Sashar Zarif is a multi-disciplinary performing artist, educator and researcher. His practice is steeped in the artistry and history of traditional and ritualistic performing arts including Sufi and Shamanic practices of the Near East and Central Asia. He has formulated a contemporary dance style by integrating classical poetry, music and the dance of these areas. It is called Dance of Mugham. His special pedagogy and creative approach to the development and practice of dance is based on human experience and memory. Zarif’s interests are identity, globalization, and cross-cultural collaborations.
During the last two decades and across 29 countries, he promoted cultural dialogue through intensive fieldwork, residences and performances. He has toured Europe, North Africa, Central and Western Asia, the Middle East and the Americas. He is on the board of directors of Dance Ontario.
Zarif is the recipient of numerous awards working with acclaimed Canadian and international artists. He was a recipient of the 2006 Toronto International Dance Festival's Paula Citron Award. He was named the 2008 recipient of the Skills for Change New Pioneer Award for the Arts and was named an Artistic Ambassador for Diversity. He was awarded a Chalmers Fellowship Grant from the Ontario Arts Council in 2010. For his contributions, he received the honorary title of Master of Dance and was made an Honourary Faculty Member by the Uzbekistan Institute of Choreography in Tashkent in 2011. In 2012 he was awarded a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.
Keywords: Identity; globalization; cross-cultural collaborations