Sonia Sabri – Choreographer/ Artistic Director/ Dancer

Sonia Sabri is amongst the brightest and most inspirational of British born dancer-choreographers working today. Creating work that spans from classical North Indian Kathak to explorations of contemporary approaches, her productions reflect her appreciation of Indian and British cultures. She has created a fresh, individual style of Kathak by reinventing it from within, pushing boundaries and creating work that is original in concept, exciting and relevant to today’s audiences. As a dancer, Sonia is acclaimed for her enchanting stage presence, grace and musicality that enthral audiences both at home and abroad.

Sonia Sabri’s innovation was recently recognised with her commission for The Place Prize 2006 and receipt of the Bonnie Bird New Choreography Award 2007.

Sonia Sabri performed internationally as a solo artist before establishing Sonia Sabri Company in 2002. SSCo has secured a reputation for innovative collaboration across dance styles and art forms, while preserving Kathak’s essential purity and integrity. SSCo’s commissioners have included Channel 4, The Royal Festival Hall, Tanzhaus, Dusseldorf, Deda, Sampad, Milap, Zero Culture, Dance on Screen and the British Council.

Sonia Sabri is committed to sowing the seeds of creativity in the next generation and is a teacher of Kathak dance who regularly undertakes workshops, lecture demonstrations & residencies in national & international venues. She is accredited by the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD) and is a member of the South Asian Dance Faculty. Sonia is also the artistic director of a youth dance and music company, Kathakaars.

You Tube videos:

Ustad Sarvar Sabri – Musical Director/ Tabla Vox

Ustad Sarvar Sabri is an internationally renowned tabla player whose versatility and passion for the rich diversity of the world’s musical traditions has spurred him to experiment constantly with other world- class musicians, composers and dancers. Sarvar collaborates alongside Sonia Sabri to create both traditional and unique contemporary works, extending boundaries of Kathak dance and his own classical form. He is an exponent of the rare Ajrada Gharana of Hindustani classical music and is from a musical dynasty whose lineage goes back eight generations to the Mughal courts. Sarvar studied tabla from an early age, his teachers including Ustad Mehdi Hasan Khan, Ustad Chhotey Ahmed Jan Khan and Ustad Bundu Khan.

Ustad Sarvar Sabri has recorded a number of CDs with India’s leading musicians and works with vocalists, instrumentalists and dancers. He is also involved with experimental and fusion work, composing music for theatre, story-telling, dance companies radio and television. Ustad Sarvar Sabri is the founder of The Sabri Ensemble whose music explores Indian, Latin American, Jazz and Western classical traditions. His most recent work includes the CD, Master Drummer of India and a joint commission with the British FiIm Institute to compose a live score for the 1928 film Shiraz.

You Tube video:

Marcina Arnold – Spoken Word Artist & Vocalist

British born with Scottish & South African roots, Marcina’ s first performance in the Edinburgh Festival at the age of 15 led The Scotsman to write “an astonishing young lady from London who sings Bessie Smith blues in the mind boggling manner of a skilled veteran, who is sure to have the music world at her feet”. Marcina’s versatile, fresh and cross-genre approach draws on a rich background including jazz, African, Indian and Brazilian influences. Blessed with a beautiful, distinctive singing voice, she is also an accomplished percussionist and spoken word artist. A prolific writer & composer, she has recorded a collection of her own songs , the album Twisted Blue Folk which she describes as Global music with jazz / folk roots and strong rhythmic influences.

Marcina is equally at ease performing Jazz, Folk, Soul R&B, Hip Hop, (she performed in Jonzi D’s Hip Hop extravaganza ” Aeroplane Man “) Reggae, Rock and Blues. She has worked with the finest musicians in UK and abroad including Bheki Mseleku, Steve Williamson, Airto Moreira, Manu Ventura, Mervyn Africa, Pops Mohammed, Busi Mhlongo and Eugene Skeef. She was a member of Capital Radio’s band of the Year, Quite Sane led by bassist Anthony Tidd and Pinise Saul’s South African Gospel Singers. She was vocalist for Jason Yardes’ Acoutastic Bombastic at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival and Dangerous Duets (both recorded by BBC). Marcina is a member of the Thebe Lipere’s djembe orchestra Moropa and performs as vocalist/percussionist with Latin fusion band Deep Mamboo, Brasilian Afro Sambo group Ere Afro Samba and F’Ire Big band, which features the cream of London’s international jazz players. She had a principal role in Fay Weldons A Small Green Space with English National Opera. Marcina currently performs as a soloist and with her quartet Marcina & The Love Rats.

Marcina’s spoken word style is edgy and raw, a British Asian urban style layered with traditional influences. She has written and performed as a spoken word artist with Eugene Skeef and with Byron Wallen’s The Tarot Suite, The London Philharmonic Orchestra’s Udu: Talking Drum, as well as creating her own compositions for her own album About Time (Counterpoint Records). Marcina is also a Kathak dancer, training with Abhay Shankar Misra and is a member of Shamaa dance company led by Sushma Mehta.

You Tube video:

Amayra Fuller – Dancer

Amayra Fuller is a trained contemporary dancer who studied at The Northern School of Contemporary Dance, Leeds where she achieved a BPA Hons in Dance Performance. She has a interest in a range of dance styles including sStreet and African which is where her passion for dance began at a young age.

Amayra Fuller works for ACE Music and Dance, delivering some of their dance programme for young people and adults. She has also performed with ACE Music and Dance and participated in master classes led by Vincent Mantsoe and Douglas Thorpe. Amayra has delivered many projects for children including a project called African Village.

Amayra Fuller has worked with Sonia Sabri on phase one and two (research and development) of Kathakbox in London and Birmingham with Richard Alston as her mentor. Amayra also performed at The Place 40th Anniversary celebrations.

You Tube video:

Nathan Geering – Dancer

Nathan Geering has been dancing for eight years and was trained in China, Korea and America. He specialises in b-boying, popping and locking and merges these styles to tell stories. Nathan was an original cast member of the touring Hip Hop dance theatre production, TAG by UK Hop Hop pioneer, Jonzi D. His recent works include Bollyworld, which was performed at the South Asian Arts Festival in Derby and Bright in the Corner, a collaboration with artists from South Africa.

Nathan Geering has also worked in the commercial sector with performances for both Toni and Guy and JD Sports. Currently he is the body double for a lead character in the Bollywood movie Someday and in the past year Nathan got into the final for Tear it Up, was the winner of G’s got Talent and was in top eight for a B-boy competition held in New York.

Nathan Geering is a resident judge for the national street dance competition, Battle of the Bounce and has also performed at the international Hip Hop festival Breakin’ Convention on numerous occasions. Nathan also teaches across South Yorkshire and Derbyshire.

Nathan Geering is featured as one of the dancers in this You Tube video:

Suzanne Grubham – Dancer

Suzanne Grubham has danced for Sonia Sabri Company since 2009. She is one of the leading contemporary dance artists working in the West Midlands. Susanne also studied Flamenco and Egyptian dance, which have many crossovers with Kathak. The intricate detail and earthy, grounded energy of these styles connect with her principles and style of work.

Suzanne began studying contemporary dance with Birmingham Youth Dance Company, performing work by Filip van Huffel and Motionhouse. She gained a first class honours Degree in Dance and Professional Practice in 2006 from Coventry University. Since graduating she has performed with Richard Alston Dance Company and toured nationally

with The Tell Woman choreographed by Nikky Smedley. She was a founder member of Birmingham Dance Collective, with whom she performed and co-choreographed work for arts & music festivals including Twice Upon A Time – a piece performed on the streets of the city centre and The Pink Wigs – performed at the NEC, Drop Beats Not Bombs and New Vibes 07 at The Patrick Centre. Her solo Satori, created in collaboration with acclaimed composer Attab Haddad, was also performed at New Vibes 07. As a musician Suzanne has played Middle Eastern percussion for workshops and performed throughout the UK with Joelle Barker.

Susanne has taught for Birmingham Royal Ballet, CAT, Elmhurst School for Dance, Birmingham University and Birmingham Town Hall. She is Dance Artist in Residence at The Dance Workshop, teaches advanced contemporary technique at Birmingham DanceXchange and has recently began teaching for ACE Music and Dance.

Shan Bansil – Beatboxer

Shan Bansil is a freelance artist working within arts education and media. He got involved in the arts in 2002 through studying tabla and piano and has also studied Music Technology and Sound Engineering.

Shan has been a workshop leader since 2005, working on schools based music and radio projects for organisations and projects such as Sampad, Bright Space and Get On The Radio. Shan has also worked for the BBC Asian Network radio station since 2006 and for the BBC he has held various roles including Broadcast Assistant, Producer, Studio Engineer and Co-Presenter.

Shan has been composing, song writing and performing since 2006 with his own musical outfit The Shankojam and more recently playing keyboards and MCing with the music collective Urban Junglee. He has performed at the BBC Maida Vale studios and Shambala Festival, played percussion for Birmingham Opera Company and beatboxed for the Raghu Dixit Project in Hyderabad, India.

Zena Edwards – Guest Music Creator

Zena Edwards is a poet and performer who uses song, movement and global influences as a jump- off for her words. She defines the fusion of poetry and music by including traditional African instruments and new technology, to create her own sound tracks for her poems and stories, producing a body of work that reaches culturally and generationally diverse audiences on an international level. Zena fuses jazzy Hip Hop grooves, heavily influenced by her world music.

Zena Edwards has performed at festivals worldwide and also works in schools and colleges, supported by the Apples and Snakes poetry organisation, 57 Productions and the British Council and has shared the stage and anthologies with some of her most admired predecessors including Linton Kwesi Johnson, Sonia Sanchez, Lemn Sissay, Jean Binta Breeze and Roger McGough. Her work is often inspired by travel, particularly in Africa.

Zena Edwards has performed her own one-woman show, Broken Words and has produced work for several BBC radio broadcasts and short films for Sky Digital. She was recently Resident Poet at the Poetry Cafe in Covent Garden and shortlisted for the first Arts Foundation Award for Performance Poetry. Zena has also produced two CDs, entitled Healing Pool and Mine 4 Life.

“a poet of consummate skill, whose career as an artist is going from strength to strength” The Guardian.

Jonzi D – Artistic Consultant

Jonzi D has been actively involved in British Hip Hop culture, rapping and b-boying in clubs and on the street since the early Eighties. Jonzi D Productions is an Associate Company of Sadler’s Wells and is based at the theatre. Jonzi D has devised and directed several Hip Hop theatre productions, which have successfully toured the UK to critical acclaim.

Jonzi D is also the curator and host of the acclaimed Breakin’ Convention, International Hip Hop Dance Theatre festival, nominated for a South Bank Show Award and now in its fifth year. He has directed pieces for Robert Hylton, Benji Reid, Jane Sekonya, Loop Dance Co, and ACE Dance and Music. He presented the 2005 4Dance for Channel 4 television and was the performance mentor for Urban Classic at Hackney Empire in February 2006. In 2007, Jonzi was listed as one of the top 10 positive Black musical role models by MOBO.

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