October 28, 2016

Kae Montgomery UK Visit, Oxfordshire

fun day out at Henley
She came, she taught, and left us properly worked out, tweaked, and wanting more – the group is definitely looking forward to the next visit although we’re still on a high!

The lovely Kae Montgomery spent 5 days with us and on the programme apart from a little sightseeing to the lovely and oh so English town of Henley, was a weekend filled with workshops, a couple of which focussed on all aspects of solo performances and which carried on from each other, plus we also had workshops which included some of Kae’s own dialect.

all at sea
We kicked off the weekend with a terrific dinner dance which included African, Indian, Irish, and Middle Eastern flavours from Sunny; huge thanks to all the performers who so readily gave of their time to join us.  A majority of us managed a Saturday night outing to our local Indian where we danced in the restaurant.  The whole event was fabulous especially as we had in our midst new faces who joined the more familiar of our ever growing pool of friends – the atmosphere was so cosy and buzzing.

working us hard
Thank you all for your attendance and support; we couldn’t have done it without you!
discussion time
jollies at the restaurant

September 10, 2016

Hanney Festival

l-r Rita, Pips and Kay
God bless new events, and Ashnah absolutely loves venturing out to new places and making conversions as it were!  The tireless Dawn Massam invited us to the Black Horse in East Hanney and being her beautiful warriors and all (her words of course), we were only too pleased to accept.  Naturally, it had the Massam flair which lay in the detail – brilliant bands, lovely atmosphere, a warm welcome and if I had anything to grumble about is the lack of communication between Dawn and the big man – thank goodness for her foresight which saw us dancing under cover!

Thanks for looking after us so well Dawn.

September 03, 2016


Ashnah, Nirzari, Zoku and Marekesh plus baby
What can I say about Bunkfest 2016?  This years entourage consisted of 4 dance troupes, 1 drum troupe, 1 husband, 1 small child, 2 babies, 2 students, family and friends plus 1 dog - making a total of 35 'beings' who came to dance, support, gurgle or bark!!

Kaleidoscope consisted of the Nirzari lovelies who performed together for the first time since the births of Mel and Shereen’s babies, our lush Marek all the way from Essex who heads Marekesh Tribal, Charlotte Elizabeth of Zoku who overcame all the challenges British Rail threw at her to reach us from London and not forgetting ourselves, Ashnah.  Also rocking the rhythms on African djembes were the inimitable ODT who were joined by Kay’s son Owen on his first gig out - he helped ramp up the beats and raise the temperature everywhere we went!  We did get rained off towards the middle of the afternoon but nought could dampen our spirits.

Thank you Jenny Cox and team and bring on 2017!

Oxford Drum Troupe
Angela from Nirzari leads
Marek leads the troupe
Angela leads Lulu, Kay and Marek
Shereen from Nirzari in full swing with Rita

July 24, 2016

Eastleigh Mela

Lulu, Angela and Shereen from Nirzari
What a fab event this turned out to be!  Ashnah and the lovelies of Nirzari (minus our Mel) hooked up and our Shereen performed for the first time since the birth of Master Cillian Johnston who also joined the company and was the perfect young man, not a peep out of him!  

This year, there was just one stage which I thought was a good move on behalf of the organisers with everyone’s attention focussed in one place.  We did well and as it was Kay and my first outing since the FCBD teaching course, we were trying to implement the latest tweaks – work in progress; bring it on!

Damn, we love you Nirzari girls!

Ashnah, Nirzari and Master Johnston

July 10, 2016

Cowley Road Carnival

Don’t you just love the festival season when sights, sounds and smells just set the senses buzzing and eclecticism rules!  This Carnival event was certainly no different and Kay, our student Cat, and I represented.  We managed to bag ourselves an extra slot to prolong our enjoyment and performed on a new stage making its premiere this year and aptly named The World Stage.

Rita with her boys in blue
There was all sorts going on from the MCs on various parts down the Cowley Road to live music coming out of different pubs; dance-wise we also went totally global: Street, Samba (our lovely Oxford-based Mims with none other than Serena Ramzi!), African, Indian, Irish, Modern ballet, Capoeira, bellydancing, ATS® and I’m sure I left many other styles.

The weather did hold for us and we left with our feet still not touching the ground.  Here’s to next year!

July 01, 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

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