A recipient of several Arts Council grants throughout her career, Zjamal has been choreographing and performing her own work since 1978. Her first piece for the University Dancers was performed at the Kenneth Maidment Theatre in Auckland, New Zealand. Her performance troupe toured tertiary colleges and university campuses in the greater Auckland region to occasional acclaim and the odd boot bombing.  She trained with Movement Theatre, Raewyn Thorburn’s inaugural contemporary dance school, instrumental in getting accreditation for dance and performing arts in Auckland, and worked for their Dance in Education company of the same name. At the end of her time in New Zealand, she was a member of a small project based company of independent dancers, under Thorburn's direction, and the people who worked with her then are still important to her now.

The years she spent working at the School for New Dance were a time of experimentation and consolidation of her vision. She created several performance length pieces between 1984 and 1994. Her major production, The Songs and Naming from Silent Stone, funded by the Institute for Theatre Research in Holland, was an anthropological journey that portrayed feminine cultural history in an interdisciplinary epic. As in all her work, this piece integrated dance, music, text, ritual action, myth and story-telling, in visual environments. In Europe she performed in works by Fast Forward, Cloud Chamber, Katie Duck, and Cathie Caraker.  She has frequently collaborated with other performers, both in Europe and the USA, including Alito Alessi, Olivia Corson, Z'ev, Olive Bieringa, and in the performance groups Ashen Path and Night Rides. 

Since moving to Australia in 1999 Zjamal has been a guest presenter at several dance departments, and was commissioned to make a work for Top Moves Mixed Ability Company. She still collaborates with other performers, most recently as a member of the inaugural Sunshine Coast Playback Theatre Company. Zjamal has performed in her own works at the Bodyworks Festival in Melbourne and at the Noosa Regional Art Gallery. She has choreographed for the opening of the Woodford Folk Festival, the Mad Mardi Gras Festival, the Splash! Festival, and the Centenary of Federation celebrations for the Maroochy shire. For the last 15 years Zjamal has been exploring performance work in outdoor venues and wilderness sites.

Zjamal trained in dance at Auckland University in her native New Zealand, and is a graduate of the Amsterdam College of the Arts, Holland.


2009 Zjamal Xanitha