It’s not often that we have the opportunity of having a top ATS® dancer and teacher such as the graceful Philippa (Moirai) come to these parts, so when the Barefoot Tribal ladies invited us to this event, Kay, Pips and I didn’t hesitate to say a ‘big yes’. Philippa’s approach to addressing the class’ needs was to get us dancing and honing in on our shortcomings. It was all in the detail - arms to the feet, body positions, thinking of simplicity over elaborate moves and ultimately finding space in all that we do – it was such an enjoyable experience and Philippa herself couldn’t have been more gracious. Thank you to the Barefoot ladies for organising this.
April 20, 2012
Some of us at Ashnah started to attend Kalash’s ATS® workshops held in Tiverton, Devon. Don’t let the prospect of a 2-hour plus drive put you off (says the non driver!) as they’re certainly worthwhile. One Saturday every 3 months is given over to all levels of ATS® dancers and coming together as we do is a perfect opportunity to improve, tweak and strengthen our dancing let alone catch up with all and sundry. The day is hosted by the lovely ladies of Kalash, and lead by their most wonderful Kelley Beeston whose praises I can’t sing highly enough – firm, nurturing, warm and welcoming and oh, almost forgot, an endless font of knowledge (straight from FCBD® San Francisco itself)! I can’t recommend these workshops enough. We’ll unfortunately be missing the July one but roll on September!
April 16, 2012
It was hard work, ouch the arms!, and especially so for me since I'd hurt my back the week before but was determined not to miss this event as I'd booked it months before, so I struggled painfully through the workshops with lots of laying on the floor to ease my discomfort.
Saturday evening there was a get together for all the workshop participants, which was hosted by Kelley in her amazing barn. Pips and I set out all dressed in our tribal finery, and drove the 10 miles to her house. Oooh-arrr those lovely Devon country roads foxed us with their high hedges/walls, narrow, twisting lanes and even our Sat Nav was puzzled too.
April 01, 2012
Most memorable sight of the night?” John Sleimans’ martial art jump; I’ve never seen the man so smiley or exuberant!! It was quite novel and I enjoyed the experience which happened at the end of a rather nice evening. Jen, Kay, and I attended the gathering and saw among others the lovely and original Xenia of the Malmsbury Tribal Bellydance Group, Carrie from Brutal Bellydance who unusually was wearing a skirt, and Emma Pyke from Reading along with Covert Bling. I saw Helen Sleiman who both lead her Zakoura girls and did a lovely solo and Luisa and Gary Taylor were also there – she unashamedly strutted her stuff, a nice baladi number, and he playing photographer (Ashnah have yet to go to one of her haflas hmm.. should drop her a line!). There was a welcome new arrival on the scene, Diana Soraya so a big welcome to her! The programme was varied and interesting and a many warm thanks to the Swindon Shimmyers’ Sue Bickell for organising this party cum fundraiser.
Do you know when you’re taught a combination so fitting and natural you immediately absorb it? well Tara provided me with a few of these so my thanks to her for her gifts!
Report by Kay
We congregated at our hotel, 3 cars having travelled down on such a beautiful sunny Friday afternoon. We chatted excitedly throughout our journey, only to stop whilst our breath was taken away at the sheer beauty of Stonehenge suddenly appearing as we rounded the hill on the A303. That sight never fails to make to gaze in awe........
Well I'd plumped for all of Carolena and Megha's classes - how could I not do them!!! Each workshop was fab - going over familiar moves, refining them, writing notes, learning new moves, combinations, dancing with our own troupe members, friends and new people, and writing more notes ..... always write notes (a godsend)!!!
Oh those floor moves!!! Ouch - the thighs the next day!
Sadly the weekend all too quickly came to an end, we said our goodbyes to friends and teachers and made that wonderful journey back home again past Stonehenge .........
Hey! We're doing it all again in October in Edinburgh! Counting the weeks!
How often do you get told your performance had such a positive impact on your audience that’s it’s enabled and stimulated long overdue communication! Ashnah had the privilege of dancing at the Station House Care Trust in Abingdon, a lovely facility which provides high quality residential and nursing care to the elderly and specialises in dementia, very centrally located in our home town. The whole setting was very light and airy and the atmosphere warm and relaxed and while the performers did their thing and concentrated on entertaining, the organisers of the evening ensured everyone had a little glass of something to quench thirst. Later on, we were regaled with delightful memories of bygone days and later on still and in true Ashnah form, we rounded off our evening at a local restaurant... thus ensuring the proper upkeep of both body and soul ;o)
Man and his dreams .. they come in all shapes and sizes and I suppose if you believe and work hard enough at them, and are fortunate, they will happen. Take this woman, Arpita Desai, whose dream it was to bring cultures together and for a while, a couple of hours, get so many to put their best foot forward in a dance show which was also a fundraiser in aid of the See-Saw and Ronald McDonald charities. Just that happened on Saturday 11th February at the Community College in Bicester and in front of a packed house, Morris, Latin and Swing alongside ATS® Tribal, Bollywood, Flamenco, Belly and Fijian dancing, we even had a karate display, showcased this colourful and most eclectic programme. A wonderful evening was had by all with a promise to return at the next call. Congrats to Arpita and many thanks to the Rotary Club and especially Mike Daniels for all their invaluable help and priceless support.
We’ve come back from our first 2012 hafla, Nikki Livermore’s Winter Wonderland, at the almost beautifully refurbished Langdale Hall in Witney; besides the place looking rather nice, I actually missed the stage. I don’t know if it will be replaced so I should like to put it out there that I for one think it’s essential; when Nikki and Helen Sleiman kicked off the evening with a free-for-all warm-up Zumba session, I couldn’t see a thing and I’m not vertically challenged! both ladies were lost in the crowd - bring back that stage!!
The hafla itself brought together all the familiar faces and it was great to catch up with everyone. On the programme were among others the various incarnations of the Isisters and Hazzaz groups who invariably jollied the place up and the ladies from Hathor without whom an evening would be incomplete. The lovely Carrie Nicholson made it from Didcot and happily represented the ‘dark fusion’ element providing an excellent foil to the likes of Helen Sleiman who led her Zakoura group in a lovely dynamic modern Egyptian number and later mesmerised everyone with her own solo. There were a few new faces from Cheltenham; the soloist Anne Blagden who from the back bears an uncanny resemblance to Nikki (that’s definitely a compliment) as well as Jane Claridge who closed the show to a Ghawazi number. My apologies to all those I haven’t mentioned; the programme was certainly a full one. I do however have to round up this article by mentioning the ATS contributors, our ‘sisters in the art’ Sundara who performed 2 lovely dances of one of which incorporated a ‘ripple’ effect which I absolutely loved and our good selves Ashnah who took our Kodo dance to Witney for the first time but minus our lovely Jen..