April 20, 2015

Oxford Folk Fest 2015

l-r Lulu, Shereen, Angela, Kay, Mel, Rita, Pips, Esme, Ariel
This was by no means a first for us but for some reason it felt special and in a good way!  This year ODT (Oxford Drum Troupe) were unable to join us so our trustworthy Ashnah member Betty boombox took her very special place and saw us through the day, and being such a valued member, she was pushed around in her specially adapted trolley!

The day was a collaboration with our lovely Nirzari sisters, and together we performed as our collective name of Kaleidoscope which we were - colourful and vibrant.  Joining us as well was our gorgeous mermaid Ariel, our student and honorary member from America who
taking a well deserved bow
just slotted in perfectly. We all had a fab time and much laughter and I can’t wait until our next get together which is coming soon; thank you all ladies and check out our pics, they’re totally fab!

making many friends!!

Kae Montgomery UK Workshops 2015

l-r Esme, Philippa, Maho, Kay, Kae, Rita, Melissa

Our lovely lady has gone, walked through the Queen’s Entrance at Heathrow airport and flown back home leaving us all sore and achy and needing more!

We’re all back home, telling the tale, exhilarated at the experience and spreading the word.

workshop participants
This Kae Montgomery weekend was Ashnah’s first co-hosting gig with Maho Beaumont and the event brought dancers from Germany, Switzerland, Japan, Poland, Morocco, Scotland and of course the UK.

Our thanks to Didcot’s Cornerstone and the Kolkota restaurant; both venues couldn’t do enough for us and we couldn’t have done it without them – thank you Emily, Ali and their respective teams.  Our thanks also to all our performers who helped us present an eclectic programme which culminated with Kae Montgomery’s solo - Melissa Hoare of Nirzari and Bellytricks, the amazing Sunny and special mention and thanks must go to the lovely Helen Sleiman who graciously stepped in at the last minute to replace Jaydee Copperfield who took ill. The concluding portion of Friday’s programme showcased a few of our international participants and that part of the show was just as inspiring and diverse – well done to all!

Sightseeing - we took in some sights in Oxford though I think the wet weather was too cold for us all and we quickly retreated to the warmth of a cafe!  We spent many happy hours over the next 6 days trying different places to eat and just chatting and having fun!!!

Now to the actual workshops where our dear slave driver had us all panting and out of breath within the first 40 minutes of the first workshop; in the names of conditioning and cardio, we were sent running 10 times each around both directions of the studio, were put through our paces attempting various types of crunches, walking backwards on our hands and feet with bums in the air, rolling around on the floor, and going through all manner of stretch exercises invoking cats, dogs, and snakes - I’m sure I should be grateful she didn’t ask us to stand on our heads ;o) and finally, after all that, we were deemed ready to turn our minds and bodies to dancing! Tweaks, tweaks and more tweaks, dancing with new partners – both days were tremendously useful.

Personally, alongside the dancing, I got to extend my circle of friends so basically, there’s no excuse to stay national; world here we come!

April 12, 2015

Kristine Adams the Return - Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm adieu, but oh Lord how sweet it was!  We enjoyed a 5-day trip made up of travel, sightseeing, and cramming as much shared ATS® knowledge as possible courtesy of Kristine Adams aka my Lady Dynamite; we were all left positively glowing and pumped and inspired and wonderfully exhausted!

After the usual correspondence ahead of such a weekend, we were finally able to meet our totally charming hostesses, the softly spoken and gentle Berenike Strom and Helen Keskitalo who along a whole host of similarly minded dancers, made us feel so welcome and comfortable – the whole experience was simply fabulous.  Kay celebrated her birthday over there and was presented with pressies, flowers and a scrummy Swedish cake!

We had our group’s first international travel and performance and we’ve caught the bug; we’re eyeing another European destination, bank managers be darned!!!

Paula Belly hafla, Warwickshire

We set off for Bedworth minus our Esme on Saturday 24th January - it was not only our first gig of the new year but we were also performing at a new venue which was very exciting to us.  The evening didn't disappoint!  Our hostess Paula (Paula Bellydance) fronted such an energetic pre-dominantly bellydance platform which had tremendous vibe and great music.

As it turned out, we met up with some ATS® sisters, Anjuli and Sharon from Tribulations, the gorgeous Helen Sleiman with father John (and drum of course) were also there.  There was some great dancing on the programme not least of which from Mother Earth herself, the lovely Nawarra who took to the floor cheekily setting out to seduce everyone in sight.

I’ve got the date of the next hafla already in next year’s diary.  Many thanks Paula and the team for such a fab night

Winter Wonderland hafla, Witney

Attending our regular shindig at Witney in January where bar, food, stalls and familiar faces kept the cold at bay.  Our lovely Nikki, despite being laid up through injury and valiantly fighting some sound hiccups, still kept the eclectic show running.

Paula Pavlou (Paula Bellydance and her troupe) were there for the first time and it was great to see them, the Sleimans, and too many others to mention.  Ashnah were joined by Iridescence and we had a tremendous time -we should do it again sometime ladies!!!

We also found out that Jackie Cull was moving to San Francisco for the next 5 years - really sad to her go but ... ahem ... Ashnah have now got somewhere to stay should decide to to FCBD® HQ!!! (hint hint) ;-)