A Review of Virago

Mon, Feb 5 2018 06:26
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A Review of Virago 

I was interested to learn that Virago had been the result of some extensive research. As a woman, I was grateful to hear this. I've always been interested in listening to other women's stories and the fact that SSCo had clearly listened to other women and had attempted to understand them, made the performance more real for me. I was informed that Virago was not an attempt to victimise women but instead to explore the various elements of a female and indeed, an individual. Some of these themes and elements include the repression and entrapment of women, mental health issues including eating disorders and anxiety.

Sonia's dance art, Kathak was fast paced, energetic and had moments of real pain and power. I was transfixed by the haunting music from the company's musical director, Sarvar Sabri. There is some dialogue scattered throughout which serves to move the story on and add a bit of pathos to the narrative. The majority of the music playing had me feeling as if I had just wandered into a dream, which not only made the performance more exciting but also left me thinking about it long after it had finished.

The dancing itself also had elements of ballet and this translated into the clear ups and downs of life. The best thing about this is that you can tell that it is Sonia's personal style and that it reflects modern society and the experiences she has gone through both as a dancer and as a woman. Personally, I took the fast paced nature of Virago to reflect the frenetic energy of modern life and how hard it is to gain perspective as a person and how hard it is to gain a sense of freedom and voice as a woman.

By far my favourite part of the performance was the imagery that it conjured up. The build up of the broken female, her attempt to overcome the tragedies enforced on her and how these two things correlate in the world of reality and the world of psychedelic fantasy. Sonia's attempt to explore the minds and experiences of women everywhere more than pays off and the dedication and energy shown should be replicated in every other dance show out there.

Virago dates:

The Old Rep Theatre, Birmingham, 15th February, 7.30pm;
Swindon Dance, Swindon, 23rd March, 7.30pm.

Photographs by Simon Richardson

Writer and Reviewer: Abigail Remmer



Tue, Nov 21 2017 07:23
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That's right! The successful Kathak Camp is back again by popular demand! This time around it has been our students that have asked for this to return as they were so impressed with the last Kathak intensive!

Venue: Baithak House, 202 Moseley Street, Digbeth, Birmingham B12 0RT

Dates: Sat 16th  December – Sun 17th December 2017, 10am-5pm

What is it?
Sonia Sabri Company is offering a fantastic opportunity for Kathak students to immerse themselves into a weekend intensive and inspirational course led by world-renowned artist Sonia Sabri. 

Kathak is profoundly based on the complex foundation of rhythm and percussive creativity. To execute these with a wider rhythmic palette and expressive depth, one must be able to appreciate, analyse and illustrate the Kathak vocabulary.

Sessions will focus on the artform technique, development of vocabulary, creation and execution including recitation, and artform appreciation.

Image by Simon Richardson

Sonia Sabri is an award-winning artist creating and performing world-class productions around the globe. She is a current, leading performing artist who performs regularly and offers a unique insightful learning experience, and a repertoire relevant to today’s arts scene. 

Sonia is also an award-winning dedicated teacher with a wealth of experience and knowledge.

Her generous training and guidance enables students to reach their potential and support those with a desire of developing into the next generation of artists. So come along and immerse yourself on what promises to be an adrenaline boosting experience!

Who is it for?
Kathak Camp is suitable for Kathak students:
  • with a minimum of 2 years training
  • who are dedicated to the study and practice of Kathy
  • who enjoy learning in a fun and focused environment.

Image by Simon Richardson

Additional benefits?
In addition to the above: an insight into technique, style and performance, Kathak Camp offers you some of the following:
  • Professional development
  • Personal development
  • Accredited qualification towards Duke of Edinburgh
  • Accredited qualification towards Arts Award
  • Potential opportunity to perform as part of company's annual showcase Akaar
  • Potential opportunity to join Kathakaars (music and dance performance company for aspiring artists)
  • Potential recruitment as part of Sonia Sabri Company 
  • Opportunity to connect with other dance students and emerging artists.

Where and When?
Baithak House, 202 Moseley Street, Digbeth, Birmingham. B12 0RT
Saturday 16thand Sunday 17th December 10-5pm!

What is the cost?
£60 per person

Enrolment Details
To receive an enrolment form, or for any further queries please contact: Melanie Lewis, Projects Manager. 
Email: mel@ssco.org.uk  or Tel: 0121 622 3135
Deadline to enrol is 5pm Monday 4th December 2017.



Tue, Nov 14 2017 04:21
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Bored with the standard gym workout class and searching for something more creative and exciting than Tai Chi in the park, I came across Sonia Sabri's Kathak and Tabla classes. I wanted something that was going to engage me, excite me and keep me entertained long after. Sonia Sabri Company host a variety of different classes for all age groups, covering the beauty and energy of Indian music and dance.

I was excited to attend my first class, ready to learn more about the intricacies of Kathak dance. Kathak is a North Indian dance style that is known for its graceful and fluid movements and its rhythmic footwork. This particular dance is specialised and honed by internationally acclaimed artist, teacher and choreographer, Sonia Sabri, who not only shares her skills and knowledge in class but adds a new perspective to an already inspirational art.

Sonia Sabri Company capture the grace, fluidity and fun of Kathak dance. 

I was also excited to learn about Tabla Percussion as well, which is also offered alongside the Kathak dance class. The Tabla is a culmination of two drums, a treble and a bass that are played whilst you are on the floor. This is just as exciting and immersive as Kathak with the group class syllabus being spread between learning basic strokes, speed control and rhythm from Sarvar Sabri, who is a well- renowned Tabla master. 

The immersive nature of the Tabla is taught by world-renowned maestro, Sarvar Sabri. 

The best thing about these sessions is that you don't even need to have any experience in either art, as they are taught in a friendly and open manner. However, what you will come away with is a new found knowledge of Kathak and Tabla and maybe even an urge to try it again. The classes are held in Digbeth, Birmingham, only a short 10 minute walk away from the bustling centre of Birmingham's Bullring and Grand Central Station. 

If you would like to try a session and are interesting in having some fun and learning a new art, then contact Melanie Lewis at 0121 622 3135 or get in touch by email at mel@ssco.org.uk. 



Wed, Oct 25 2017 02:36
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There was a real buzz on Saturday 21st October at the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum. We had been invited by the venue to help celebrate the 'Crafts of the Punjab' exhibition. 

The day was so busy and full of joy and fun! We felt like we didn't stop! There was Punjabi dance and music performances, Rangoli art workshops, storytellers, and so much more!

And on top of that, the participants that took part in the activities were really engaged in what they were doing, and the audiences were totally mesmerised by the performances!

It was great to see so much enthusiasm! Thank you to the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum!

(Image by Mel Lewis)



Tue, Oct 24 2017 02:51
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I remember the first time I ever saw ‘Lok Virsa’ and became involved in some way with the project was in April 2012 as part of the Alchemy Festival, Southbank Centre. 

‘Lok Virsa’ means the ‘heritage of the people.’ It is this wonderful simplicity that Sonia Sabri Company celebrates by focussing on the beautiful arts and crafts of the Indian subcontinent.


(Image by Sonia Sabri Company)

India and Pakistan share a rich heritage in their customs and traditions, which unites the people of these places, despite political differences. It is this heritage that has transmitted itself to different parts of the world and is now being shared right here in the UK.

The main things that I recollect from the ‘Lok Virsa’ day in 2012 were the vibrant colours of the costumes, the beautiful sounds of the folk songs, the simplicity of the folk dances, the buzz of the audiences, the chitter chatter of workshop participants and the interaction of spectators as they watched the performances. It was a truly amazing and joyful day!


(Image by Pulkit Sharma)

Five years on and ‘Lok Virsa’ still remains to intrigue audiences all over the UK and you’ll be pleased to know that the festival will next be seen at Swindon Dance, 5th Nov, 12pm-5pm.




Tue, Aug 29 2017 04:19
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Working in Marketing for Sonia Sabri Company can be full of surprises. Some days are spent working on a laptop completing all of the admin jobs, and other days are spent 'out and about' meeting staff of other venues to make sure that everything's looking organised for the next event. 

Take for instance; Saturday 26th August, 2017. This was my first time since joining the company (from the beginning of August) in which I spent the entire day not only helping out at the Lok Virsa (South Asian arts and crafts event), but also in watching such amazing performances and workshops!

The day was full of so much energy and the artists all looked wonderful in their colourful clothes!

There were so many routines that the dancers had learnt. It must have taken them hours of practise, and they must have given up so much of their own time to rehearse for such an exciting event.

It makes you think how and where this all begins!

In fact it all starts right here! Yes, here in the studio space of Sonia Sabri Company in Digbeth, Birmingham. 

These fantastic dancers that displayed their skills have and continue to develop their Kathak dance skills through weekly classes. Some have gone into these sessions with very little experience, and some with no experience at all!

So, it doesn't matter if you have danced for years or have no idea of dance. These weekly classes are open to everyone!

Not only that, but there's also classes on offer for tabla too! Again, no experience is necessary!

So, why not come along and join in and have fun?

If you'd like to find out more about these exciting classes, then check out the link below and enrol today!

And who knows, YOU maybe performing in the next Sonia Sabri Company event too!


(Image above by Sonia Sabri Company)


Night of Festivals South Asia 2017

Wed, Aug 9 2017 03:36
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Saturday 19th August 

1.15 - 2pm

As part of Leicester's festivities marking the 70th Anniversary of India and Pakistan's Independence, Sonia Sabri Company have been invited to perform at Night of Festivals South Asia 14-19th August. 

This is part of a six day festival that celebrates the spirit of South Asia, exploring Indian and Pakistani heritage; past, present and future. 

This spectacular event sees Sonia Sabri Company perform an energetic and vibrant array of folk, classical and funky dance styles.

Join us and other artists on an exciting journey in which the rich and diverse flavours of South Asia will be revealed through not only dance but also through music, visual arts, exhibitions, crafts, food, conversations and much, much more...

This is a FREE event, so don't miss your chance to watch us in action and experience the joys of dance. 

Image by Livvy Buckland 


Thu, Jul 27 2017 09:31
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Greenbelt Festival 2017

We are extremely excited that an exert of 'Salaam' will be included in the line up of Greenbelt Festival at Boughton House, Kettering, on the 27th August, 7:00pm! 

Since 1974, Greenbelt have had a mission to create spaces, where art, faith and justice collide, hosting a multi-arts festival programme of music, visual and performing arts, spirituality, comedy, talks and discussion. Their commitment to the arts, has made them a great platform for us to showcase 'Salaam.'

Prior to the performance, come along and discover the basics of Kathak, with an exclusive dance workshop, at 12:30pm, which will you give an insight into the joyous and rhythmic indian dance. Footwork, spins,rhytmic choreographies and the art of storytelling through mime, gesture and facial expressions will all be explored!

This will be followed by the highly anticipated presentation of Salaam in the evening! The piece is set to be stunning, cleverly weaving dialogue between exhilarating live music and meaningful storytelling, through Kathak. Acclaimed, Sonia Sabri will command the stage, with her precise, graceful technique and command of rhythm and repertoire, whilst Sarvar Sabri as a gifted tabla player, will provide a deep and unique insight into Indian classical music. 

To find out more- 


Thu, Jul 27 2017 09:31
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LOK VIRSA: Beyond Borders
Saturday 26th August

As a company that celebrates music, poetry, crafts and dance, we are delighted to announce that our one day mela event, LOK VIRSA: Beyond Borders, will be returning to Birmingham at the Library of Birmingham this summer!
On Saturday the 26th of August, from 11-4:30pm, we will be celebrating South Asian arts and culture, going 'beyond borders' and reminding audiences of unity despite modern borders and political differences. 

This event is very close to our hearts, as inspirational artists from the Indian sub-continent ,will be sharing their love and passion for art forms such as Dance, Arabic Calligraphy, Mehndi, Rangoli and Block Printing! Its set to be an engaging,inclusive day for all of the family, with a variety of engaging workshops, and exciting Indian traditions activities.

You could find yourself unleashing your artistic and creative side, with a Ajrakh inspired block printing activity, that will not only excite but educate you in the fascinating history and culture of South Asia. 

Or simply being memorized by watching the fast paced and energetic traditional folk dances from the subcontinent!

With not long to go, we encourage you to come and re-discover the roots and ideas behind South Asian music, dance and visual arts, at LOK ViRSA!

Wed, Jul 5 2017 05:41
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Akaar 2017
Akaar 2017 was a success, showcasing the local talent of the Midlands at the Old Rep Theatre on Saturday 1st July. 

The journey began with an open invitation to Midlands based dance and music groups, of all  backgrounds. The responses received was overwhelming, with a variety of emerging talents showing interest.

As the performance day arrived, adrenaline filled the backstage dressing rooms, as the final preparations of the showcase took place. The weeks of intense rehearsals leading up to the performance had finally come to a close, as the dancers and musicians waited for their call backstage. All of the performers shared a passion for classical, folk, Bharathanatyam, Bollywood and Kathak, and were finally ready to perform on the Old Rep Theatre stage, to an excited audience. 

The public were thrilled with the standard of the show, eager to come back and see similar performances! Akaar 2017 wouldn't have been a success, without all of the hard working performers and supportive audience members! 

We hope to see you for another successful Akaar in 2018! 

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