Oasis & Toucan
Devi Mamak – Drills & Individual Appraisal
Levels 1 and 2
18 – 20th October, Edinburgh
So once again I headed north for another fabulous weekend of workshops, hosted by Susan Tonner and Elaine Hughes of Twisted Tails, in Edinburgh. This time with another of my favourite teachers – Devi Mamak. Devi and her troupe Ghawazi Caravan are based in the Blue Mountains of Australia so are very used to learning ATS® long distance. It is this fact that most attracts me to Devi’s workshops because like us she has spent many an hour trawling the DVD’s as well as studying with our mentor Carolena Nericcio learning the finer points of ATS®. As a result she has developed her own nuances which to me reflect a more flamenco feel to her interpretation of ATS® which I absolutely love. It is easy to see this influence in the FCBD® Volume 9 DVD which incorporates Devi’s own steps and which have been included in the ATS® vocabulary
Aside from the fact that we were all taking part in these intensive workshops I was delighted to have the company of some old and newer ATS® friends and to share a room with one of my Oasis regulars – the lovely Shereen, although I absolutely can’t believe her claims that I’m a bad influence! OK so we stayed up late into the night sharing a beer and chinwag but we managed to get up on time, eat a hearty breakfast and still be ready for the day’s workshops
We worked hard – 3 days of gruelling drills led by Cristie Fuller a teacher and member of Devi’s troupe, Ghawazi Caravan, whilst Devi watched and recorded our every move – now just waiting for the feedback which will be a blow by blow account of every step in the ATS® vocabulary, to include DVD 7, with our individual strengths and weaknesses
Although I’m sure everyone would think twice about the cost of these workshops there is no doubt in my mind that they were worth every single penny. I have studied with Devi before so for me it was not a difficult decision to make. The clinching factor for me however was that this course is very similar to GS but has the added bonus of personal feedback in a written report and a guaranteed limited number of only 15 participants. Thoroughly recommended for anyone with a good working knowledge of ATS® who’d appreciate personal feedback
Megha Gavin Workshops UK
9th – 11th August, Tiverton, Devon
hosted by Kalash Tribal and Philippa Moirai Tribal
Well I really wasn’t expecting to host another international world famous ATS® teacher in the same year as Wendy Allen but when Megha said she’d love to bring her daughter Jasmine to England for her birthday how could Philippa (Moirai) and I resist? It seems that the ‘barn’ is earning a bit of a reputation and FCBD®’s Wendy Allen is our best PR agent giving us good reviews and publicity.
After a few days of chilling out with Dr Who, Exmoor ponies and the beautiful north Devon coastline where Jasmine was transformed into a sandy tribal mermaid (unfortunately all photos were lost along with the phone/camera) we all knuckled down to some serious work.
Friday night kicked off with a master class for advanced students and teachers and I can honestly say that all of us had a serious lightbulb moment when we experienced being taught the Double Back and its cue. It just goes to prove that there is no substitute for having a real live teacher in front of you rather than learning long distance by DVD.
The weekend continued with more in depth workshops from Megha but my favourite has to be the ‘Smile’ workshop. I often look at my students when they’re dancing and realise that for many of them they easily reflect their enjoyment of this wonderful dance by smiling. I don’t find this so easy – I’m not a naturally smiley person – that doesn’t mean I’m not happy when I’m dancing – I just don’t always project that. So what this workshop brought home to me was that smiling should be considered part of learning a step.
Once again the workshops brought together many dedicated ATS® dancers from all over the UK each wanting to improve their own dance and we were able to share a couple of evenings together either round the campfire or dancing in the barn at the informal haflah. Definitely another unforgettable gathering of like minded people which included several very supportive partners who may not dance themselves but who are very much a part of our dance lives
No sooner had Wendy arrived than Jacqui and I whisked her off to Tintagel and the Witches Museum in Boscastle where we found a surprising number of exhibits related in some way to our dance or master teacher – they included a knitted ATS poppet, hands of Fatima and knitting spells – hmmmm is that what Carolena is up to?
After a brisk but windy walk along the beautiful coastline it was time for a Devon clotted cream tea which more than made up for the disappointing Cornish pasty we’d had earlier. We arrived home to find several dancers had already pitched their tents in the orchard and were settling in for an evening of chatting over a glass of wine.
The next 3 days flew by as we danced till we were exhausted. My favourite workshop was probably the zilling one which just had so much energy flowing it was magical. I’d experienced some of this in classes at the FatChance Studio and had asked Wendy to create a workshop specifically for us to show our participants how to use zils more creatively. Take a look at this little bit of video and you’ll pick up the vibe in an instant.
More fun was had balancing baskets on our heads and interpreting music in the musicality and using props workshops. So as usual we all came away with various lightbulb moments and a better understanding of how the dance works.
The haflah in the barn was another wonderful evening of dancing with friends whilst the campfire provided an opportunity to catch up and relax before taking Wendy to London. In 36 hours we managed to cram in Camden Lock market, War Horse at the New London Theatre, dinner in Chinatown and a whirlwind tour of all the major sights
Billion Rising Haflah
9th February, Bampton
hosted by Kalash Tribal
This was our very first haflah and Lucy did a fantastic job of gathering together some great dancers for a very appreciative audience. Money raised was donated to the Devon Domestic Violence & Abuse Service as part of the worldwide initiative to put an end to violence against women and girls under the auspices of One Billion Rising. We had ATS® of course, tap, flamenco, tribal fusion and indian infusion with some absolutely spellbinding performances
We met at Paddington Station – me having just flown back from Helsinki whilst Philippa had a very frustrating tube journey across London resulting in us missing the train down to Devon. Fortunately our winning charm persuaded British Rail to transfer our tickets to the next train. The journey passed quickly with loads of chat when to our horror we arrived at Exeter when we should have got off two stops earlier. Had we really been so obliviously caught up in our chat that we’d missed two stops? No, we’d been put on a non stop train! Luckily there was a train leaving to go back up the line in just a couple of minutes. Twenty minutes later we were trundling home along the Devon country lanes in my clapped out old landrover. After a swift cuppa it was down to the hall to meet Lucy, Jacqui and various others to get the hall ready for our first ever haflah. Job done, dinner cooking and then back to the train station to pick up Charlotte (Ter’zim, Brighton). Spent a lovely reunion evening celebrating with lots of wine and loads more chat.
The workshops were a great success attended by many of my students and our dedicated Oasis supporters.
Fluidity & Flow
Flawless Floorwork & Laybacks