All mums are special, but there is something extra special about a mum who has the chutzpah to wear a sequined bikini and feathered head dress. Introducing Perth’s newest and most dazzling dance group – Fanfarra.
Not all the Fanfarra dancers are mothers, but the core of the group is made up of ten Perth dancers aged in their 20s and 30s – including two mums, Natalie Asha, who also leads and choreographs the group; and Nahiiid, who fell in love with Brazilian samba during a year abroad after finishing Year 12.
The women come from all around the world, with representatives from almost all the continents, and their day jobs are just as impressive with doctors, lawyers and even geophysicists making up the group.
Dancer Natalie Asha
“We dance to celebrate a joy of life, love of music, and appreciation of culture,” says Natalie. “One of the great things about samba dancers is they come in all shapes, sizes and colours. Samba is not about performing to entice or impress other people, it is about performing to celebrate life and embrace yourself.”
The group was started in late 2015 with students from Natalie’s weekly samba class at The Dance Workshop in North Perth, and while all the spots are full for 2016, there will auditions for 2017 if it sounds like something you would be interested in doing. Natalie says “dancers must have a positive attitude, be professional (on time, and show-ready), experienced, and have a good natural stage personality.”
But what about the costumes? “There are also many options for samba costumes,” says Natalie. “Our dancers usually wear the traditional jewelled bikini and gorgeous headpieces, but not everyone does - it's really up to you!” Some of the dancers, including Nahiid make their own costumes. “I really enjoy the creative process: it is also satisfying to see my ideas take shape and become a finished and functional piece. My mum did have to show me how to use a sewing machine though.”
How does being a mum fit in with being a Fanfarra dancer? Nahiid kept dancing until she was about seven months into her pregnancy, and returned when her baby was around 4 months old. Natalie says “I was performing at events up until I was about 5 months pregnant (when I started to show), and then recommenced performing and teaching classes when my daughter was four months old. Having a baby has made me more efficient with my time, and it is amazing what we women can do on zero sleep.”
Women (and men) of all ages, sizes and experience are welcome to Natalie’s samba classes. “Although the style I most love to teach is fast and technical, I do adapt it according to who is in the class that day - there are many options with samba - you can take it easy, go barefoot and just enjoy the happy Brazilian music. Being a mum myself, I love having other mums in the class.”
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Speaking of mums, I just had to know – what do the girls mums think of them dancing in the sparkly bikinis? Nahiid says “Mum loves it! She loves the sparkles and feathers of the costumes, and she finds the music and its beat infectious. There's been lots of backyard and kitchen dancing, and I have found her twirling around in my head-dresses from time to time!”
Image credit http://www.jeremyphillips.com/
The group dances at all type of events including charity events, weddings and private functions, and have a summer promotion offering a free choreographed Brazilian samba performance with audience interaction to any community or charity events in January and February 2016.
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