A Year Well Spent

A Year Well Spent
‘From small beginnings come great things…’

It’s been nearly a year since I started my job in marketing with Sonia Sabri Company, and what a year it has been! With both Christmas and the New Year now approaching I couldn’t think of a better time to look back at some 2016 highlights and accomplishments this wonderful company has achieved (I’d love to mention them all, but that could take me another year!).

Salaam was my initial introduction to the company’s work, and was the first show I got the opportunity to attend. We have performed this momentous show 14 times this year, and each time brought delight, wonder and peace to a different location! ‘Salaam’ shows the true beauty, complexity and talent involved with Kathak dance and South Asian music, while promoting the incredibly important message of peace in times of conflict.

Lok Virsa
After the success of last years Lok Virsa we decided to continue it through 2016, making it bigger and better as we go. Lok Virsa is an exhilarating festival of art, music, dance and performance, and we have received some truly wonderful feedback from its attendees. We love offering this as a free event for all to join in with and experience the arts first hand, I too found this to be a fun and interactive way to learn all about South Asian art. (You’ll often find me rushed off my feet at the Rangoli stand.)

They Shall Not Pass
This performance was a personal favourite of mine, in which we collaborated with an eclectic mix of performers including Kathak, Clog, Flamenco and African dancers and musicians. This performance is an incredible example of how different cultures can not only rub alongside eachother, but can work together to create new and beautiful ideas and art; a message that I think we should all promote. 

A huge thank you to everyone at Sonia Sabri Company, and to everyone who supports, collaborates and connects with us. You have all helped to make this year incredible.   


Enlightening Weekend Recipe

  • ·      Cover a 6m by 3m floor with sheeting
  • ·      Add rice, lentils, flowers, and sand
  • ·      Garnish with Glitter
  • ·      Sift with creativity and enjoy your beautiful Rangoli Artwork

Bustling with guests of every age and artists of every genre, the Lighthouse in Poole was brought to life in an open day event like no other, organised to celebrate the re-opening of their arts centre.  With dancers, actors and even circus performers this day was set to be one to remember, how could we not join in? We took the long journey down to Poole in order to add our own flavour to this event with a participatory Rangoli workshop and a special performance of  ‘Salaam’. 

Our Projects Manager (and in house Artist) Mel Lewis hosted the participatory workshop, helping members of the public to create beautiful patterns and decorations on the floor, inspired by the traditional Indian art of Rangoli. The bright colours and swirling shapes soon caught the eyes of the public and before we knew it we were bustling with people getting stuck in and releasing their inner creativity.  

From the abundance of lovely comments we know that this event was greatly enjoyed, and hope that our presence truly helped the day to sparkle. We hope everyone working at the lighthouse had a fantastic time too, and will continue to host a kaleidoscope of events in their wonderfully re-furbished arts venue!

Written by Olivia Buckland


The Whole Package
'neatly wrapped with everything included'

Who would have thought on a rainy Monday morning that I would find myself standing in front of the Tardis?

Well… maybe me a little, I was at the BBC after all.

Sat amongst a crowd of smiling and eager faces, in a small room cleverly named ‘Ambridge’, I learned more about radio in a day than I normally would in a year!

I was invited by the lovely Berni from BBC WM to attend an ‘open doors’ event aimed at charities and small organisations like ourselves. The day was packed full of workshops, tours and knowledge and successfully covering everything from pitching a news story, to radio terminology and how to use your iPhone charger as a tripod (yes, really)! And of course, who wouldn’t love an inside look at the BBC, including props and costumes.

I had a fantastic time meeting various BBC Employees and chatting with friendly faces from like-minded companies, and I would highly recommend getting in on a BBC Open Doors event if you are interested in radio and how to better market your company. 

It’s a 10 from me!

Written by Olivia Buckland

Kathak Camp is coming back!?
Yes! It's true!

Do you remember our Kathak Camp from earlier this year? I definitely do!

While not able to participate (due to having two left feet and anti-rhythm) I was still immersed in all things dance and music as I wandered from studio to studio,  shooting video clips and interviewing students. With Tabla music booming and footsteps beating, we brought The Old Rep alive with raw talent and enthusiasm… and we are ready to do it again at our very own Baithak House in Digbeth.  

An intense, full 4 days of Kathak and Tabla lay ahead, with critically acclaimed artists helping you to learn, evolve and home your skills, further allowing you to unleash your inner artist.

On top of all this excitement I have even more news to share with you, Rani Khanam will be joining us to teach lucky students and help to push and evolve skills even further than before! All the way from New Dehli, Rani is a Kathak exponent who's contribution to the field of art is profound and unparalleled in traditional dance history.

Kathak Camp runs from the 22nd to 26th February 2017

If you would like to register your interest in joining our incredible Kathak Camp, or have any questions, please contact mel@ssco.org.uk. Spaces are limited so don't delay!

Written by Olivia Buckland


The Art of Ballet and Calligraphy

The Art of Ballet and Calligraphy.

t’s a funny job working in Marketing for an artistic company, some days are spent sat at my laptop, tapping away at keys and others are spent out and about meeting famous artists and snapping away with my camera. As a prime example, today I had the privilege of meeting Royal Ballet Company’s Marion Tait, and getting a first hand look at how ‘Dastaan’ is coming together…

As you may know ‘Dastaan’ is the new name for one of our latest projects (formerly Calligraphy in Motion). It is shaping up to be an innovative and unique mix of art, live music and film projection all inspired by the beauty of Persian Calligraphy. So how does a professional Ballet dancer fit into all of this? From our own point of view there could not be a deeper connection between the strokes, flicks and lines of ink on paper and the beautiful grace of a ballerina’s technique.

While at the studio Marion practiced a small section of choreography, sweeping her hands back and forth and creating intricate moments with her fingers. In the brief time I spent watching, her elegance and beauty gave her an incredible aesthetic that is to be treasured, I can no longer wait to see the finished production and how much it has grown from seedling ideas.

Written by Olivia Buckland


featuring excerpt of new work 'Dastaan'

This evening is dedicated to the legendary Sarangi maestro the late Ustad Sabri Khan. As one of the most celebrated musicians and pioneers of the Sarangi during both 20th and 21st centuries, his name was synonymous with this astonishingly beautiful, and quintessentially Indian classical instrument. The international concert will include Qawwali, Sarangi and music from Iran on Sehtar.

The evening also previews an excerpt of Soina Sabri Company's new work by Sabri Ensemble, Dastaan: an emotive and unique experience of film projection, inspired by Persian Calligraphy, accompanied by original live music. In Dastaan the calligraphy comes alive and dances across the screen for a poignant meeting of the interlinked cultures of India an Persia, transforming into the context of a modern, multi-cultural Britain.


Friday 25th November at 8pm
mac Birmingham
Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH
Tickets £12 (standard) £10 (concessions)
Sales & information 0121 446 3232
Book Online: www.macarts.co.uk


LOK VIRSA: Beyond Borders at RICH MIX in London.


What a fantastic turn out we had for LOK VIRSA on Sunday 23rd October at Rich Mix London!

A huge thank you to everyone who turned up and got stuck in with our activities, and to the incredible artists that helped make this day a huge success, including Kathakaars and Showmi Das Dance Troupe.

We received some wonderful feedback from the people involved including the lovely comment below:


‘Thank you very much for everything today at Rich Mix. We had a fabulous time and I'm happy to get to know your organisation. It was a pleasure for the eye, ears, heart and soul. Keep up with the good work. Thank youuuuu so much for sharing your passion with us.’

We can’t wait to do this all again, and share our passion with more wonderful and generous people! Keep your eyes peeled for further up dates.


AKAAR 2017

After last years incredible turn out, Akaar will be back for 2017 and aims to be bigger and better than ever!

We are inviting Midlands based dance and music groups to take part in our showcase event, AKAAR at The Old Rep, Birmingham on Saturday 28th January 2017 at 7.30pm.

Akaar 2017 is a special performance event that aims to celebrate emerging and undiscovered talent and support the interest and breadth of South Asian Arts being created across the Midlands. Both individuals and groups are invited to present their own work in an iconic and professional setting, right in the heart of Birmingham City Centre. 

We welcome all performing arts groups, including non-South Asian artists and performers offering work with South Asian flavour. 

For further information or to request an application form please contact olivia@ssco.org.uk . Deadline for applications is Thursday 1st December 2016. 

Help us to spread the word, and bring well-deserved recognition to talented artists!


Shrewsbury Folk Festival

We will dance together; They shall not pass.

This year, we were one of the lucky few commissioned to create a performance piece for Shrewsbury Folk Festival's exciting 'All Together Now' project! Collaborating with artists from all over the world we combined Kathak, Clog, Flamenco and African dance into a one time only performance, celebrating the rich cultures and art forms that exist in the UK.

We recognise the power and impact that art can make on modern day life, and it was with this in mind that we set out to challenge negativity, division and hatred, and our performance could not have spoken louder! An incredible 10,000 online viewers joined our live audience of 2800 to watch as we proved that not only can cultures rub alongside each other, but work together to create new and beautiful ideas and art.

We thoroughly enjoyed taking part and in this incredible opportunity, and hope you enjoyed it just as much as us.

Wishing a HUGE thank you all of the musicians and dancers that we collaborated with, and of course a very special thank you to Shrewsbury Folk Festival for making this performance possible. We can't wait to see what you have in store for next year!


LOK VIRSA: Beyond Borders


Prepare yourself for a celebratory Mela of South Asian art and culture, as Lok Virsa returns this summer!

Lok Virsa simply means ‘heritage of the people’.  It is this beautiful simplicity that Sonia Sabri Company celebrates, bringing together the art of music, poetry, crafts and dance rooted in the lands of the Indian subcontinent. This event will go ‘beyond borders’, to remind it’s audience of unity despite modern borders and political differences.

Artists originally from Pakistan will be sharing their love and passion for these art forms, bringing high quality and accessible arts right to your doorstep! These arts include: Music from Dhol Drummers, Vocalists, Miri Puri Music Group, Mushaira Poetry and various participatory activities in Dance, Arabic Calligraphy, Mehndi, Rangoli, Wood craft and Block Printing.

So far Lok Virsa has been greatly recieved, with some incredibly positive feedback! We can’t wait help more communities re-discover the roots and ideas behind South Asian music, dance and visual arts through Pakistani culture.

Upcoming Lok Virsa dates can be found on the ‘calendar’ section of our website.

Click here   to see a short video of Lok Virsa in action.

Sonia Sabri at Navadisha 2016!

From the 20th to the 22nd May, dancers are flocking to Birmingham from all over the world to join in with Navadisha International Dance Conference 2016. Navadisha 2016 is a trailblazing conference that seeks to stimulate, steer and secure the future of South Asian Dance as part of UK’s ever growing dance landscape!

Our very own Sonia Sabri will be attending the event as part of a panel discussion to exchange views on the future of South Asian dance and to share a short concept film for our forthcoming production ‘Nu Body’ (working title). Be sure not to miss these exciting events and see for the first time what ‘Nu Body’ is all about.

Navadisha 2016 20th to 22nd May
Friday 20th May at 10.30am - Conference
Sunday 22nd May at 10.10am – Nubody Concept Film


Salaam (excerpt) Sunday 22 May at 5pm

MAC Birmingham
Cannon Hill Park
B12 9QH

For further information visit: http://navadisha2016.co.uk
Photo Credit (Sonia) : Simon Richardson

Calligraphy In Motion

Calligraphy In Motion (Working Title)
21st April at 6:45 pm - 7:30 pm

Inspired by the beauty of Persian Calligraphy, this is our newest performance piece, currently in its research and development stages.  
Calligraphy In Motion is set to be a fantastical 1-hour film complete with live music, performed by world-renowned artists of various cultures and backgrounds. The concept for this piece was created by our very own Artistic Director Sarvar Sabri, who will be composing, directing and performing throughout. Join us in exploring the true grace and artistic value of Persian calligraphy with this wonderful new piece.

 We are pleased to announce that our first sharing of this incredible new venture will be at Flatpack Film Festival on Thursday 21st April! This is a completely free event.

Flatpack Film Festival
21st April

Flatpack Projects
 Unit 118,
The Custard Factory

Gibb St


B9 4AA
For further details visit:

To keep up to date with what is inspiring this show visit:



13th May  

Immerse yourself in the beauty and elegance of Kathak dance and live music performed by world-renowned artists in our performance of Salaam, 13th May at RICH MIX.
Created in response to a world filled with unrest, Salaam aims to refocus and reminisce on all that is good, celebrating peace, harmony and the simple bliss of being alive. This double-bill programme is packed full of endearing musical patterns, eloquent gesture and rapid spins, be sure not to miss out!

35-47 Bethnal Green Road,
E1 6LA
Book now: http://www.richmix.org.uk/whats-on/event/salaam/

Today we bring you a teaser video for our current touring performance ‘Salaam', click on below link for snippet.


Arts Award Explore

Arts Award Explore 

 Congratulations Mel and Sonia

Big congratulations to Sonia Sabri and Mel Lewis who have now become trained Arts Award Explore Advisors! Our future plans are to develop this fantastic programme within schools and organisations.  We are starting our new journey with Arts Award in a local primary school in Birmingham, Niskam Primary, so do keep your eyes peeled for further information about this project. 
Arts Award Explore is an entry level 3 qualification designed for ages 7 and above but is open to anyone aged up to 25. The Arts Award Explore programme allows participants to take part in a range of art activities helping to develop their own personal creativity and to record the progress of this in a fun and creative way. While working towards their qualification participants will also experience the work of other artists and art organisations and have the opportunity to share their achievements with others.  
We feel Arts Award is a wonderful opportunity to spread the arts practise to our future generation thus empowering the community to make sense of their lives and the world around them, using the tools of imagination to leap forward and present a voice for the people, so everyone involved can stand a head taller than themselves in every day life. Art is a powerful tool that changes lives for the better!

If you would like further information about this amazing opportunity please contact Mel Lewis at:
For more information about Arts Award Explore visit:


Ludlow Assembly Rooms

Thursday 24th March

Internationally acclaimed South Asian artists Sonia and Sarvar Sabri are returning to Ludlow Assembly Rooms for ONE NIGHT ONLY!

Salaam meaning ‘peace’ is Sonia Sabri Company’s latest stunning creation. This double-bill programme cleverly weaves a dialogue between live music and Kathak dance, celebrating harmony, inner –stillness and the simple bliss of being alive.

Salaam combines a rare treat of Tabla music by a world-renowned maestro. Sarvar Sabri performs outstanding compositions of rhythm, with complexity and speed, through his unique finger work. The talented Shoma Dey joins Sarvar Sabri and performs endearing musical patterns on the harmonium accompanied with powerful vocals, which fuel and vibrates a resonance in the performance.

Sonia presents sheer magic through expressive and rhythmic dance with live music. The audience are taken on a journey with Sonia’s poignant metaphorical narratives and though her command of intricate footwork, eloquent gesture and rapid spins. Audiences will be in awe!
Salaam was originally created in response to the unrest around the world and aims to refocus and reminisce on all that is good. If you've ever wondered where beat-boxing and rapping originates from, this is a show that will reveal the roots and more wonders!

“Such an incredible musicality, it was impossible not to gaze in wonder and adoration... An uplifting crescendo of music and dance” (Dance Europe)

Don't dealy book your Tickets today:

Thursday 24th March
Ludlow Assembly Rooms
1 Mill Street


Photo credits: Pulkit Sharma