May 18, 2014

Upton Folk Festival, Upton upon Severn, Worcester

Glorious Upton Festival in beautiful Gloucestershire and yet again, the sun played along!

Ashnah went along with Esme Anderson from our Abingdon class, and Jade from the OMEDS class, and for the first time our newly and very recently acquired Betty boombox came along!

Amongst a whole host of Morris dancers in their various colours, we spotted some old friends Barefoot, made some new ones, the ladies from the Tribal Fusion Bellydance Collective and whilst some of us dozed part of the way back having caught the sun, the ever vigilant Philippa saw us safely home – ta Pips for driving ;o)

What a fun day!!!!

Workshops with Maho Beaumont, Abingdon, Oxford

We arranged for Maho to come to Abingdon once again to hold workshops – returning by popular demand – and this time she targeted the more advanced levels.

What a full, fun packed afternoon we spent with her!!  Duets, how 2 dancers connect to each other, creating strong energy and followed by Let's Fade where we drilled fades of all descriptions in the fast and slow repertoire.  All very exciting!!!!

It was great to see so many faces, and some new ones!!!  What a great afternoon meeting and dancing with everyone ........ all of which went down well with tea, coffee and cakes!!!!

Oxford Folk Festival, Oxford

l-r Mel, Kay, Lulu, Rita, Pips, Shereen
Oxford Folk Fest saw the birth of the new name of Kaleidoscope, (collaboration between Ashnah and Nirzari) along with Oxford Drum Troupe.

Both groups have been joining forces for a number of years and thoroughly enjoying performing and spending time together so we thought ‘why not?’ .... and it saves having to give 2 names to anyone who asks at these events - so 1 name it is just for our collaborations!

Stock Photo
And in the midst of days of foul weather, torrential rain, thunder and lightning, came Saturday with sunshine!!!  It held for us until the middle of the afternoon but with audience members having followed us and waiting to see us perform again, we couldn’t disappoint – as it turned out, dancing in the rain turned out to be a slam dunk and a blast!  3 hip-hip-hoorays for Mother Nature!

OMEDS Sequins on my Balcony - event with Yvette Cowles, Oxford

OMEDS hosted Yvette Cowles and her one woman show, Sequins on my Balcony, about breasts, bellydancing and coming out on the other side of this cursed disease, Cancer.  The first part of the evening was given over to local teachers and groups, and Ashnah lead Inspires, our own Kay’s Oxford class, into a wonderfully vibrant Scottish number!  We were minus Kay who was nursing a cold following her Caribbean cruise so don’t pity her too much!!  It was lovely to see so many friends and I hope a lot of money was raised!

Video performance here:

Mind, Body & Spirit - Charity Event, Oxford

l-r Cat and Jade
Our next party was an invitation to our own Jade Forrest’s first event held at the Cotswold Lodge Hotel in Oxford (it’s definitely who you know!) in aid of Helen & Douglas House.  It was so well organised and I’m so glad she managed to raise sufficient funds which allowed her to showcase her first ever choreography (typically I missed it so I’m looking forward to seeing a recording!!!).  The Who’s Who of Oxford attended - Caitlin, Rasha, and the Hathor ladies.  As for Ashnah, we not only performed our own dance but had the opportunity to dance a request with another  performing ATS® group – shout out to Kamala!

Swindon Shimmyers, Swindon

Picture from OMEDS hafla
With ‘grace 1’ away (our jet setter Kay sailing the Caribbean seas), the remaining ‘graces 2 & 3’ with Kay's  Omeds InSpires students looked forward to strutting our stuff over the weekend.  There was Sue Bickell’s event in Swindon which turned out to be a cosy and friendly do.  The programme covered a nice cross-section of belly, fusion, and ATS® with an undercurrent of Latin flavours.  I caught up with Shams and members of her group as well as her daughters who also danced (hip shimmy to the next generation!). My favourite hussy Luisa was there as well.  Helen Sleiman’s girls represented while she was off gallivanting in France (taking over the world no doubt) as was the recently engaged Xenia (congrats darling) with the Malmsbury gals and I know I left plenty out so to all my apologies – I have the memory of a sieve!

May 17, 2014

London Orient

I was invited to again dance with Maho, along with Zaida, Laura, Gisella, Shelly and Nenning at the London Orient Festival at the beautiful, and very luxurious, Cumberland Hotel.
rehearsals, pantaloons,

Travelling to London for rehearsals frequently, learning to use the requested 'Thai fingers' and fathoming out how to swap for our zills, searching and ordering wads material with me volunteering to make all 7 pairs of voluminous pantaloons, laying out silk fabric on the dance floor to cut, choreographing the dance with Maho - all became a height of busy industrious people.

cutting fabric
Travelling up by car and train with the Ashnah ladies who came to watch the show, we dined first in London then got ready in the huge changing room with other dancers.  The show went well, and as usual our dance was over before we knew it!!!

On the way home the last train was late, and when it finally arrived we found it only went as far as one stop before ours!!!  No more trains, we decided to taxi the rest of the way, and from there we drove home to Oxfordshire, with me fighting hard to stay awake, and eventually got home at 3am!!!

Thai fingers

 An event I shall remember for a very long time!!!

end result
the dance

having fun

Winter Wonderland, Witney

One of our favourite events - Nikki's Winter Wonderland Hafla!!

This year the theme was Burns Night, and we invited students from my Oxford Middle Eastern Dance Society (OMEDS) class and Abingdon class to form one big troupe.

Lot's of rehearsals and the ladies performed beautifully!!!

Oxford Middle Eastern Dance Society Hafla, Oxford

I’d been looking forward to this showcase as one of our slots brought together the Level 1 and 2 classes which Kay teaches at OMEDS.   There were at least 15 on stage for our performance - it was exhilarating and I was so privileged to have danced with the ladies.

The evening was also of course a platform for OMEDS own bellydance classes and a further opportunity for meeting up with as many of the local dance community.  The guest dancer on the night was the gloriously glamorous Galit Mersand who not only danced for us but also gave us an insight into a bellydancer’s world, the funny and not so funny all wrapped up in her own distinctive humour.

Huge thanks to Rachael Borek and her committee for the evening!

May 05, 2014

End of 2013 Reading Dance Show, Reading, Berkshire

Exciting!  Ashnah was invited to a new platform - our hostess being one of our top local Raks Sharki dancers, Reading’s Nadine Demont-Faucon who was holding her annual dance show.

This was a predominantly bellydance evening which also had on the programme Jazz and ourselves as the ATS® representation.  We couldn't have been happier at our reception and the audience which was so appreciative!  Thank you Nadine for the invitation and the warm hospitality.