South Coast MED Fest 2007





Acclaimed for her excellent instruction and renowned for her sensuous fluidity, Yasmin has captivated audiences worldwide with her natural passion.


International artiste, teacher and choreographer in Egyptian dance, Maria is renowned for her inspiring workshops and performances.


Tim is an accomplished Darabuka player and has worked with Natacha Atlas, Transglobal Underground and Cheb Mami.
Accompanying Tim is DAVE MURRAY, a multi instrumentalist who has worked with Tim for many years.


Of Persian descent, Fereshteh hails from Edinburgh. She llearnt her skills directly from Egyptian instructors and has performed in Cairo, Sweden and the U.K.


Having originally trained with Yasmin, Jan is now JWAAD qualified. Her vibrant, lively style brings a sense of fun to both her teaching and dancing.


American born, professional dancer, Raheesha originally studied Middle Eastern dance in Morocco and America, and now teaches at international festivals.


German born, Heike first trained with Sandra Thibault and is now JWAAD qualified.  She specialises in Egyptian and Tribal style. .




'I have just returned from Yasmin's MED Fest and wanted to say what a great weekend we had.  The workshops were all superb.  The performance on Saturday night was outstanding, such talent, not only the teachers but also Yasmin's troupe, very impressive.  We also had a fun Hafla on Friday night with more performances and some great food.  Yasmin provided dancers with the opportunity to improve technique, have a fun weekend and take part in an extremely well run and interesting festival greatly enjoyed by all those who attended.'
Anne Tillin


'Yasmin - just a note to say what a superb weekend you put on for us.  You made us very welcome at the Hafla, and seeing Raheesha's dance in bondage kit was great fun.  When Fereshteh came out in her pink costume and dance with such power, I said to Anne that nothing could get any better.  The Saturday night show was out of this world, you were all so good, my husband loved Tim's drumming, and I thought Maria's smile lit up the whole place.  In fact the whole event, including all the workshops and Jan's talk, was fantastic.  Thank you for going to all this trouble, enabling us to keep up with our favourite hobby.   You are a real star and we salute you!'

Chris Pole


'Yasmin - Saturday night your dancing with Tim was fabulous.  I thoroughly enjoyed the show, the whole contenct was first class.  You look as lovely as ever.'

Chrissie Liley


Feedback from 2006 Festival

Dear Yasmin

What a great weekend, we (me + 3) had a wonderful time and enjoyed ourselves very much. I thought very well organised and well worth the money as teachers, yourself included, were very professional and friendly. I especially enjoyed your Moorish Gypsy class on Sunday morning. My only negative comment was that I thought Maria’s Folkloric Saaidi, with sticks, was over-crowded and would have been better in the bigger hall, but that is not a criticism, more an observation.

If you decided to do the same next year and we attend, let me know if you would like me to decorate the stage with an eastern backdrop – would love to oblige.

Thanks for the experience.

Pauline Arnold, Launceston, Cornwall


 Dear Yasmin

It was so nice to have an event in our area. I enjoyed the weekend very much. The classes and shows were lovely. Not to mention the friendly spirit amongst everyone. I do hope that this Festival is the first of many.

I would have liked maybe half an hour break between the two classes in the main hall on Saturday afternoon. 3 hours was rather a long time in one stretch for me. But I didn’t want to miss anything.

You must have worked very hard to organise the event but it was much appreciated by everyone that I spoke to.

Many thanks,

Jean Cox, Poole


Dear Yasmin,

Just a few lines to say how much Caroline and I enjoyed the Festival on Saturday. All the hard work that must have gone into the planning certainly paid off and was appreciated. We both had a great day.

The concert in the evening was wonderful. It was a shame there weren’t more people to enjoy the fantastic dancing. We’ll bring lots of friends next time!

Thanks again for a great day. See you soon.

Hazel Jeffery, Poole


Unfortunately I couldn’t make the workshops, but the performance evening on Saturday night was great, with a nice mix of solo and group dances. Maria D’Silva did an extremely professional and flawless long* piece which had me in awe. I would recommend this festival which is going to run next year too.

Shamira, Glastonbury

* I’m so grateful to Maria for dancing this long piece, as I was changing into my 7th and final costume during this time!



I did 3 workshops on the Sunday - all very varied and challenging + fun.  I wish I could have done all of them.  A break between scheduled classes would have been good i.e. 15 mins. to go to the ladies, grab a tea/coffee or water.  Also time to recover!

The Dancers Showcase was excellent - lots of different ideas and interpretations.  I will certainly come to another one.  Many thanks for putting in all the effort for organising the event.  It was excellent.

Christine Paine, Christchurch


Hello Yasmin,

I very much enjoyed your dance festival. The atmosphere was friendly and relaxed. Maria’s cane workshop was great, but there were too many people in the room. I love Maria’s teaching style and learned some new moves. She’s a very inspiring teacher and fun!

Well done for all your hard work!! It was a lovely day out.

Sabine Dawson, Salisbury


Hi Yasmin,

I’m glad your festival was a success. I enjoyed your Zambra Mora workshop, and that’s something I’d like to do more of. I also enjoyed Maria’s cane workshop ‘though I didn’t think there was enough room for the number of people.

I also liked the long lunch hour. There’s nothing worse than having to bolt down a sandwich between workshops. I was a bit worried about performing on stage at the showcase without my glasses on! I will certainly try to come to next year’s festival.

Fiona Musker, Andover


Yasmin offered the opportunity to anyone who attended the 2006 Festival to write a review

Dear Yasmin,

Here is a short review containing my thoughts and observations regarding your first ‘South Coast MED Fest’.
For me, and everyone I spoke to, it was a resounding success ….. so much so, that I sincerely hope preparations for the next one are already under way.

Before I go on, I must disclose my personal interest in the Festival. I attended as an eager participant in the drum workshops, so professionally and effectively conducted by those two impresarios of percussion, Tim Garside and Dave Murray. Bang on chaps!

The Festival took place at The Allendale Community Centre in the quaint, picturesque old English village of Wimborne in Dorset. With the ancient grey stone Minster as its centre piece, my fellow patrons and I were afforded the town’s small market square, framed by convenient ‘on the doorstep’ local facilities, offering a wide range of supplies, meals and snacks in small cafés, or more sophisticated palatial restaurants, discreetly flexing to one’s budget and desire.

A whole variety of interesting workshop topics (diverse in content from drumming to spinning with a veil) were taught by some of the country’s most distinguished and reputable teachers. The complimentary addition of live music in some dance workshops (and during the shows) was a delightfully pleasing bonus. Comments overheard suggest that all the sessions ran smoothly, were intelligible, full of useful material, and gave students real value for money.

Overall, it was a relaxed and fun event. The well attended workshops flowed seamlessly from one to another like clockwork, as did the well lit and audibly balanced Saturday evening show ‘Sahara Sunset’. Theatrically staged within a cosy, proscenium arch setting, it gave one’s muscles a welcome break, and the opportunity to be served with a feast of breathtaking, stunning and colourfully costumed performances delivered by some of the most talented, engaging and naturally gifted dancers in the genre. The programme included articulate international artistes Maria D’Silva, Raheesha, and of course, our host, Yasmin Asar, along with her ‘Jewels of the Nile’ and a few surprises! I was even invited to join Tim and the drummers on stage for an interval jam session, and made an attempt at a few hip movements during the energising live Dance Party which followed the show.

This high standard of dance excellence was mirrored by the Sunday afternoon ‘Finale Showcase’ bursting with show stopping performances well beyond expectations, serving up even more splendid, versatile dancers who treated the audience to a spellbinding array of diverse and absorbing routines and styles. Indeed, the showcase featured some very capable dancers (Yasmin’s students amongst them) making their debut on stage in front of an encouraging and responsive audience.

For a first time festival, it was very well attended, but not packed to the gunwales. This gave it a warm, friendly, fun and comfortable atmosphere, rather than the impersonal, hustle and bustle of the ostentatious, larger festivals.
It had all the ingredients for success and Yasmin Asar’s, ‘Let’s try it and see’ philosophy resulted in a positive and resounding, ‘Yes!, let’s do it again!’

I would sum up Yasmin Asar’s South Coast MED Fest by saying, ‘It was a most enjoyable, relaxed week-end of Belly Dancing in the traditional manner, without any panic or the presence of frenetic, demanding, and overrated Prima Donnas!’

Already (from me included) there have been requests for the programme details and date of the next ‘South Coast MED Fest’. I can’t wait!!

John Dickson, Herts.


Review by Ginny Reade, Portsmouth

The first South Coast MED Fest was held on the Midsummer 24/25 June week-end in the beautiful and historic town of Wimborne, Dorset. Top rate international teachers Yasmin Asar, Maria D’Silva and Raheesha were amongst those who offered their own unique and exciting techniques in the well-attended workshops. The atmosphere was friendly and intimate which allowed for plenty of scope for learning and absorbing.

Special lively additions to the Festival were talented musicians Tim Garside and Dave Murray who not only ran Drumming workshops, but also accompanied some of the dance sessions. The haunting tones of Tony’s violin, combined with a chorus of drummers, energised Yasmin’s ‘gypsy’ workshop, and dancers were pleasantly surprised to be ‘hit’ with excitement by the reverberating sound waves ….. an addictive sensation!

The Saturday night show, ‘Sahara Sunset’, was a top class spectacular stage concert with a whole variety of styles and stunning costumes, featuring the guest artistes, live drumming for Yasmin’s dramatic tabla solos, magical surprises and grand finale ….. all executed with such talent and professionalism. The excitement of the evening continued as the artistes engaged with the audience at the Dance Party ….. live music supplied by Tim and Dave, of course!

Throughout the week-end, retail therapy was supplied by Mystical Mirage and Wiggle It, and participants were also able to extend their experience by taking away some of what they had learnt via Yasmin’s selection of videos and DVD’s. The whole event was extremely good value for money, and the Sunday afternoon provided an excellent opportunity for dancers to showcase their talents on stage, after tea and cream cakes! It proved to be another varied and entertaining show, but more informal, and included a remarkably sensuous rendition of Disney’s Jungle Book Snake’s Song by Val Rainbow (Arielle) before she ‘slithered’ off back home to Stratford-on-Avon ….. what an actress!

As one of the founder members of the dance scene in the South, Yasmin has been asked by many for many years to run her own festival ….. this was Yasmin’s first and it turned out to be a huge success ….. the first of many, I hoped, as I contemplated what fun I’d had, as I travelled home on the train back to Portsmouth. Others had travelled a lot further and perhaps, being so close to the world-famous stunning Sandbanks beach, they may have been tempted to stay on and skive off work Monday morning!