10 Days: Sashar Zarif Dance Theatre

Jan. 14, 2020

DanceWeekend'20 is 10 days away and today we are highlighting Sashar Zarif Dance Theatre.

Dance Ontario's DanceWeekend is happening January 25 & 26, 2020 at the Fleck Dance Theatre, Harbourfront Centre.


Can you tell us little bit about your company/collective/school?

With over 20 years of performing history in over 40 countries across the globe, Toronto based Sashar Zarif Dance Theatre (EST 1994) is committed to the integrity of fine arts by bringing attention and awareness to life through research, education, and creative exploration. SZDT works in multi-dimensions of time and space through dance, and is committed to connecting the past to the future through a contemporary examination of the notion of place/home. SZDT specializes in the investigation of identity (the way human relates to the environment around them) focusing on Central and Western Asian Cultures, performing arts of Sufi and/or Shamanic cultures, cross-cultural collaborations, and identity.

What are showing at DanceWeekend’20?

Kismat, the opposite of Destiny

Kizmat is a ritual of sound and movement exploring the question of. accepting Kismet as fate, never taking a risk opposed to crafting a destiny that offers potential for what may happen. This dance work is in the contemporary style of Maugham that is informed by the Sufi and Shamanic transformation ritual. Attesting to the sacredness of stage with the witnessing audience the performers embody the space and time in raptures of interrupted stillness and silence.

“Forfeit the call of stillness with glides of movement

Claiming our serenity in the midst of the passing and possessing

A journey of outlandish fragmented surmise

And how refreshing is this phase of uncertainty

And the probabilities of magic”  Sashar Zarif

Who are the performers/collaborators in this piece(s)?

Choreographer and Composer:  Sashar Zarif

Performers:  Luke Garwood, Mateo Galindo Torress, Yiming Cai, Sebastian Oreamuno and Sashar Zarif

Creative Facilitator: Katherine Duncanson

Costume Designer: Sashar Zarif

Lighting Design: Arun Srinivasan

Can you talk about your creative process? What inspires you?

My creative process is nurture by my intuition more than my creativity.  It is a process of a collective inquiry into the body, mind and emotional memory carried within each participants. The goal is to become a human dancing not a dancing human as expressed by my mentor Elizabeth Langely. It is firstly inspired by the Sufi and shamanic rituals of self discovery and when these inspirations interact with every participating individuals experience the out come reveals the dance.

Please share your experience performing in a previous DanceWeekend and/or tell us what you are looking forward to at DanceWeekend’20?

I have had the privilege of performing at DanceWeekend for nearly two decades. This event to me holds a very special place. It is a sacred gathering of artists whom carry and make history in and through their body. An occasion where Ontario Artist come together and revisit or meet each other.

I am looking forward to renew my artistic relationship with Ontario.

What is one surprising or interesting fact about your company/collective/school?

Sashar Zarif Dance Theatre like many other Ontario based Dance Companies are the fruits of Ontario’s beautiful diversity in negotiation, revealing the possibilities that “being different” can offer to life and to humanity.

Do you have any up-coming performances/events you would like to share?

February 14-15, 2020

Presented by Citadel + Compagnie and wind in the leaves collective, through Bright Nights Performing Arts Series wind in the leaves with allies and friends.

Artists: Sashar Zarif, Aria Evans, wind in the leaves collective

Sashar Zarif will perform HAQ, a solo using Sufi poetries; and Aria Evans will present a duet exploring how we find our roots to become grounded in belonging, responsibility, vulnerability, and compassion. The evening is curated by Charles C. Smith.

Photo by Natalie King