April 09, 2016

Marek's 40th Birthday Bash - Westcliffe on Sea

Sunny seaside!!
This totally lovely man and Brother Studio decided to celebrate his milestone by throwing the shindig of shindigs and making it a Cancer fundraiser.  Kay, Pips, and I hot footed it there and were fortunate enough to be put up by Marek in his little house at the bottom of the garden (with all mod cons I hasten to add!).
House at the bottom of the garden!

The event had his parents, grand-parents, sisters, nieces, and extended family pitch in to help him celebrate.  The home-cooked food was yummy - Indian cuisine to go with the Indian themed soiree.  The atmosphere was a rockingly cozy soiree where we managed to catch up with so many friends, Sisters and Brothers in ATS®.  I at last met Helen, Deana’s ‘other’ half and both were there with the rest of Tribal Unity, caught up with my Rainbow David whom I hadn’t seen since TT 2 years ago and he was there with his troupe Soluna!!  Not forgetting the most humble and shy of bellydancers, the electric Sunny (Singh) who brought the roof down everytime he came on stage.  We also had Brazilian Copoeira as well as a Japanese act.  I know I’ve left so many people out and I hope you all accept my apologies.

The next day, Kay, Pips, and I had breakfast by the sea which rounded off our weekend beautifully and set us up before making our way home – bliss!
Kay and David from Soluna
Off for breakfast shall we?
Beautiful morning!
Happy as larry ..... for just plain nuts!

March 12, 2016

Nirzari shindig

Ashnah was at last able to make it to this event, having missed the first one last year – the trip there was a veritable adventure in itself and as I’m no driver, the most I can tell you is that the number of roundabouts around Reading is enough to give a saint headaches!  But make it we did and you can’t imagine our delight at alighting from Kay’s car!

Unusually, this shindig was taking place in the afternoon but its informality was simply brilliant and unique.  We walked in to a community centre filled with familiar and friendly faces, and tables set with cups of teas and tea pots and the catering corner filled with home-made cakes and biscuits!  There was no programme, no slots to be booked, simply a 'find-a-partner and get-up-and-dance' attitude.  In the course of the afternoon, Shereen and Thurstan showed up and it did us all a power of good to see them both – our heartfelt congratulations to the new parents and a warm welcome to their son Cillian.  We had a blast and it was an absolutely uplifting afternoon – thanks Nirzari for the hospitality xx

February 06, 2016

Paula Bellydance Hafla, Bedworth, Warwickshire

February - We’ve now got our first gig of 2016 under our belts.  We joined Mistress Paula Pavlou at her hafla and took part in her show.  As usual at Paula’s gathering, the programme as a whole was not only enjoyable but distinctly of a higher calibre and her star guest was the electrifying and inimitable Nawarra whose energy never fails to uplift and inspire.  We bumped and grinded with the best and rest of them and had a great time and even decided to stay over!  Brilliant weekend – hail and thanks to Paula and her team.

Pips, Kay and I stayed overnight at a local hotel and had a great trip home the following day through the lovely countryside.

Rebecca and Lezley - Omkara Tribal Bellydance

January 27, 2016

San Francisco and FCBD® Homecoming 2016

Kay, Pips, and I have just come back from 10 days in San Fransisco which included the FatChanceBellyDance® yearly Homecoming gathering, and we’re still adjusting at being back!  What can I say about our trip?  Its actual purpose brought us together with ATS® dancers from across the globe and gave us all the opportunity to dance with the very best on a daily basis with Master Teachers.  There were stalls galore which catered to our every whim and we couldn't resist all our purchases (which resulted in a lot of bag squashing trying to bring it all home)!  We took workshops at the FCBD® Studio with Carolena and Kristine and did our performance rehearsals there too, plus visited Underground Nomads to watch FCBD® perform (video here).  Troupe Britannia performed on Friday night and I can safely say that we did good (video here) ;o)  Saturday night we watched FCBD® perform live - just magic!

From a tourist’s perspective, we were all charmed by the city by the bay.  We got to grips with the various transport systems and rode in a taxi, an Uber, the Caltrain, a light train, the BART, a boat, and even a rickshaw and covered San Fran's basics such as the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Haight Ashbury, Fisherman’s Wharf.  We rode the cable car down its steepest hills of which there are plenty and drove down Lombard Street, the famously crooked street.  The weather was mild (we even bought sunglasses) and most people were nice.

Would I recommend it ‘heck yes’!  Do I want to go back ‘you better believe it’!  I’m suffering withdrawals as we speak!

Troupe Britannia 2016

walking the Golden Gate bridge
Zig-Zag road - Lombard Street
at the FCBD® Studio
Tall building!!
at the FCBD® Studio
here at last.....

Street Car

December 29, 2015

San Francisco - here we come!!

from top - Deana Lawman, Carol Buckley, Kelley Beeston,
Kay White, Philippa Moirai, Philippa Watts,
Jesse Stanbridge, Rita de Chadarevian
This is a first - a post before the event has even happened!!

So ..... Ashnah are off to San Francisco in January, to the Mothership - the home of American Tribal Style® created by Carolena Bohlman-Nericcio in the late 1980's.

11 years ago I read about the journey of 2 UK dancers visiting FCBD®, of their experience, and I dreamed of doing the same one day, but never thought I'd ever do it.  Well, here I am ...... along with my lovely Ashnah ladies, counting the days down.

We have a full on schedule - workshops with Carolena and Kristine and performance rehearsals at the FCBD® studio, numerous workshops with Wendy, Anita, Kristine, Carolena, Sandi, Marsha, Kae and Terri at the Homecoming event, sightseeing and not forgetting - performing with Troupe Britannia!!!  There are 7 of us travelling from various parts the of UK and will be performing together at the Homecoming event along with Jesse Stanbridge from FCBD®.

Looking forward to meeting all our American Facebook friends and hopefully our Ariel from Ashnah who returned home for a year!!

Now where's my suitcase ........

December 15, 2015

Barefoot Hafla, Aylesbury

This party was so chilled and fine – we all had a blast and to top it off, we also bumped into a couple of our Nirzari chicks, Shereen and Lulu, who were there to give everyone the once over!   The location was a brand new larger venue which was well-attended without being overly crowded (which I like).

The programme mainly tribal offered a nice variety.  It showcased Gypsy Caravan, ATS® both improvised and with props (mucho dramatico swords).  There was also a lovely flowy skirt dance (watch out for the really nice photos I managed to take).

Deadre and company, thank you so much for your warm hospitality.

Workshops with Jesse Stanbridge of FCBD®, London

Totally eventful weekend and an absolute blast! Kay and I signed up to the Jesse Stanbridge workshops which Philippa Moirai was hosting and which was tremendous.  Practice, drills, light bulb moments and everything wrapped up in good humour and laughter.  On Saturday, at the end of the afternoon, we all quickly got changed and made our way to Tower Bridge which was the elected backdrop for this year’s London Flash Mob.  The weather was on side and the cast totalled approx 35 dancers.  It was all so uplifting and no one wanted it to end so we decided to carry on across the bridge and rounded off the evening with drinks.

Sunday came around and ended too soon.  It was such a pleasure to see everyone, to hook up with old friends and to finally meet Facebook ones (Marek).  I hope you all made it safely home and I can’t wait to see you again.

Maho Workshop

Back by popular demand, Ashnah had managed to agree with Maho Beaumont an Abingdon stop-over while she was on a mini-European tour. We literally had her for a couple of days and managed to make the best of her time taking her out to Helen Sleiman’s party of the Saturday night but ensuring she had a good night’s sleep before putting her to work on Sunday!  This time around, the two workshops focussed on spins, turns and flipping performances.

A good and productive time was had by all which culminated in tearful goodbyes as Maho was returning home to Japan – sniff sniff!

Helen Sleiman Hafla, Swindon

Dance-wise, our weekend kicked off with an evening hosted by the Sleiman family and fronted by the delightfully unstoppable Helen.  The programme featured showcases from Ceroc to Irish dancing, bellydancing and of course ATS®.

As usual, it was a great opportunity to catch up with everyone for a good ol’ natter – fab times and huge thanks to all the Sleimans!

October 26, 2015

Splash of Pink

Ashnah and Zoku joined forces for this local fundraiser in aid of Breast Cancer.  The good weather ensured a great turn out and the programme featured the likes of Mr Hemmings Morris Dancers, The Flying Aces Street dancers, The Strawberry Fayre Majorettes, and of course yours truly.  In attendance were Micky and Minnie Mouse and we even had storm troopers dropping in and they were on the very bestest behaviour! 

Our local Oxfordshire firemen were also there and we of course couldn’t miss the opportunity of having photos taken with them. Congratulations to Masons for winning first prize in the shop window competition!

Oasis Workshop in Devon & Respect Festival in Exeter

Ashnah have been attending the Oasis workshops in Devon for a while now, but this particular weekend was special because we were staying on to join up with Kalash and some of their students at the Respect Festival in Exeter. Also joining were Jacqui Spiers, Jo Taylor, our darlings Shereen and Angela of Nirzari, Jane and Steve Lawler (musicians fantabulousos!) and Carol Buckley and all 13 of us most certainly were one heck of a colourful sight to behold!

Our allotted performance was on stage under a marquis and our audience was wonderfully receptive.  We then found ourselves a too good to be missed space next to djembe drummers and did an impromptu 15 or so minutes so all in all, we had heavenly weather, beautiful crowds, terrific company and an absolutely glorious weekend!  Thank you all, thank you Kelley and Kalashies - let’s do it again sometime xx

Workshop at Swerford

Kay was invited to teach a workshop to a group of yoga ladies in the lovely village of Swerford in the Cotswolds hills in Oxfordshire.  It was their annual holistic get together, and this years event included yoga, massage along with my taster workshop and an amazing feast of vegetarian foods all home cooked, which I was invited to join.

Thank you for inviting me to join in your celebrations.

Jan's Bellyspa Weekend

My destination was Torquay for a fun-filled bellydance weekend where I was also teaching a Level 1 two 2-hour workshops on Sunday.  I don't recall being away from our Ashnah girls for so long .... but with the hotel being so beautifully situated by the sea, I didn't give them any further thought!!

I knew most of the teachers from my lovely hostess Jan Piggott to the star name of the weekend, Nawarra, who's an absolute doll!!  The numbers were manageable and made for a cozy weekend where people quite quickly got acquainted to some degree with everyone.

My workshop went smoothly and I discovered in Heike Humphries a model student who became very helpful - vielen dank Heike!  All in all, I had a great time reconnecting with some (Yvette Cowles, Heike Humphries) and making new acquaintances.

Thank you Jan for the invitation!

Wallingford Bunkfest

Esme, Shereen, Pips, Lulu, Kay, Cat

Singing is part of this number
Shereen, Angela and Lulu
Kaleidoscope came together for that event, a favourite with everyone especially as we’re joined by the inimitable Oxford Drum Troupe.  While on the one hand it was our lovely Cat's first at Wallingford, it was our Ariel’s temporary farewell gig – she’s gone back home for a
year leaving us all in countdown mode!  Huge thanks to Jenny for the organization and thanks to the lovely hubby of Shereen, Thurstan, we have a huge selection of photos to choose from!

Ashnah & Nirzari as Kaleidoscope and Oxford Drum Troupe

The Summer Oxford Fair

This event held in the beautiful venue of The Fishes inn in North Hinksey was Ashnah’s second venture there, hardly surprising really as it’s such a complete, perfectly packaged event from the beautiful setting, to the pub’s welcoming team, the food that is a feast to both eyes and stomach and of course the gardens which double as a fab landscape for both the displaying artists and their exhibits (paintings, silks, jewellery, and pottery) and for us in all our glorious fineries using the space for performing.

Albert with mummy and his Princesses!
Our day was made more perfect through the acquaintance of our latest and youngest fan, a darling cherub of 3 with the peachiest skin called Albert.  That boy was so Zen and polite and even tempered and had the good sense of calling us his princesses (quite right too).  He fell in love with my fan and in return for his charms, he joined us for lunch where we treated him to fish and chips!  A simply perfect day.

Linslade Canal Festival

I’m blogging about a worthy contender to the runner-up spot to Ashnah’s favourite festival at Wallingford, a brand new destination for us in Linslade, Bedfordshire - the Tindenfoot Waterside Park, a picturesque rural setting by a lake.   At first appearance, we thought the event was contained within the field we could see; were it not that we had to perform on another stage, we’d never have wandered off the obvious path and discovered stalls upon stalls which promoted everything from eclectic foods, to environmental pursuits and various arts and crafts, all running alongside a beautiful lake.

Alongside our performances, Kay and I held a couple of workshops and bumped into a student of ours Jade who was game enough to join in (thanks Jade)!   The weather was mercifully kind to us, the organisation second to none and our lovely hostess Linda Wallis was very helpful.  One last comment, this was one family and dog friendly event so take note for next year ; o)

September 27, 2015

Cowley Road Carnival

Carnival day was upon us, we were raring to go, the weather was beautifully sunny, and we were once again joined by Cat Ariel Weber as we set off for this popular festival.

Our name in the road ..... ok, spelt wrong ...
The whole day was pulsating to all manner of eclectic sounds and smells and happy smiling people. After we'd performed on the stage (video here) we took part in the parade that stretched all along the Cowley Road, which was quite exhausting.  We had our name on the road yay! and a sign (star shaped sign ooh) where we were to stand (even if they did spell our name wrong), and were even assigned our own escort to carry out star sign (though Rita cut that off the picture above boo).  At the end we were all treated to water and chunks of lovely juicy melon.  Just right for thirsty work.

Even our own sign ..... spelling? Sigh...
Fabulous all around and huge thanks to Claire Thompson and Anya Fox for their help; they’re no doubt enjoying a well earned rest!

 Kay even appeared on local TV ........ though after a long interview only a few words were broadcast lol !!!!!!
Kay on TV