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The Rite

About Us

dance theater that moves the soul

Project Zahira creates incredibly sensorial dance theater productions. The company is based out of Amsterdam and works project by project. Zahira Mous's (artistic director) vision for the company is to allow all parties involved in the creation of a performance to be touched by the process. Project Zahira creates socially engaged works and honors the sacred feminine, functioning from the modality of women empowered leadership, creating with compassion and inviting the soul into the creative process. Performances engage the audience to be pulled into an interpersonal experience. In Reclaiming the Goddess we show the process of women finding their power and creating a supportive sisterhood, including live cello; the formerly forbidden instrument for girls & women to play. Now, in the new production, THE RITE, Zahira is bringing light to the topic of femicide... something that is not nearly enough spoken about. 

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Our Story

Project Zahira was founded with the desire to bring women together in a supportive environment in the arts, pioneering compassionate leadership in dance and creating deeply meaningful works in the realm of what we call 'spiritual dance theater,' bringing meditation to the theater. Zahira started her professional choreography career in 2006 in the Netherlands after which she lived in the United States for five years to explore creating a range of works. She returned in 2013 and continued her choreographic creations in Amsterdam. By 2015 she met Merel Cornet whom co-created De Doos, which turned into Who am I without my story? when we asked Maria Kuchowicz to join the cast in 2017.


Project Zahira gained her name officially when the three of them went on tour to Greece for the 50th World Congress of Dance Research in Athens, Greece. By the end of the year the artistic team started research for Reclaiming the Goddess and with some changes in the cast, ultimately landed on Merel and Maria plus Jacqueline Back and Ivana Berkhout. RTG was premiered in September 2019 and had an incredible last performance in January of 2020 in Zahira's home town. In 2022, Zahira launched Soul Famine; an absurdist tragicomic performance solo about depression.


THE RITE will be performed as pre-shows from 14 - 17 September, 2023 in Amsterdam - a piece inspired by the 1913 ballet Le Sacre du Printemps - placing its content in contemporary context of femicide. Creation & performance by Ivana Berkhout and Zahira Mous.

Meet The Team

honoring former cast members

Merel Cornet

Dancer & co-creator of De Doos, Who am I without my story? and Reclaiming the Goddess

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