International storydancer, performer, educator and humanitarian. Zuleikha grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, a center for cultural interchange and artistic innovation. She studied Western classical music, and devoted years to the exploration of so-called “natural movement” and avant-garde dance with choreographer Anna Halprin. Interested in how different cultures find expression in movement, Zuleikha also studied the foundations of Chinese martial arts, esoteric therapeutic movement, and Japanese and Balinese dance. She attended the Ali Akbar College of Music, which was the first classical Indian music college in the West, and later studied with the Afghan musician Ustad Hashim Chishti, who was an exponentmand master of the myriad expressions of North Indian classical music, including melody (raga), rhythm and dance.
As Zuleikha’s practice of various art forms and sacred traditions deepened, she became aware of profound commonalities. She realized that “underlying all of these creative expressions are ancient technologies containing wisdom on how the body, mind and spirit come together through movement.” In performance, Zuleikha started to work with a synthesis of dance, storytelling, poetry, music and humor. She developed movement techniques of body, mind and spirit awareness that have become integral to her presentations. For example, she performs her own style of whirling through focusing on “the roots of inner space.” Zuleikha’s “whirling” is considered by many to be one of the highlights of the Rumi Concert, an inspirational collaboration among Zuleikha, Coleman Barks, the well-known poet and interpreter of Rumi, and world class musicians. Presented to audiences throughout the world, the Rumi Concert exemplifies the connection between artistic expression and the inner experience of the Divine.
(Excerpt from article about Zuleikha, “The Dancer is in the Dance,” by Susan Skeele for SUFI, Issue 85, Summer 2013