Spring Travelling Tea Dance

The Dance Woking team returned in March with the Spring Travelling Tea Dance. Covering six venues over the week, it was our biggest tour yet with residents thrilled to have us returning once again ready to watch, interact and move to celebrate the season.

The event featured a mix of dance performances and participation opportunities, inspired by Spring, as well as nods to Fosse, Cha cha cha and Greek dance! Halfway through the sessions, tea and cake were served and allowed all participants to interact with each other.

Residents were thrilled to have the team visit again with some commenting “This brings back memories. You were a joy to watch” and another remarking “The session today was outstanding. We can’t put it into words how valuable it was. We want to book again for Summer and book two please” 

Ellie Dowling, Project Manager and Engagements Manager for Dance Woking said “Over the five tours, we have developed a programme that is fun, playful, nostalgic and inspirational. Most of all it encourages joy through being together and sharing music, movement and memories. Many of the care homes have commented how this seasonal aspect helps to encourage residents to notice the weather, the changes outside, to delve into memories and talk about the themes as well as the dance and music. The Travelling Tea Dance is an essential provision for these venues and we can’t wait to continue to develop the tour in the borough.”

Thank you so much to the venues and residents that allowed our tour to visit them. We hope they all enjoyed it and can’t wait to visit again soon.

This project was made possible thanks to funding support from Woking Borough Council, Shanly Foundation and Arts Council England.

We are now in the process of booking venues for out Summer Travelling Tea Dance Tour. If you are a local residential home or community centre that would like us to bring our tour to you this Spring, visit our Travelling Tea Dance Event page for more information or contact us.


Mini Mela Community Dance Platform Bringing local talent together!

Saturday 25th February saw us bring local south Asian dance groups from Woking come together to perform at the Mini Mela Community Dance Platform at Buzz Studio, Woking.

Buzz studio was filled on Saturday with community groups dancing in South Asian styles with Kathak, Bharatanatyam, Bollywood and Chinese Classical dancing. The theatre was filled with an amazing array of colour and lavish costumes and make-up. There were five different community groups performing whom male professional soloist Shyam Dattanii joined, closing the evening with classical Kathak dancing. 

The evening was full of fun, with the groups really enjoying the fun and relaxed atmosphere. Beeja’s Children’s group from Croydon opened the evenings showcase with a lively Bollywood medley about kites and flying followed by a piece that played with colour to celebrate Holi, a march festival representing the beginning of Spring. Desi Movez followed, based in Byfleet, the group is made up of NHS health workers who are passionate about dancing. They presented a fusion of 4 Bollywood songs, using the Gharba and Dandiya styles. Third on stage were Beeja’s classical community dance group. These dancers used the piece to explore motherhood and the universal feminine. 

The Chinese Association of Woking, fresh from their New Year celebration in Jubilee square followed with a beautiful piece choreographed from the traditional peacock dance of the Dai people in Southern China. This beautiful dance brought us to a moonlit bamboo forest in a Dai village along the Mekong.  

Beeja’s performance group increased the tempo with two pieces, the first showcasing all that is snazzy about being a women and the second celebrating the universal gooses through a folk form called Garba, a circle dance that would include the entire community, who would gather to dance together each October.  Closing the platform was male soloist Shyam Dattanii who performed a beautiful Kathak piece. 

The audience was treated to a finale that included a follow and response clapping game led by Amina Khayyam. A massive thank you to all the groups involved in the performance and for making it such a success.


Dance Woking’s Mini Mela an enthusiastic success!

Dance Woking’s first Mini Mela took place at the Buzz Studio in Woking this February and was welcomed with enthusiasm and happiness from the local community. A celebration of South Asian Cultures, the event, in collaboration with Amina Khayyam Dance Company, brought the best of new South Asian arts to the city centre in this exciting event.

The festival was packed with head turning dance performances, comedy, film, music and talks & discussions

Dance Woking’s Mini Mela opened on Thursday 23 February at Buzz Studio, Woking with a premiere of Amina Khayyam Dance Company’s (AKDC) piece Striped Sari. At the opening were members from Surrey Dance Network, along with members of the public and supporters of Dance Woking, and Liaise Women’s Centre who provided the delicious South Asian inspired appetizers.  Amina Khayyam and two company dancers, Jane Chan and Abirami Eswar performed Striped Sari. A very personal piece that started its journey in AKDC’s workshop with Liaise Women’s Centre in Woking exploring the identify of what was once the national dress for South Asian women. A lively question and answer session followed the performance; feedback included form one audience member: 

I found the Q&A inspiring. What a pleasure to be in the presence of such articulate, intelligent and knowing women.……I could have listened to the conversation about the Sari, the culture, the history and difficulties faced by Asian women both from the husbands and male relatives and the sense of not belonging to either the East or West.’

Audience Member at Striped Sari

Friday saw three up and coming female South Asian Comedians take to the stage. Supported by a small but enthusiastic audience, there was good banter between the comedians and audience. Compere Bas Rahman was the stand-out performance and definitely a comedian to watch in future. Bas was joined by Monica Chatterjee and Alex Bertulis-Fernandes.  

Buzz studio was filled on Saturday with community groups dancing in South Asian styles with Kathak, Bharatanatyam, Bollywood and Chinese Classical dancing. The theatre was filled with an amazing array of colour and lavish costumes and make-up. More details to follow.

Saturday 4 March saw an afternoon of film at Nova Cinema with an Art House Film, A Thousand Borrowed Eyes, a short film focusing on Kathak dancer and choreographer, Nahid Saddiqui, followed by a special in-person Q&A with Nahid. If you like Bollywood Blockbusters, Pakeezah, on the big screen, will give you an opportunity to enjoy some nostalgia. The day was completed with a live performance double bill of ‘Bird’ and ‘Manchild’ by AKDC with live music accompaniment of the tabla and Cello closes the festival. 

Sam McCaffrey, Artistic Director, Dance Woking said, ‘this festival has been filled with so much joy. We have presented an inspiring programme, curated by Amina Khayyam Dance Company, that has featured three very different evenings, all themed with a South Asian element and each has been well received.  We look forward to building on this our first Mini Mela.

Thank you to everyone who was involved in bringing this festival to Woking – we can’t wait to build on it’s success next year.


Dance Woking Dazzle Days!

Dance Woking are delighted to add DAZZLE DAYS to our expanding outreach provision in local schools. Dazzle days are ideal for an end of term or year enrichment day. They can involve multiple groups or classes all participating in short workshops based on a dance style of the school’s choice.

Dazzle days on offer for Summer Term 2023:

Kings Coronation – A dazzle day focusing on dance that centres around British Heritage

Carnival – Learn all about the vibrant celebrations of Carnival Dance through dance, music and movement. Lively, fun and accessible workshops for all ages, including colourful props and shakers. The day culminates with the opportunity to try a carnival procession.

South Asian Dance – a day focusing on either Kathak, Bollywood or Bharat Natyam

Plastics/Pollution – A creative day focusing on the environment and how plastics and pollution are affecting our world

The Dazzle Day was amazing, the children all had a really fab time and it was well organised. All staff (even the ones for whom dancing isn’t a strength) had a great time, so thank you very much”

Teacher, Horsell Village School

Dazzle Days take place between 9am – 3pm, timetables are bespoke and are led by a fully qualified Dance Woking Outreach Team member.

If you would like more information about our Dazzle days or to find out costs and a breakdown of a typical day please contact Ellie, Engagements Manager.