October 23, 2011

Sahara Sisters hafla, Chippenham

Having had the pleasure of working with the Sahara Sisters’, we were invited to perform at their annual hafla, an offer which we were delighted to accept. On arrival there, it took us a minute to take in the location and less than that to sigh in relief - the hall was a beautiful large room full of little period architectural gems, there was a yummy food corner and rather nice bar, a solid looking sound along an elaborate lighting system. The Chippenham ladies had set everyone up and this group for one was really appreciative! As it turned out, I personally think this event was the largest indoor event I danced at. The evening’s programme was eclectic and the Sahara Sisters’ showcase was bright, and colourful, and vibrant and went down a treat. Visiting performers included amongst others the lovely Helen Sleiman, the mesmerising Malmsbury girls and the ravishing Raheesha with her Desert Divas. We had a wonderful evening, had some outstanding professional photos taken (see our website), scorched the floor, and drove home wonderfully spent!!

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Malmesbury Tribal hafla

September - Firstly, what I remember of my first venture into this town is how absolutely enchanting it struck me.. full of rather large churches.. until I found out that it’s England’s oldest borough and with 1000-year-old history, it really is hardly surprising!!

Our evening was quite novel as it was hosted by a raconteur come comedian come magician, Ashton Carter who made for smooth transitions and distinctive announcements, and his amazing magical 'saw the lady in half' act with willing (or was that unwilling) volunteer from the audience! The event looked completely sold out and we met up amongst others with fellow dancing groups such as Sundara, Brutal Belly Dance, Sahara Sisters, the Swindon Shimmyers and Zanoba. Ashnah premiered their masks which were bought specifically for this event and which went across a treat. I must give a mention to the absolutely gorgeous Xenia who enthralled us all with a creative choreography involving a veil and rocked it out to a dramatic piece of music.. Back to the light!

Hathor, June 2011

Catching up on our blog articles, I now come to Hathor, June 2011.

Ashnah attended Hathor’s annual shindig at Exeter Hall in Kidlington back in June and as usual, the hafla didn’t disappoint and neither did the laid on and much appreciated sustenance!! This event is one of the larger local ones to Oxford and a very popular rendezvous - this year, the gathering was in aid of Oxford’s Food Bank. Groups and soloists covered a whole range of styles and the programme included traditional Egyptian, folkloric, modern fusion, and ATS bellydancing. The wonderfully organised evening was rounded off by our Hathor hosts bumping and shimmying to Flo-Rida’s infectious and most aptly titled Club Can’t Handle me rhythm – roll on 2012!!

The Shoulder of Muton, Wantage

D day (- 1 hour). We set off to Wantage making our way to the Shoulder of Mutton pub; this was going to be our first pub gig and we were all very excited! The agreed upon strategy (and yes we were approaching it like an operation) was to ring our host, Peter Fowler, on arrival in order to access the venue through a side entrance thereby maximising our impact - and what an impact it was! We were even asked to perform a fourth slot but decided to “leave them begging for more”. We’d made provision to get everybody up and dancing and that proved a very popular idea.

D day (+1 hour) We had a truly memorable evening at what we discovered to be an enchanting pub we would recommend to everyone. Venimus, vedimus, vicimus!!!

Make sure you pay a visit to this wonderful establishment for fine beer, wines and most delicious food - The Shoulder of Mutton, Wantage

report by Rita