April 29, 2013

Oxford Folk Festival

Ashnah - Sundara - Nirzari
We're still buzzing from our outing on Saturday!  It was a gloriously sunny day and our Supertroupe’s (group temporary name) first outdoor event (Ashnah / Nirzari / Sundara) with the lovely Oxford Drum Troupe.  Colours galore, infectious beats and everything happy and vibrant.

Our two allocated spots were at The Castle where we even ended up being invited to join the Gloucestershire Morris dancers! (hysterical).

Oxford Drum Troupe
We also made so much noise the organisers approached us (and of course we said yes) to be the warm-up act ahead of the Maypole workshop - and then of course simply had to join in the Maypole dance!!!.

Maypole dancing
Ahead of our second slot on Gloucester Green, we worked our magic on Bonn Square and ended our day dancing in The Far From the Madding Crowd pub which was awash with Irish musicians and foot stomping rhythms – brilliant all around!
ATS® dancers, African drummers, Morris men ..... and a horse!!
Snapshot of our fabulous day!

April 26, 2013

Swindon Shimmyers hafla

I couldn’t wait for this hafla!  Hosted by the lovely Sue Dickinson, and falling on the first weekend of Spring, we’d assembled for the mother of all our collaborations yet; Ashnah were sharing the platform with Nirzari and Sundara and Devi, the Sundara student group who were showcasing for the first time!  As you can imagine, the sight of 13 women taking to the stage amid swirling and colourful skirts and zaghreets aplenty was a sight (and sound) to behold!  Fab contributions from everyone and the experience is definitely one to be repeated!!  The hafla itself was a nice balance of ATS®, cabaret, and fusion dance and the evening was rounded off by the one and only king Elvis who was resurrected specifically for us!

 I was all shook up, a huh-huh, in the nicest possible way!!

Video here

Majma - Glastonbury

I say gals ... look Stonehenge!!  Isn't it small ...

Ecclectic dance festival hosted by Raheesha and her Desert Divas where dancers and musicians descend on the mystic land of Glastonbury for a weekend of merriment.  My own outstanding memory is Khaled bringing the house down on Saturday night – totally exhilarating!  Then there were my teachers from the brilliant Khaled, to the keenly awaited Meena Gorgese (Lebanese blood don’t you know!!) to my lovely Philippa Moirai who led us into the Dynamic Duets workshop.  Much shopping was had (yay), too much money spent (sniff), much food and drink enjoyed (yum) and of course much strutting of dance (lalalalala) – roll on 2014!!

the children always sleep en-route

sampling the local brew

Swindon Saraswati Puja Cultural Show

Sundara, Nirzari and Ashnah
Om Shanti Om you-all!  I’m wishing you peace of mind, averting of pain, bliss, happiness, and generally all that is good!  The ATS® group collaboration made its first outing at this event at the invitation of Sundara via the Swindon Puja Committee on the occasion of the celebration of the festival of Saraswati (Goddess of Knowledge) Puja.

This gathering is a first in Swindon and at the instigation of the Bangladeshi Hindu community is also aimed at promoting inter-cultural and communal togetherness.  As for the group collaboration, we're made up of the ATS® groups of Nirzari, Sundara and Ashnah who all, on the night, strutted our stuff and acquitted ourselves rather well alongside a lovely cross-section of Bollywood and Classical Indian dancing.  We all then retired to the train (yes a train car!) to partake of lovely Asian grub and some rather yummy dessert (which name ahem... escapes me!). 

Kalash presents The 'F' Factor workshops with Phlippa Moirai


Kelley Beeston of Kalash decided to kick-start 2013 by hosting a Philippa Moirai workshop day which of course was snapped up in no time at all!  The day was being rounded off with a hafla in aid of the worldwide One Billion Rising project with its aim to put an end to violence against women and girls.  All this was way too promising to forego so Ashnah with our Janet in tow signed up to it.  These gatherings are the perfect opportunity for the southern England ATS® sorority to catch up, and with the social marrying so perfectly with fluidity, formation, and floorwork sessions, we couldn’t go wrong and I’m sure I speak for all when I say we had a fantabulous time ;o)

The hafla later on was rocking and showcased Turkish, Indian, cabaret (moi!!!) Tap, Flamenco and of course ATS®.  After the programme, everyone joined in the dancing and we all bumped and grinded ‘til the wee hours.  Stayed overnight and returned wonderfully spent and just a little achy!!

Smiley, happy dancers with Philippa Moirai and Kelley

The Arab Quarterly - Bellydance and Live Music Evening

Maho Beaumont

Allow me to introduce The Arab Quarterly as an evening of music and dancing to its own live Arabic Quarter Band set up in 2009 by both Melanie Norman, who has an established career teaching, choreographing and performing oriental dance, and Chalf Hassan, an international musician who brings with him a wealth of experience and great musicianship.  The location is the beautifully restored Islington Assembly Hall in London.  To that, I accompanied our lovely teacher Maho Beaumont and her invited troupe for that particular evening, Sundara’s Patsy Foulkes and Lucy Moss, along with Maho’s own student Sharon Vivers and Ashnah’s own Kay White.

l-r - Patsy, Sharon, Maho, Lucy, Kay
We found our way there quite easily and the ladies all disappeared backstage to re-emerge at the end of the show victorious and happy!  Maho’s had been the only ATS® tribal representation of the show and introduced classical music to its repertoire – genius and awesome!!!  Maho or Liquid Gold (as I’m calling her from now on) and ladies, you absolutely rocked that house – Also worthy of mention, is our most delectable Turkish restaurant where we rounded off our evening – yummy!!!!

taking a well deserved bow

report by Rita