Berlin based artist, Zahra Banzi, creates socially relevant and internationally alluring contemporary dance work, and shares her knowledge and love of dance as a teaching artist for students of all ages. Her life straddles continents and diverse cultures from Los Angeles, and Portland, OR in the United States to her birthplace in Madrid, and her youth living in Tangier, Morocco. Her drive for movement was cultivated as a child in the studios of Oslund + Co. Her formal studies began at the age of four as a scholarship student at the Oregon Ballet Theater. Zahra's ballet training began to diversify and include contemporary and modern dance elements upon acceptance into the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (LACHSA) where she graduated in 2006. She went on to study dance performance and choreography at the California Institute of the Arts (CALARTS) where she received her Bachelors degree in Fine Arts in 2010.
Upon graduation from CalArts, Zahra relocated to Portland OR where she danced for Bouand Dance Co., founded Friendly Pheromones Dance Company, and co-founded SubRosa Dance Collective. Her work has been presented in numerous festivals such as the Dance + Festival at Conduit Dance, The Green Valley Music Festival, The Galaxy Dance Festival, Fertile Ground Dance Festival, The Berlin Performing Arts Festival, and Ten Tiny Dances. She has performed work at The Columbia Center for the Arts, Khaul Auditorium, The REDCAT Theater, The Sharon Disney Lund Theater, The Barcelona Civic Center, Lincoln Hall, and The Los Angeles Theater Center among others.
As the daughter of the artistic directors of Al-Andalus Ensemble, Zahra’s work is grounded in rhythm and musicality, and heavily influenced by the cross-cultural framework of her upbringing. Her choreography for stage often includes theatrical elements and is now expanding to the realm of Dance for Film beginning with her collaboration in Living the Room -A dance film by SubRosa Dance Collective.
Zahras love for teaching began in 2008 and was since fostered through her work as a teaching artist with the Oregon Ballet Theatre, Vancouver City Ballet, The Right Brain Initiative, and Young Audiences. Her teaching work continues in Berlin where she is an instructor at PAUL Studios & The Center, as well as city wide with her children’s creative movement program KINDERTANZenglish.
Since moving to Berlin in 2014, Zahra co-founded The PAUL Collective where she spends her time teaching, curating, performing and learning. PAUL’s latest curatorial venture, The Wall Series gives performing artists worldwide a platform to perform their works in the intimate venue of PAUL Studios in Berlin.