photography by Shulamit Bushinsky
Miriam Peretz is an internationally celebrated dance instructor and performer. Over the past twenty years her signature dance style has spread across continents through her international dance collective Nava, and through the intensive training’s she offers worldwide. Miriam’s format draws heavily on sacred dances from around the world, Central Asian dance, devotional Sufi whirling and ritual. Her movement quality and aesthetics also incorporate her years of martial arts training, contemporary dance, Flamenco, and many other world dance forms.
As an instructor, Miriam has a reputation for being a highly dynamic and inspiring teacher, offering students the opportunity for self-growth, personal healing and intense physical challenge. Miriam weaves spirituality and devotion into every dance session, drawing on her personal practice as a dervish and background as a child of mystics. Her classes are infused with group rituals that help students find the deeper meaning and significance of the movements and dances. The rituals also nurture a sense of inclusivity and community, often creating deep connections amongst dancers. Regarded as a weekly ritual by her students, Miriam’s classes offer a fully integrated experience and healing journey through the terrain of the body, heart, mind and spirit. Her students often continue to study with her after many years, as she continues to find innovative ways to challenge them. Miriam holds a B.A. in performing arts with a dance emphasis from Saint Mary’s College of California, and is a certified Pilates instructor.
As a performing artist Miriam is most interested in blurring the lines between audience and performer, creating ritualistic dance art, and working with cross cultural, cross religious and devotional themes.
Miriam has been a principal dancer with Inbal Ethnic Dance Theater (Tel Aviv,) Wan Chao Chang Dance Company (Bay Area,) Aywah (Bay Area) and served as assistant artistic director of Ballet Afsaneh (Bay Area) for five years. Miriam was principal dancer, choreographer, and lead instructor with Ballet Afsaneh for over a decade. She has been a featured soloist in festivals throughout the U.S. and Europe, including the acclaimed San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival. Miriam has performed with many master musicians including; Amir Shahsar, Pezhham Akhavass, Abbos Kosimov, Efren Lopez, Habib Qaderi, and Sonja Drakulich of Stellamara.
Miriam’s love of dance has led her on a life long journey taking her throughout the Middle East and Central Asia. She has studied with master teachers from around the world and done intensives in Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Spain, Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, and Israel. She studied for three years at the Jerusalem Academy of Oriental Music and Dance where she focused on percussion, music theory, and Central Asian dance with Galia Akilov. Miriam completed an artist residency in Dushanbe, Tajikistan working with Padida Dance Theater directed by Sharofat Rashidova. Some of Miriam’s main dance mentors and inspirations are Sharlyn Sawyer (director of Ballet Afsaneh,) Wan-Chao Chang (ethno-contemporary dance pioneer,) Ilana Cohen (X-director of Inbal Ethnic Dance Company,) Fanny Ara (Flamenco artist,) Carla de Sola (liturgical dance pioneer,) and the legendary Anna Halprin.
Living both in the Middle East and the U.S. as well as traveling internationally, has offered Miriam many rich opportunities for cultural collaboration and have given her great inspiration to build bridges of respect, love and unity among people of different backgrounds and spiritual traditions. Miriam is the creator and director of the “Miriam’s Well Project”, an interfaith performance collaboration exploring sacred dance, music, and spirituality from the Muslim, Christian, and Jewish traditions.
Miriam has most recently initiated Nava Dance Collective, an international women’s collective of dancers devoted to creating meaningful artistic collaborations in the realm of traditional, ethno-contemporary, sacred and ritual dance art.
Among Miriam's future dreams include the development of a physical Dance Art Sanctuary that will be a home to the many diverse workshop & class offerings she teaches, as well as a center for other dance forms, body healing modalities, monthly rituals, and community gatherings. For now the Dance Art Sanctuary is a traveling model as Miriam strives to create a sacred community dance space in each location that she teaches in.
Dance speaks a universal language that expresses the infinite ways of the divine. It reaches beyond cultural and religious differences to express the deepest dimensions of our being, in a way no words or book could ever do.
My love of dance and movement has led me on a life-long journey through many different lands and cultures. These cultural exchanges have inspired me to search for ways that dance and the arts can help bridge cultural gaps and create respect, love and unity among people of different backgrounds.
Dance has been my means of communication with the world, my tool for unlocking the wisdom within my unconscious. My form is traditional yet contemporary, inspirational yet highly disciplined, and more than anything devotional.
I believe that dance is an important path for personal healing as it offers a uniquely powerful means of expressing deep emotion and spiritual yearning.
Within the Sacred Circle of Dance we create community, connect our hearts and send blessings and healing to one another and to the world.
My artistic inspiration is drawn from many sources including the beautifully expressive dances of the Silk Road; Sacred dances, prayers and rituals from around the world; the path of the whirling dervish; mystical Sufi & Kabbalistic teachings; flowing water, redwood groves, and silent dessert terrain.