Dastaan with Sarvar Sabri

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After an afternoon spent in the colourful and vibrant Shoreditch in London I could feel my anticipation rising as I took my seat in a small theatre at RichMix for the evening performance of “Dastaan with Sarvar Sabri”. I have attended many concerts and seen many films before but I wasn’t sure what to expect from “Dastaan” which was described as a riveting experience of live music, film and dance.  The stage was bare save for some seats and a blank screen. As the audience filed in and the lights dropped the studio was filled with an air of anticipation. We were all intrigued to see what the evening would bring. Although I had been lucky enough to see the musicians in rehearsal the actual performance was so much more dazzling than I had expected.  It was uplifting, exquisite and moving and so unlike any other live performance I had seen before.

This was my first experience of “Dastaan with Sarvar Sabri”. The performance space was intimate and we felt very close to the musicians on stage. Sarvar Sabri opened the show and by way of greeting, he introduced all the musicians. The atmosphere felt welcoming and even the younger members of the audience were put at ease and relaxed into their seats to enjoy the first half.  Each musician in turn gave us a little explanation of their instrument and the origin of the music that they were going to play. The music selection was eclectic and engaging. They were all interesting, beautiful and unique in their own way but the segment that really took my breath away was Sam Fox on the harp. The combination of her voice and the gentle rhythm played on the harp combined with the melodic tones of the welsh lullaby were mesmerising, evocative and beautifully haunting.


Photo credit : Anisa Fazal

After a short interval, the performance continued with a poignant silent film featuring Persian calligraphy by Mehdi Jamali and dance from renowned ballet dancer Marion Tait (Birmingham Royal Ballet). The musicians provided a musical backdrop to the film, in solo or group ensembles as we watched the images unfold. There was also spoken word segments that echoed the emotions displayed on the screen. The audience around me were rapt and I found the relationship portrayed in the film very moving and tender. 



The memory of the performance stayed with me long after the evening had finished. Marion Tate’s performance was sublime and she was able to evoke suggestions of loss and love with the most delicate of movements. The echoes of the music especially the beautiful chords of the harp lingered in the air even once the film had finished. I left the theatre thinking not only of the performance but how it had touched me and made me reflect on my relationships and how quickly time was passing and how important it was to make the most of life and all that it has to offer. 

Each performance of “Dastaan with Sarvar Sabri” is unique and the atmosphere created is subtly different depending on the venue and audience. 

It will be so interesting to perform in a library setting at Cherry Hinton in Cambridge on Saturday 18thMay where there are still some tickets available:

We are also looking forward to continuing the tour of this unique and thought-provoking show at the University of Leicester’s Attenborough Arts Centre on the 24thMay:




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Same Same...But Different!

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Image credit: Simon Richardson

It’s a cold and cloudy morning here at Sonia Sabri company! We can’t start the day here without a coffee… can anyone?

Anyway, I’ve been hearing an intriguing sound through the office door for a few weeks now and needed an excuse to see what’s been going on recently in the studio. I very kindly offered to make the office some coffees and finally, I had the chance to step into the dance studio to flick the kettle on and… WOW!

Three amazing young dancers leap around the room to a wild rhythm, surrounded by colour and energy. A thought-provoking story is encased in movement. Their passion and enthusiasm for the piece is so exciting! Admittedly, I had to re-boil the kettle after I’d remembered what I was doing…

‘Same Same…But Different’ is a new family show, bringing together Sue Buckmaster, artistic director of Theatre Rites and our very own Artistic Director Sonia Sabri. The show uses live music, spoken word, Kathak, contemporary dance and physical theatre to explore themes of identity, difference and belonging.  The show will tour from February 2019 and is aimed at ages 5+ and their adults.

Catch the performance at Birmingham Hippodrome from Thursday 21st to Saturday 23rd February 2019! For more information about ‘Same Same…But Different’ and performances, visit: https://www.birminghamhippodrome.com/calendar/same-same-but-different/
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Winter Weekend Kathak Camp!

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Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th December 2018


Image credit: Pulkit Sharma

Christmas is fast approaching and we’ve not even started our Christmas shopping here at Sonia Sabri Company due to our extremely busy schedule! Does Santa do click and collect?

As part of our winter programme here at Sonia Sabri Company, we’re thrilled to be again running Kathak Camp! Back by popular demand, Kathak camp will run over the weekend of the 15th and 16th December, and welcomes all backgrounds, cultures and ages. Participants are required to have a minimum of two years experience in Kathak dance.

Image credit: Simon Richardson

Lead by our unbelievably talented Sonia Sabri, Kathak camp is a brilliant opportunity to be surrounded in beautiful rhythm, music and movement, as well as the chance to refine your current dance skills and connect with other emerging artists. At a time of thinking about others, why not do something for yourself? We’re looking forward to an intense weekend of fun and creativity- see you there! 

For more information, please contact Mel Lewis via email: mel@ssco.org.uk or telephone: 0121 622 3135.




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AKAAR - Tickets still available for SSCo's showcase extravaganza at mac Birmingham on Sunday 7th October 2018

Regional artists are set to wow audiences with their outstanding performances of music and dance.
Akaar presents some of the amazing talents Artistic Director, Sonia Sabri and Musical Director, Sarvar Sabri have nurtured through their dedicated teaching and guidance. In addition, Akaar showcases guest artists from the region and students from local groups and communities, and together the performers promise an evening of wonder and passion.

To book tickets contact 
the mac Birmingham on 0121 446 3232 or 









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Kathak and Tabla classes with Sonia Sabri Company

Sonia Sabri Company runs classes in Kathak, led by Sonia Sabri and Tabla, taught by Sarvar Sabri. The classes cater for all ages and are a mix of people from all walks of life. I have been attending classes for a while and originally joined the Kathak classes as a distraction from my studies. As my schoolwork load was becoming heavier, I felt I needed an element of escapism to reduce my stress.

In the class we learn the basics of Kathak, focusing on a variety of footwork, hand gestures, spins and rhythms. In addition, we also learn that Kathak is a very complex and intricate dance form as it requires rhythmic skills and making sure every part of your body is near perfect. Over many weeks we learn and perfect dance routines and once we are ready we have amazing opportunities to perform in showcases in professional theatres and various outdoor festivals, allowing us to grow as a performer and to build confidence in our chosen art form.

The class itself is a welcoming environment filled with people of all different backgrounds, cultures and ages. The students are respectful of their teacher as well as friendly. The Kathak classes are hard work but also very enjoyable. Sonia is an enthusiastic, funny and supportive teacher to the group. She is articulate in describing the movements in Kathak and creative in her choreography.

Kathak classes are a real highlight of my week; during my revision they helped take my mind off my exams and reduced my stress levels to help me focus. Kathak has become my passion, I thoroughly enjoy the classes – they are great fun, and help me to be a more adaptable person and give me complete fulfilment.







New term of classes with SSCo for Autumn 2018:

Tabla - Saturday 8 September 2018 (12-1pm)

Kathak - Saturday 8 September 2018 (12-1pm)

Asian Folk Dance - Tuesday 18 September 2018 (7 - 8pm)

New - Kathak Level 1 - Wednesday 19 September (7 - 8pm)

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The Festival vibe!

There is nothing quite like the thrill of performing on a stage in front of an audience. Unless of course that stage is outdoors! It is so special to be able to perform at an outdoor venue or festival where often the audience are within touching distance of you performing and the atmosphere is upbeat and full of energy. 
The ambiance of a music festival sparks a light inside anyone watching. The energy pulsating through the crowd is almost tangible and unites everyone there in perfect harmony. If you've ever been to a festival, you will know what we mean. A good festival experience will consist of meeting people you never normally would, listening to the sweet melodies of music you've never heard before and making wonderful memories you can keep with you for the rest of your life.

At Sonia Sabri Company we have been lucky enough to perform at a variety of festivals around the world and come rain or shine, alfresco events are unique and offer a fantastic experience both for the performers and the audience. All the hard work and hours of rehearsal are worth it when you catch a glimpse of members of the audience enthralled and captivated by your performance.  






Our outdoor events often incorporate the basics of Kathak, which give audiences an insight into this joyous and rhythmic Indian dance. Footwork, spins, rhythmic choreographies and the art of storytelling through mime, gesture and facial expressions are often explored accompanied by live music on a variety of instruments! The beat of the drums is infectious and it is wonderful to see young and old clapping along or tapping their own toes in time to the music. The melodies seem to hang in the air and the special bells worn around the dancers feet add an ethereal note to the performance. It always feels so special to be able to introduce the energy of Kathak to a new audience.
At SSCo music and dancing go hand and hand. Without the music there would be no dancing. The infectious melodies of Kathak encourage audience members to feel and move to the music, it is very much a two-way relationship with the performer and audience feeding off each others’ energy.

Not all performances take place in glorious sunshine, however, and evening performances or performances at dusk can also add a haunting undertone or highlight the passion in an individual or group display. The atmosphere can be even more intense and uplifting as the sun slowly sets and the music echoes through the darkness.



The feeling of looking out from the stage and seeing a crowd of people all having a wonderful time is amazing and one of the best feelings in the world.  We are looking forward to new and exciting performances this summer that will hopefully thrill and entertain no matter what the weather!


If you are interested in catching a live performance by Sonia Sabri Company or would like more information on booking SSCo please email
info@ssco.org.ukor call 01216223135.

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EXCITING NEWS

NEW TEAM MEMBER AT SSCO

We all here at Sonia Sabri Company would like to express a warm welcome to our newest member of the team.


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Lisa has lived in Birmingham for the last 20 years having fallen in love with the city whilst studying at the University of Birmingham. With a degree in English literature and over twenty years experience working in advertising research and event coordination, Lisa brings her love of the arts and organisational skills to her role at Sonia Sabri Company. As one of the leading contemporary South Asian dance and music companies in the UK, Lisa’s role at SSCo is multi faceted and varied with a focus on marketing, administration, audience development, social media and digital engagement. She is very much looking forward to immersing herself in the role and being a part of current creative productions as well as exciting new projects in the pipeline!







 
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The arrival of spring brings with it a new, vibrant dance class:

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Asian Folk Dance classes with Sonia Sabri

With a few glorious days of sunshine last week, stunning blossom trees in full bloom and front gardens and grass verges bursting with colour and new growth it really felt like spring was round the corner, bringing with it a sense of hope, excitement and fresh opportunities. April showers may well have returned with a vengeance but this hasn’t dampened the sense of optimism that seemed to have been ushered in alongside the blue skies and gentle golden sunshine of spring. A week into my new job here at Sonia Sabri Company, I am beginning to learn some of the intricacies of the poetic and rhythmic enchantment of Kathak dance. As I sit at my desk I can hear the gentle beat of lyrical music and the tapping and jingling of bells as Sonia uses just movement and expression to tell her complex stories. Kathak is an integral part of SSCo from classical to more urban interpretation and its grace and beauty is evident throughout the company. But to capture the true excitement and joy of spring and new beginnings I am thrilled that the company is piloting a new class for dance enthusiasts, South Asian Folk.  Folk dances are performed to express joy and festivity and are traditionally an integral part of any celebration. Unlike the complexity of Kathak, folk dances are relatively simple with minimum steps and movement but full of energy and vitality. Folk dance is vibrant, colourful and full of joy and laughter and perfectly reflects the hope that spring can bring, a burst of colour after a winter of grey skies, cold weather and bare fields and landscapes. 
If you are interested in learning more about the four week pilot of Asian Folk Dance classes please take a look at our website:
or give us a call on 0121 622 3135


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