December 04, 2012

Oxford Middle Eastern Dance Society hafla

Ashnah with 'our' Janet
Proud mommas here!  We’re still buzzing from the Oxford Middle Eastern Dance Society (OMEDS) party of this past Friday where In-Spires (Kay’s tribal brood at OMEDS) acquitted themselves brilliantly on the night.  The girls who all looked the part had been nervous ahead of the number but it all went utterly swimmingly and we all had a thoroughly enjoyable time.

In-Spires - Jenny, Penny, Winnie, Christine, Lucy & Esme
Guest of Honour was the sassy Emma Chapman who ended up dancing on the chairs and bringing the roof down – go Emma!!  The rest of us mere mortals, local students and groups, contended ourselves with solid performances.  Along with bellydance solos and group numbers, there was also a strong and eclectic tribal presence represented by the lovely ladies from Sundara and Belly Raqs from Thame who dance Gypsy Caravan-style and yours truly, Ashnah, who danced with 'our Janet’!

In-Spires - Christine, Jenny & Winnie

November 26, 2012

Tribal Tea Party - London

Moirai Tribal & Hannah Mi
The FireWater Collective consisting of Hannah Mi and MoiraiTribal host this dance night and combine it with a fundraiser.  This month, the selected charity was TheKaruna Trust, a UK based Buddhist organization that focuses on education, health and cultural projects for poor people in India irrespective of religion.  The evening was tremendous and the hospitality so warm!  In a lovely informal setting, the evening’s programme was nicely eclectic, not too long and performed to a very receptive audience.  We made new friends and had a fab night!!

Oxford Christmas Light Night

Friday 23rd November - Ashnah were invited to this event laid on by Oxford City Council and shared the dance stage with a whole host of local dance groups.  The selection covered Street, Ballet/Lyrical, Salsa, Breakdancing, Jazz, Bellydancing and ATS® of course courtesy of yours truly.  My best bit was being announced by our MC Matt from Heart FM – I wake up to him and Michelle every morning!  The weather was clement, the audience very receptive – what else could we wish for?  Oh yes, a lovely polar bear leading the lantern procession – I smell Christmas!!!!

November 05, 2012

Brutal Belly Dance Halloween Hafla

Ashnah and Sundara Tribal
No amount of messing about was going to stop this hafla from going ahead and the new location at Burwell Hall may have been a bit more snug but it certainly generated a lot of heat!!!   Hosted by our indomitable Carrie - The Joker, the occasion brought forth all manner of fantastic and dark creatures, some more dramatic than others ... Alyah in her awesome cat suit, Xenia performing an awesome fusion dance, Suhana bellyancer showing her stick skills in her dance, (Ella Mentary) imported brilliantly intricate Day of the Dead make-up, the hilarious piggies ha (Nikki, Jackie etc), Sundara wowing the crowd with their beautiful mesmermising slow ATS® number while others like Kalika looked wonderfully glamourous in their original eye lace masks.

Basket Dance

Once again we performed our new basket dance (with Kay tossing out furry spiders from her basket to the audience), and our second dance was a collaboration with the lovely Sundara Tribal ladies, Patsy and Lucy, performing an improvised ATS® number ....... smooth Berber Walks ladies!  

It was an eclectic show and a very successful evening and yay to Dave Hutchings who allowed us all a glimpse into his musical talent.

Ashnah and Sundara Tribal

Basket Dance

October 29, 2012

World Wildlife Fund (WWF)

Loreley Rice's WWF fundraiser kicked off our local calendar at the Abingdon Guidhall, and belly and ATS® groups gathered from far and near (very near for some yay)!!  It was the perfect opportunity to combine a good cause to a nice evening, and of course to catch up with old friends.

Ashnah premiered their latest choreography - a basket dance, and also performed an improvised piece too with one of their students, Janet.

October 16, 2012

ATS® Flash Mob World Wide

London contingent hosted by Philippa Moirai

Under the concept of One Dance, One Song, One World United ....... Ashnah decided to accept Philippa's invite to join the London contingent of the ATS® tribalists taking part in our first ever personal flash mobbing!!!  As you can imagine, it was pure excitement all around and meeting up at the rendezvous point with various dancers, including 2 Brazilian flight attendants who happened to stop over mid flights to join us along with Maho Beaumont, we took our final orders from our General and disappeared into the crowd to gradually gather again throughout the dance.  It was terrific, fabulous and over too soon!!!

Our thanks to Warren for the taping, and to the rest of the ladies - it was an absolute pleasure!

View the video HERE !!

Tribal Pura, Edinburgh

Carolena Nericcio, Megha Gavin, Philippa Moirai and Katra Tribal

We're still suffering from withdrawal symptoms - the weekend was fantastic!

In brief - Flight ok (I'll take the small inconveniences as it only took us 50 minutes to get there), McCraes Organic B&B highly recommended, 'Edinburghers' a very friendly and helpful lot, Edinburgh GORGEOUS!!!

What else?  Oh yes!  The workshops!  We found them fabulous with endless tweaking to our moves to be had.  Carolena and Megha were all smiles, and hooking up with old and meeting new friends was wonderful.

We left a bit of our hearts there.......

Class with Carolena & Megha



September 26, 2012

Oasis Workshop with Kalash - Tiverton, Devon

It was that time again and Ashnah headed to the Kalash Oasis workshops hosted by the lovely Kelley Beeston at Tiverton.  We got stuck in awful traffic but finally made it there past lunchtime and had a perfect afternoon! Our focus this time was on what I'm calling shading - allowing the moves to marry the rhythms - it was all so eye opening.

We also went over various formations and long may we never get done; it's all way too enjoyable!!

Roll on December!

September 13, 2012

FCBD® Sister Studio

I am very excited to announce, that following on from my Teacher Training course in Sweden with Carolena Nerricio and Megha Gavin, I've now been honoured a FCBD® Sister Studio status.

Sister Studios are graduates of General Skills for  ATS®, ATS® Teacher Training.  These teachers are dedicated to presenting ATS® as created and developed by FatChanceBellyDance® director and master teacher Carolena Nericcio.  Sister Studios do not blend ATS® with other styles of dance, tribal or otherwise.  They present ATS® only, or clearly separate ATS® from the other styles of dance they are presenting.  Our gaol is that you, the student, should be able to attend an FCBD® ATS® class anywhere in the world and receive consistent, quality instruction.

from the FCBD® website

September 05, 2012

FCBD® Teacher Training, Sweden

Me with Megha & Carolena
Well I did it!  I flew to Sweden to be certified in the FCBD® ATS® Teacher Training programme by Carolena Nericcio and Megha Gavin.  And what an event it was too!  I travelled with Patsy from Sundara Tribal, where we joined 3 other UK dancers in Gothenburg, along with others from Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway and France ..... 19 nervous dancers :-}

2 days were given over to listening, learning, teaching (yup, teaching in front of Carolena....) :-} and were all proudly presented with our certificates at the end of the course, resulting in many, many smiley faces and numerous photos being taken, followed by celebrations!!

What a wonderful experience ..... getting to know all the other dancers, wining and dining together, learning and dancing, firming friendships and making new friends.

5 UK dancers Patsy, Jo, Kay, Charlote & Helen
Well done to all you lovely ladies!!  Lalalalalalala!

report by Kay

September 04, 2012

Wallingford Bunkfest 2012

Oh flippydiflip and flop it’s over but what fun we had!  Ashnah and Nirzari joined by the ever wonderful Oxford Drum Troupe spent the day at Wallingford and even managed to catch the sun!! As popular as ever this event is so family and dog friendly.  Belly and Morris dancers in abundance, great stalls, food and drink what’s not to love?  I will however add that the idea of not having a marquee covering the main Kinecroft stage is one we’d rather not see repeated.  Apart from the fact that it left us all at the mercy of the weather, sitting not that far from the dance platform to watch other performances, we couldn’t hear anything and that was a pity. Thanks to Jenny and the rest of the team for all their hard work.

Matt & Kate Russell's nuptials

Saturday11 August 2012

Ah the joys of performing at a wedding – everyone is appropriately suited and booted, spick and span and on their bestest behaviour - food and drinks are free-flowing and spirits are definitely lifted.  Ashnah was invited to join in the general merriment of this coolest and most laid back of knot tying and had a fabulous time.  Oxford Drum Troupe got feet stamping and we got hands clapping and after our performance, we got everyone up boogying (well quite a few at least).  Brilliant afternoon all around!  Long life and health, wealth and prosperity to Mr & Mrs Matt Russell lalalalalala!!!

White Horse Folk Festival

This was an Ashnah first.  We kicked off the day teaching an ATS® workshop and this became my own personal highlight.  It certainly helped that the Scout Hut location was kept cool with a couple of fans and Lord knows we needed them on a day which turned out to be a scorcher!!  There were at least 10 women in that room all positive and all buzzing and we all had a blast.  Oxford Drum Troupe joined us at Grove and held their own masterclass.  A few hours later we performed with ODT and our student Janet at various locations, and having of course partaken of food and drink (duh!!!) and oh ice cream as well, we all made our way home, tired and wonderfully spent.

Nicholson House, Care Home

Our collaborations so far have been at Ashnah's instigation ..... this time around, we were asked by our belly dance friend Jen Evans to join her at her gig at the Nicholson House Summer Fete.  The audience were delightful, and we all enjoyed ourselves thoroughly.  It was also a perfect opportunity later on to catch up with our lovely friend, which we of course did at The Kings Head and Bell (dancing is thirsty work - as if you didn't know)!!

Photo to come.....

July 30, 2012

Cultural Diversity Awareness Day

I’m sure most of us have at one time or another been unexpectedly surprised by an event; this happened to Kay and I this past Saturday when we performed at the Ethnic Minority Business Service (EMBS) in Oxford.  The invitation was last minute - and what an amazing warm welcome and the audience’s appreciative response!

We stayed on and got to know some lovely people, enjoyed nice food and sat down to relax in a lovely garden which felt like someone’s home.

Thank you Grace and looking forward to future collaboration!

Acholi Day

Rita, Philippa and Kay
Africa here we come!

Starting in May - “If the mountain won’t come to Mohammed then Mohammed must go to the mountain”.  We may not have gone to Africa but it was as near as and the ladies of Ashnah joined Grace and Sarah of Afrofusion at their event hosting an Acholi day fundraiser on Saturday 26 May 2012 at Oxford’s St. Clements’ Family Centre.
Grace, Sarah and Jan Debrah

Infectious and beautiful earthy drum beats courtesy of The Oxford Rhythm Centre, Oxford Drum Troupe and the lovely Jan Debrah of African Footprints kept everyone’s feet tapping (or was it stomping) and the sounds were wonderfully interwoven with the singing provided by both Haula Nakakembo and Joy Osaiah.  Dancing was showcased by the inexhaustible Grace and Sarah of Afrofusion, Mariam Muwanga and her swaying and hypnotic hips of and Ashnah’s own ATS® style which went across very well.  Let us also commend the wonderful and flavoursome food that was provided – yum yum!!

Then in July - Ashnah attended this community event to help celebrate and get to know this East African tribe.  Taking place at the East Oxford Community Centre off the Cowley Road, the programme included a theatrical performance, traditional African story-telling, and dancing; good food kept spirits and energy levels lifted!  We were joined by the County’s High Sheriff’s who even took to the dance floor with the rest of us and all happily bumped and bopped.

L-Kay            R-Pete, Cathie and Paul from ODT

Shoulder of Mutton, Wantage

Rita, Janet, Jo, Carolyn, Philippa, Vicky
We went to our favourite haunt on Friday and didn’t it turn out to be quite an evening - filled with firsts and yes, some minor crises!!  The good news was that it was our very own Janet’s debut with the group and she did brilliantly – here’s to the first of many.  Ashnah was also joined by Carrie Nicholson and Vicky of Brutalbellydance and that turned out to be a fun collaboration.  However, the evening almost didn’t happen as the pub’s CD player decided to act up!  Mercifully, technical minds prevailed and Vicky and Peter, our landlord, put their heads together and saved the night by transferring the music to ipod!  Lalalalalalala (zaghreeting to the uninitiated!) and oh! how could I forget - our Kay was away on holiday – missed but never far from our minds ;o)

Eastleigh Mela

We’re going national people!!  Well, we’re certainly more frequently going further afield for our performances and spreading the good word and having tremendous fun with it.

Sunday 7th July, alongside NirzariTribe and Paul and Pete of Oxford Drum Troupe we performed at the 7th Eastleigh Mela in Wiltshire.

Hosted by the Asian Welfare and Cultural Association, this community event promotes cultural unity and diversity and offered a whole day showcasing music, dance, workshops and cuisine from all around the world.  The weather may have been quintessentially British, but the sun did come out to play and we all had a lovely time!


Ashnah kicked off July supporting ODT at Wittfest (Wittenham Free Music Charity Festival) in the most picturesque village of Long Wittenham.  This event is the most perfectly ‘bijou’ festival the group has yet attended.  It was conceived in 2000 as a one-off charity fundraiser and has been going and growing ever since.  It takes place in the lovely grounds of The Plough and a visit there is a must.  The programme had something for everyone from the various Morris dancing sides including my personal favourite, the Border Morris dancers (who as far as I’m concerned are the funkiest and most ‘badass’ of the lot!!) to folk and blues music as well as a whole host of activities for the younger visitors.  The weather held and we all had a fab time.

Hathor, Kidlington

With Philippa away on holiday, Kay and I represented and showcased our mask dance as a duet. We got plenty of lovely compliments, along new students wishing to sign up to our classes, and had a lovely evening.  With Hathor’s ever growing popularity, the evening attracted dancers from further afield so yey for eclecticism and long may it carry on.

Oxford Mela

Our visit to Kanta’s fundraiser this year was as brief as it was sweet.  Its location this year was at the Oxford Spires Academy which devout Bonanza attendees will recognize.  We arrived in good time to catch the performance of Oxford’s Messy Jam group, a wonderfully colourful and vibrant troupe of urban dancers ranging from the ages of 7 to 17 who gave plenty of attitude and went down a storm!  We unfortunately had to disappear for a quick change and within a few minutes of re-appearing, already had to take to the floor.  Well, most humbly,  we came, we saw, and conquered, had photos taken, gave out our cards and as quickly as we came, we had to leave.. No lovely Indian food and worse still, no henna sniff sniff!!!!

A wonderful afternoon!!

June 07, 2012

Jubilee Weekend - June 2012

What a weekend we had where we were all totally in our element doing what we love the most - dancing!  In Abingdon this year, to celebrate Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee, both Fun in the Park and the International Day of Dance Festival were combined and attracted big crowds.  Despite the clouds, the rain stayed away and the weather held out for all the dancers!

The event took place in the beautiful setting of the Abbey Grounds and was both colourful and eclectic and included Morris and Thai Dancers, Ceroc, Majorettes, and Irish and Scottish Dancing.

Ashnah were joined by the inimitable
Oxford Drum Troupe who's rhythms and beats totally warmed up everyone!

On Sunday, along with Oxford Drum Troupe, we were invited to dance at the Oxfringe Festival at The Castle in Oxford.  We’d been looking forward to this event as it marked a first for us in that we were collaborating with another American Tribal Style® group namely NirzariTribe.  We needn’t have worried as everyone had a blast and left it all on the dance floor.  It was a seamless effort between dancers and drummers which in the words of Shereen (of Nirzari) “left everybody buzzing!!”

What more could we have wished for - spending it with our wonderful friends!!!

Pic above L-R
Shereen & Mel from Nirzari
Kay, Pips & Rita from Ashnah

Pic right L-R

Mel, Shereen & Rita

May 13, 2012


This Spring’s OMEDS hafla at the O’Reilly Theatre featured the lovely Delilah - 2010 Miss Bellydance UK winner and former OMEDS president.  The event allowed OMEDS to showcase their various bellydance student groups and solo dancers and alongside them our very own Kay's ATS® OMEDS Beginners Class, In-Tuition who, for the first time, ventured a performance and put their best foot forward – well done to Janet, Lucy, Johanna, Esme, and Sara!  We caught up with good ol’ regulars like Nikki and John Sleiman, Hathor, Isisters and Zanoba ladies, and welcomed new faces such as Barefoot Bellydance and when we had the opportunity, hit the dance floor to some good live music.