About Our Company
Founded in 2007, ZiRu Wellness is a BIPOC nonprofit organization that provides unique community programs that promote healing and improve mental wellness through the art of dance with increased inclusiveness and education opportunities in the Peninsula/Silicon Valley of California. We provide expressive arts and outreach services to children, youth, and/or families.
Through ongoing engagement and outreach programs with schools, provider clinics, regional arts commissions, and other community-based organizations and nonprofits, we are tuned in through cross-sector engagement. Our widened access leads to our ability to identify, research, understand and address the most pressing challenges facing our community. We put our learning into practice by creating new work about the issue which embodies culturally specific or topic-specific movement and outreach programming.
Our programming has celebrated Asian Heritage Month with several thousand members of the Taiwanese American Cultural Association of San Francisco and has also brought to light racism by advocating for BIPOC solidarity and bringing together leaders from Stop AAPI Hate and the Asian Law Caucus. We have brought together survivors of teen suicide and the surviors’ family and friends over an 8-month period to understand their pain, be there with them through the trauma and grief, and with their consent, Artistic Director Philein Wang choreographed a piece about teen suicide.
Over the course of two and a half years, in collaboration with One Life Counseling, ZiRu Dance co-created and tested the Move and Release Dance Movement Therapy (DMT) classes. Moving forwards, we plan to adjust and cater the DMT classes for specific cultures through centering of breath and movement. For the BIPOC cultures we represent in our trauma-informed care, their form of expression is often done in community and not through conversing with an individual in the context of therapy. Therefore, providing them with this space, entering through dance, a widely practiced and established community-based bonding activity is a way to bring communities and individuals together to move and heal.
We continue to offer dance performance and Dance Movement Therapy as a source of healing and resilience to and with our community.
The Silicon Valley Dance Festival (SVDF), inaugurated in 2016 and hosted annually at Menlo Atherton Performing Arts Center to showcase world class contemporary dance that is not seen elsewhere on the Peninsula.
Move and Release, a new initiative created in collaboration with One Life Counseling Center, provides dance/movement therapy classes for persons with PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). After 2 beta class series, the Move and Release classes are available for a wider audience and have been adapted for Silicon Valley BIPOC youth and seniors to address the social isolation, mental health issues, xenophobia, and racism experienced in our community. This program is an outgrowth from our pandemic-era Project Dance-O.F.F. (Dance Online-Free-For-Fall) that provided live, virtual dance classes for both adults and youth.
The creation and premiere of new dance works:
This season ZiRu will continue working on two works that magnify our local BIPOC community. The first, PERSPECTIVES, will use dance, cultural identity, storytelling, and racial justice advocacy to explore how we engage with live art in a post-COVID, multiracial community. This project is an expansion of VANTAGE, which explored 4 distinct cultural perspectives: AAPI, African American, LatinX, and Mixed Race. The work examined their respective cultural experiences of social injustice and racism through the eyes of 4 choreographers. PERSPECTIVES builds on the momentum of VANTAGE, and will include the work of 3 additional choreographers - Jewish American, Arab, and native Taiwanese - exploring their cultural experiences.
The second work, Pathways to Recovery, is being created in partnership with the Latinx-focused OneLife Counseling Center in San Carlos, and addresses PTSD and pathways to healing. This project centers community involvement at OneLife, as well as at Redwood City Title 1 schools with large Central American immigrant populations. Entry points for engagement with the project include community-embedded art practices, e.g., movement therapy classes, works-in-progress showings, community dance classes, and the opportunity for our BIPOC community to see aspects of their lived experience presented on stage.