Who We Are & What We Do
"Abuse is an ugly story. When I dance, I make it beautiful. Turning ugly into beautiful forces people to listen. They will learn. They will accept, and ultimately, they will help." -Leah Zeiger, Founder
The Sunflower Project uses art to educate the community on abusive relationships and to help heal survivors. Specifically, The Sunflower Project hosts dance workshops and other art-making events for survivors, shares survivor stories through performance and creative outlets, and validates survivors' experiences by giving them a platform to demand to be heard.
Leah Zeiger founded The Sunflower Project in 2015, and has worked tirelessly to expand the organization's programming and outreach. Leah has her Bachelor's degree in Dance from Columbia College Chicago, and currently uses her dance training to facilitate movement workshops for survivors of all kinds. Contact Leah here.
Why We Do It
Her sophomore year of high school, Leah met a boy and fell in love. Regardless of her being a headstrong, independent, and intelligent young woman, Leah fell into the boy's trap. He became verbally abusive, then physically, and ultimately sexually. He controlled her life for nine months in their relationship. It took Leah multiple attempts to break up with the boy, and when she finally did, she hadn't even begun to imagine the horrors that were to follow.The boy began to stalk Leah, through websites like Facebook and fake texting apps. He broke into Leah's house and threatened the safety of her entire family. He continued to terrorize Leah and her family until he was put into jail two years later. He was sentenced with two years in prison, but was let out a year early.
In high school, Leah choreographed a dance solo entitled "Unnamed". The solo includes a video projection of herself in the background. This solo was Leah's first step in using dance as a vessel to share the tragedy of abuse she experienced. She discovered that dance was a way to "make an ugly story beautiful", and that began her quest for righting the wrongs done by her abusive ex. Later, her and her father created a documentary about her experience, which you can watch here.