December 29, 2010


Oxford Middle Eastern Dance Society (OMEDS) hafla was the highlight of December for many dancers who gathered together in their finest attire to showcase their dancing. Once again OMEDS put on a well organised show with some fabulous dancing by all who took part. Sadly the bad weather claimed some victims with sickness and some being stranded.

We were delighted to be able to do our sassy Bulgarian number followed by improvised ATS, and were joined by Ashnah's newest member Esme .. yay!!

The lovely photographer Agata Lucka-Ahmed took the these photo's and many more of the dancers. Check out Agata's pictures at Exumbra and don't forget to book her for your special event!!

December 07, 2010

Ashnah welcomes........

Ashnah is pleased to have 2 new members on board - Hannah Godfrey and Esme Gregory!!! Hannah also attends lessons with Loreley Rice, and Esme danced and taught at OMEDS in Oxford. Welcome, welcome, welcome..........................

Photo's and bio's to follow.

November 07, 2010

Christmas is coming...... the cat is getting fat!

A little shopping trip enjoying a bit of retail therapy went nicely, starting off with luncheon at Noodle Nation and then heading off to the shops followed by a relaxing break in Costa coffee shop. Purchases were a sumptious teal wool and mohair long jacket with a tantilizing little frill along the edge for Kay (moi), a soft satin panelled skirt in hues of taupe for Philippa whilst Rita plumped for ................. cat food. Seriously woman!!!!

Pips & Rita enjoying a coffee break - let's hope that's not Rita's purchase on her plate................

October 31, 2010

Hafla - Zanoba October 30th

October - and we travelled to Faringdon to perform at Zanoba's winter hafla organised by Ann Clarke. What a fabulous atmosphere it was - the room was decorated with drapes, various low cushions to sit on with tables (though I couldn't get down to the cushion with my layers of costume ha), a souk to shop at, an array of various foods laid out and plenty of performers and onlookers. There was such a wide range of different dances - Egyptian, Steam Punk (oh those shoes), Tribal Fusion, umbrella's, Tango, Gothic Tribal complete with mask (woo hoo) solo's and absolute fun pieces. We performed our sassy chicks number followed by our improvised ATS tribal style with zills.

Hafla - Wantage Civic Hall

Oooh la la Ashnah performed at this annual fundraiser organised by Loreley Rice, which is certainly becoming a firm fixture on the local and not so local calendar. The successful evening raised a whopping £764 for vital conservation work across the globe. Ashnah, minus our very pregnant Agne, premiered its sassy chicks dance and costumes consisting of bodices, feathers and Victoriana booties – oh the joy of it.

Splash of Pink - October 9th

Ashnah was again invited to join in this worthy cause and although the weather person predicted sunshine, we had clouds! Regardless, as normal nothing could have stopped us, so minus our much missed and expectant Agne, we strutted our stuff.

Rita and Philippa 'Rock-ing the Casbah'

September 14, 2010

Bunkfest 2010

Our beautiful Agne with expecting baby leads the dancers
Our favourite festival arrived, and again so did the sunshine!  This year we were delighted to be joined by drummer Karl Greenow who plays for The Keeling Curve, and also Peter who played for us last year.  A huge big thank you guys, it was so very much appreciated.  Hope we can do it again!!  This year at Bunkfest we again met up with Isisters, met new Morris dancers and watched the wonderful Zulu, all the way from South Africa - watch their VIDEO HERE - fabulous.  We performed in various places and had a wonderful time, some of us staying on into the night to watch some of the bands.

Watch the Youtube Videos under the Video Link and Vimeo HERE.

September 05, 2010

Alzheimers Show (see Video here)

Saturday 24th April 2010 couldn't come fast enough! Jo Saunders of Arabian Fire & Cairo Kittens put together a brilliant show in aid of the Abingdon Alzheimer Hospice at the Amey Theatre, Abingdon School. Despite all being tucked away in the ladies changing room, we were able to watch all the performances on a big screen. Oxford Drum Troupe opened she show with their infectious drumming and were later joined by the amazing African dancing sisters Grace and Sarah of 1AfroFusion Rhythm. The Middle Eastern section was made up of soloists Niki Livermore, who strutted her stuff with everyone's favourite tabla 'artiste' John Sleiman, my teacher Loreley Rice who weaved her magic with her mesmerising Isis wings, professional Indian Bhangra dancers from London, fantastic Capoeira dancers with flamenco dancers Camino del Flamenco with teacher Rosie adding a much exciting exotic touch alongside the Argentine Tango couple, whilst Ashnah represented the tribal fusion style and performed our much loved stick dance and our improvised tribal ATS style dancing with Oxford Drum Troupe too. Check out our new Ghawazee coat/dresses made by Kay White woo hoo!

It was a great evening and we managed to raise approximately £2,000 - indeed the show was so successful that there's talk of making if a permanent fixture - roll on 2011!!! A big thank you must go to the entire supporting team made up of Jo Trafford, Sonia Black, Janet Avison, Kay O'Reagan and not forgetting the lovely Sorcha who looked drop dead gorgeous in her wowing brown dress.

Bellydance Bonanza - Saturday 22nd May 2010

Yet again, this year the programme was well-balanced (Loreley Rice, Afra El Kahira, Dodo Pratt, John Sleiman to name but a few) and this year's prima guests were the diving Maria D'Silva (whom I'm completely bowled over with) and the utterly glamourous Anne White who only has to stand there to hold attention (total hussy and she won't mind me saying so either!!).  My apologies for beingunable to mention everyone, but a shout out must go to Helen Sleiman who's turning into such an accomplished dancer blessed with great choreography and imagination.

The day was beautifully rounded off when 35 students and teachers descended on our favourite Lebanese restaurant, The Riviera, and shimmied the night away.  Thank you Nikki and Neil!

report by Rita

July 23, 2010

July 20, 2010

Against Breast Cancer

April came and we were once again invited to dance in the Market Place for this fabulous cause 'Against Breast Cancer'. Here we are posing with a one of the lovely organisers in the fabulous warm sunshine. What an array of hues of pink again!

June 25, 2010

Gypsy Caravan Collective Soul Level 2

March - I travelled down to Lewes near Brighton for a 3 day Collective Soul 2 course again with the lovely Paulette Rees-Denis founder and Director of Gypsy Caravan Dance Company and hosted by Louisa Thomsen. I stayed at the delightful Dubois B&B (an absolute must stay at place!) which was about a 10 minute walk from the town.

photo - Angela & Paulette in 'Bills'

Lewes is fabulous and bursting with interesting independent shops (check out Bills, mmmm) and only a short drive to Brighton.

Anyway........ the first day we all met in Laporte's cafe - Paulette, Louisa, Angela from Tribe Zuza and Chris from Four Hundred Roses (who I met on the Level 1 course), and after hot chocolate and coffees we all trouped off and got down to the dancing. After the first day I didn't think I cope for another 2 days......where had my fitness gone??? Well, we worked hard, studied hard, ate at fabulous restaurants, laughed and chatted and on the 3rd day Angela, Chris and I were awared with our Level 2 certificates! Yay! So, I am definately 'certifiable' again!!

Paulette takes our photo whilst we huddle in

Celebrating with a glass of wine, and chilling on the chaise lounge

February 09, 2010

Hipnotic, Jazz Cafe in Reading

February saw us all travelling to Reading to perform at Hipnotic at the Jazz Cafe (check out the link, but better still pay them a visit for a brilliant evening)!

We cheered on the other dancers, took part in a few of the classes there we then performed our improvised tribal style dancing. A great evening was had by all. Check out the pictures.

Seeing the New Year in

Woo hoo, catching up on what's been happening this year starts with Kay, Philippa, Rita and Jen (belly Jen, we have 2 Jens, the other being tribal Jen), saw the New Year in celebrating it in the Dil Raj Indian Restaurant in Abingdon, eating sumptuous food, slurping superb wine, watching our belly dancer friend Jo performing yay, pulling crackers (paper ones of course), wearing hats, blowing them tooting blowey things, dancing - oh yes .. much dancing, singing Auld Lang Syne (or was it old Langs eye I sang ... mmm ....), you know, the usual kind of New Years stuff we all do.

Well according to the few pictures here, you can tell we had a blast! Enjoy the pics..................

Don't forget to go try the Dil Raj too!

Report by Kay

February 07, 2010

First Drum Performance

Our djembe drum class was asked to do a 'piece' for the Lake Street Community Centre Christmas do, as this is where we practice every week. It was a great open afternoon, with many families milling around eating mince pies, various cakes, mulled wine etc, whilst being entertained by various acts. Great community atmosphere! When the brass band stopped, it was our turn yikes! The Oxford Drum Troupe professionals drummed various fabulous African rhythms, whilst the people who thronged the room clapped and swayed and the children danced and jigged up and down. We were then invited on by the Drum Troupe for the last piece where we played 3 short rhythms with a drum call to swap from to the other. It went down well and we got a warm round of applause at the end. A big thank you to our drum circle teachers yay!! Afterwards we called into the Four Pillars hotel for a hot cup of coffee, tea and beer to celebrate.

Photo above - the professionals showing us how it's done

Photo right - Kay, Philippa and Rita getting ready

Another Birthday........

December loomed and with Christmas shopping done and presents wrapped, tree up, last card written, fairy lights turned on (yea, but not by me)..... Pippy's birthday jumped out at us suddenly, so at her request we all trouped over to her house each with a dish of food to pool into a birthday supper, with presents to swap and plenty of giggles to share. After sitting down to our feast of an array of English, Turkish, Polish, Indian food with salads and puddings, plenty of wine etc etc, (with Philippa wearing her new fairy wings heading the table) we exchanged presents and then 'hung out' and watched a dance DVD. Much laughter was had by all. Alas no pictures were taken on the big day, so I found this in our archives. Pippy modelling a piece of costuming in our dance studio....... great leg warmers! You go girl! Report by Kay

Christmas Celebration Performance Platform

November 2009 and 3 of Ashnah dancers, Kay, Jen & Rita, travelled to Swindon to take part in the Christmas Celebration Performance Platform organised by MADN (Mosaic Arabic Dance Network) held at the Phoenix Theatre at New College. Performers were plentiful and to name a few were Loreley Rice, Soraya with John Sleiman, Isisters, Helen Sleiman dancing to her fathers drumming (John Sleiman), Hazzaz, Negoum el Leyl, Afra al Kahira, Tracey Jones, guest dancers the fabulous Zehara Dancers led by Nikki Franklin performing their own Zehara tribal style and our very own delightful Ashnah dancer, Rita Maria who performed her new solo. There was a mix of various dances - Turkish pop, veil dances, isis wings dances, solo's, group dances, Egyptian pop, drum solo's and many more, whilst we performed our tribal dance to Harem with zills. After all dancers posed for professional photo's (which will appear in the next issue of the Mosaic magazine), we headed off back to Abingdon for an evening in the Thai Orchid which was simply heaven!!! Report by Rita

Halloween - or maybe not in our case

Hubble Bubble, Toil and Trouble - Philippa suggested we have an evening at hers, a trip down the pub followed by a takeaway. Last minute suggestion from me was 'let's dress up at it's Halloween'. On collection of Rita I was greeted by this ....... thing ..... bright red hair, pointy hat and a painted star over her eye ha! After much cackling all the way to Pippy's, and more shrieks of delight when she clapped eyes on Rita, we trotted off down a narrow lane in what seemed like the darkest depths of Peru, in the pitch black to the local pub. No torches and my mobile phone light wasn't bright enough eek!!!. Gingerly we held on to each other, me trailing at the back keeping an eye out for ghouls and goblins, Pippy leading the way with Rita in the middle cackling all the way. The locals eyed us with suspicion when we entered (though I think they stared at our wicked witch from the West actually), and we supped our tipple with quiet cackles (wondering who was for our cauldron). Another trek back up the darket depths of Peru back to Pippy's house, ordered our takeaway and flew there on Rita's broom, oh sorry I mean drove in my car. Again we were viewed with caution (bewilderment I think was more like it), and we drove back with our catch of Chinese food to gorge over.

Strange thing was, it wasn't Haloween! I'd got the date wrong doh!!!!!!