November 03, 2016

FCBD® Technique for Teachers Course

TfT attendees UK 2016
Official site - Ashnah Dance

Kay and I have just come back from the most fantabulous 4 days ever, organised for ATS® Teacher Trained dancers and the first of its kind in Europe – or should I say, outside of the U.S.

Courtesy of Kelley Beeston and Jacqui Spiers, our hostesses, these ladies brought about a cozy 4 day gathering of twenty Sister Studios from Poland, France, Germany, UK, Morocco, Italy and America, who all performed and were individually critiqued by Carolena and Megha.  All The feedback was totally invaluable to all, and Q&A's ensured everyone had their queries dealt with.  Each day was focussed on a particular set of moves and the whole experience left everyone energized and inspired and raring to start again.

Ghost stories by candlelight
New friendships were made and old ones reinforced.  Outstanding memories were all of us singing around the firepit on Saturday night, and Deborah Francois’ most haunting voice filling the night air.

Roll on the next meet – thanks a million Kelley and Jacqui, not forgetting our leading ladies Carolena and Megha.

Kay and Rita receiving their certificates from Carolena and Megha

Contents of this entire blog are the sole property of Ashnah Dance and are not to be downloaded, copied or reproduced in digital or physical form without the owners prior permission.  Our official blog site can be found here at Ashnah Dance.

October 25, 2016

Mr Hemmings Morris Day of Dance

Official Site Ashnah Dance

This yearly invitation and all others like it come around so quickly – I must be getting younger and having so much fun!  The invitation was extended to all manner of Morris Dancing sides and we proceed to perform around town.

We were very fortunate inasmuch as the bulk of our dancing happened under bluish skies; we did get caught though en route to our final gig and got drenched but hey, I’m not complaining!

Contents of this entire blog are the sole property of Ashnah Dance and are not to be downloaded, copied or reproduced in digital or physical form without the owners prior permission.  Our official blog site can be found here at Ashnah Dance.

Clubs & Societies Day

Official site Ashnah Dance

Ashnah decided to take part in the town’s clubs and societies promotion which took place in the beautiful medieval Abbey Buildings. There was a great turn out and it never ceases to amaze me how much activity goes on in our town!

We showcased under the sun and took away a lot from the experience in readiness for next time!

Contents of this entire blog are the sole property of Ashnah Dance and are not to be downloaded, copied or reproduced in digital or physical form without the owners prior permission.  Our official blog site can be found here at Ashnah Dance.

Oxford Folk Fest

Gathering in the warmth

Official site Ashnah Dance

More gathering - this time lunch!!
Our first outdoor gig of the year was exciting on so many fronts!  We were almost faced with the prospect of having to zill for the duration until and mercifully Kay managed to find a stockist of that blessed cable we so desperately needed.  That particular hiccup overcome, we managed to make it to our first slot in time at which point we were faced with our second challenge namely freezing snow and rain – you wouldn’t credit it, especially in England, but the group has always managed to perform in sunshine or at least under cloudy skies but this year wasn’t to be - we had snow, we had rain, we had cold, and we had sun.
Our Kaleidoscope collaboration was made up of Nirzari (Angela and Lulu), Zoku (Shelly, Nening, and Charlotte), and our lovely and dishy Marek (Brother Studio and lead of Marekesh Tribe).  Dancers and partners in toe made their way across our fair town and we had a blast.

Dancing at the Pitt Rivers when the sun came out
Missing from this gig were our own Esme, and Nirzari’s Shereen and Melissa, one a new and the other an imminent mum – ladies, never far from our thoughts – until the next one!

Contents of this entire blog are the sole property of Ashnah Dance and are not to be downloaded, copied or reproduced in digital or physical form without the owners prior permission.  Our official blog site can be found here at Ashnah Dance.

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!