 19, 2008, The Dark Side Studio. Solo and duet with
* Aziza Gala Show, Estonian House, Toronto, August 5, 2007.
* Raquy and the Cavemen, concert-show, July 22, 2007.
* Internacional Bellydance Conference of Canada 2008, Open Stage solo performance.
* International Bellydance Conference of Canada 2007, Open Stage solo performance, Open Stage Troupe
performance (Sultannettes Faculty) and Main Stage performance with Rhythm of the Nile Dance Company, April 18-22, 2007.
* Jim Boz Gala, Estonian House, February 17, 2007.
* Sharon Kihara Gala Show, organized by the Dark Side Studio, September, 2006.
* Canada Day, Harbourfront Centre, with the Roulettes, July 1, 2006.
* “Arabe de Corazon”, full concert-show production at the University of the State of Hidalgo, Mexico, February 4, 2006.
Organizer and Soloist Dancer.
* Amar Gamal Gala Show, Mexico city, January 21, 2006.
* Featured dance artist at Cafe “Al-Basha”, Pachuca, Mexico, 2006.
* Other performances include numerous Student Recitals and Haflas at Dragonfly Bellydance, Hannan’s Bellydance Studio and
OmLaila Bellydance, all in Toronto and with Shazadi in Mexico city as well as diverse community events such as Pedestrian
Special Performances with RENOWNED BANDS & MUSICIANS
~ Raquy and the Cavemen, 2007
~ Nomadica, 2009
~ Prof. George Sawa and Ensemble, 2009 & 2011
~ Johnny Hollow, 2011
~ Abney Park, 2015, 2017.
~ Dr. Draw, 2016
~ Prof. Elemental, 2017
INSTRUCTION, PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE
~ Dance Instructor
2010 – present Owner, Artistic Director, Troupe Director and Instructor at Dragonfly Bellydance.
Beginner to Professional levels, specialty classes and workshops.
2006 – 2010 Bellydance instructor at Hannan’s Bellydance Studio. Beginner to Advance levels, specialty classes and workshops.
2006 - 2008 Bellydance instructor at OmLaila Bellydance.
~ Featured Workshop Instructor
* 2018 - 2019 ~ Middle Eastern Fitness Instructor / Collaborator with an outreach program for Newcomer women with Cardio Fusion Toronto.
* 2015 - November - Featured instructor at “It’s all Bellydance” workshop weekend organized by the Dark Side Studio, Toronto.
* 2015 - September - Featured instructor, “Steampunk Bellydance” at the Grand Canadian Steampunk Exhibition,
* 2014 - September - Featured instructor, “Steampunk Bellydance” at the Grand Canadian Steampunk Exhibition,
* 2012 – October – Featured instructor for 2 workshops at Bellydance BiZzarre weekend, Kitchner, ON, organized by BellyUp.
* 2010 – November – Featured instructor at the Great Lakes Bellydance Convention, Michigan, USA.
GROUPS, ENSEMBLES and COMPANIES
2014 - present Dragonfly Dance Company, Artistic Director, choreographer, lead
2011 – present Dragonettes – (Steampunk fusion ensemble) Artistic Director,
choreographer, lead dancer
2011 – present Dragonfly Student Troupe Artistic Director, choreographer.
2009 – 2014 Mirage Bellydance, lead dancer, guest choreographer.
2007 – 2009 Rhythm of the Nile Dance Company, lead dancer.
2006 – 2007 Sultanettes Troupe, dancer
2006 – June Roulettes, guest appearance.
ORGANIZER, ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
* Oscar Flores in Toronto, March 9 - 11, 2018, workshop and show organizer.
* "Alchemy: An Anthology of Steampunk Stories", Dragonfly Dance Company 2nd full length production, Alumnae Theatre, Nov 9 - 12, 2017
* Aziza in Toronto, May 6 - 8 2016, workshop and show organizer.
* "Luminescence" , Dragonfly Dance Company debut production, Alumnae Theatre, October 8 - 11, 2015.
* Dragonfly Rocks the Boat: A Vaudeville Fundraiser, at ‘The Boat Kensington’, April 2015.
* Dragonfly Student Showcase, George Ignatieff Theatre, May 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016.
* Majlis!, Dragonfly Dance Studio, March 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015.
* Diverse Haflas and event nights at Dragonfly Dance Studio, 2010 - present.
* “Arabe de Corazón” , full bellydance concert show in Pachuca, Hgo, Mexico organized with bellydancer Maria Shazadi and
the University of the State of Hidalgo, 2005.
OTHER RELATED ACTIVITIES
2013 – 2014 Special Appearance as translator (English to Spanish) and featured dancer in Prof. George Sawa’s YouTube series
“Arabic Music Appreciation for Bellydancers”
2012 – Fall Translator for the book “Arabic Music Appreciation for Bellydancers” by Dr. George Sawa, from the English
original to Spanish.
2012 - Summer Appearance in the Space Channel regarding Steampunk Bellydance Fusion.
2012 – May Lecture: “The Rhetoric of Dance: the Medieval Salome” at IBCC.
2012 Bellydance documentary by the Associate Press Television News.
2010 - Summer Intensive Arabic language studies at Bourghiba School, Tunis.
2005 Three Conferences regarding the History and Interpretation(s) of Oriental Dance, UNAM and UAEH, Mexico.
2005 Appearance in the DVD Aziza Ultimate Practice Companion.
1994 – 2000 Music Instructor – Electronic Organ, Mexico. (Yamaha) (Zahira holds a Grade 6 in Yamaha Electone)
1997 Classical Ballet, School of Arts, Pachuca, Mexico (weekly classes for 2 cuatrimesters).
1997 Mexican Folkloric dances, School of Arts, Pachuca, Meico (weekly classes for 2 cuatrimesters).
1993 Course in Modeling and Personality, Salvador Dali Academy, Mexico. The course included posture and runway
modeling, photoshoot modeling, and make up techniques.
Zahira has a strong basic foundation in Ballet, Jazz, Contemporary, Mexican Folklore, Latin dances (including Tango) and aerobic dance movement, acquired from an early age and throughout her life.
Spoken – Spanish, English
Reading - French, Italian, Latin
Basic knowledge of Arabic