Nazir was born free in the Rep Dem of the Congo. He grew up in Christian Schools from British Boarding to The American School of Kinshasa. Upon graduation the family migrated to Canada where he pursued numerous careers. While in University he took courses in Social and round dance and ballroom dance. All this was relegated to the back burner as he pursued studies to attain professional designations in Accounting and Finance and after a stint In Global Financial Regulations, he returned to his passion of Hospitality as a Manager of an Inn. As a hobby he taught fitness and after being diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis he took up Yoga. While at Yoga school he got the opportunity to choreograph a dance for the end of the yoga teaching session.
In 2018 he was introduced to Sufi Whirling dance by Farima Berenji and this resonated with Nazir as he was fascinated by the Sufi tradition of the Ismailies. He is continuing to read about the glorious tradition and is now sharing his new found passion by spreading the love for the divine as expressed in the Sufi Whirling prayer and dance with weekly workshops in Calgary.
Gita was born in Tehran, Iran, and in the early 1980’s immigrated to Sweden with her family. As a young teenager, she quickly learned the new language and culture and adapted to the new lifestyle. Years went by, she finished college and became a productive member of the society. People always told her that she accomplished a lot in her life, but they didn’t know that during this journey she had lost the connection to her roots. Gita always loved to dance but had never taken any classes; except a Jazz class for one year in Sweden in her early 20’s. Gita loves to travel and has visited many countries. In the mid 1990’s, she moved to the U.S. and has lived in many different states since then. In 2007, Gita ended up in Anchorage where she connected with the Iranian community. Anchorage is a very diverse city with people from all around the world; as such, she became involved attending Iranian cultural events. In 2015, she saw Farima whirling at a cultural event in Anchorage. Watching Farima representing Iranian culture through dance and poetry made her feel as if she found a treasure that she had lost many years ago. Gita decided to join Farima’s dance company to keep, nourish, and represent her beautiful culture through dance. Gita has been a member since 2015.
“Thank you Farima and my Alaska dance group for helping me reconnect to my roots.” — Gita
Rashid Shadat is a well-known performer, originally from Tashkent, Uzbekistan. His work in Central Asia included lead roles in popular films during early 2000’s, plus regular TV appearances and as a daily radio host on Auto Radio Hamroh FM102.
Now living in London, Rashid has expanded his portfolio to include work as an extra in big budget films. In 2015 alone he worked on Spectre (James Bond), Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation and the new Jason Bourne film released in 2016. He worked as an extra on the 2017 remake of the classic superhero film, Wonder Woman.
In addition to film, Rashid is also well known in London as a host for cultural and arts events, and starred in his own one-man show, Dervish, at the Lion and Unicorn Theatre in 2012.
With 10 years of theatre experience including acting and directing, Rashid is also a well known folk dancer, having performed at dance and music festivals in London, Sweden, Greece and Germany over the last five years.