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Event Reports

National KFA Teachers' Concordat - July 2017
(or adventures with Laban and chocolate!)

This year's national Concordat for KFA teachers was held on 15/16 July at Brockington College outside Leicester. Approximately 60 teachers (active, non-active and retired) enjoyed a packed programme of high quality training provided by some truly inspirational trainers from within the KFA and also from the world of dance.

Everyone was warmly welcomed by Frances Dickins who had also thoughtfully arranged for a continuous supply of free cold bottled water throughout the whole weekend. Boy did we appreciate that!

chocolate movement

On Saturday, friend and fellow Berkshire KFA teacher Lesley Wyman and I started off working with trainer Rachel Liggitt, who took us through Rudolf Laban's spatial body actions. Rachel's wonderfully relaxed and fun manner lured us into working every muscle fibre so that after two hours we were more than ready for lunch. Just enough time to catch up with old friends and make some new ones, then we were back for a double session on Laban's planes leading into the A Scale (seriously don't ask!). Led by Lisa Terry our bodies and our brains were given a very thorough workout as we attempted to master all 12 movements. I think I got the whole Scale right once and that was largely due to the giant crib sheet Lisa had thoughtfully put up on the wall. Still it was a great end to Day 1 and we thoroughly enjoyed our glass of red that evening!

Sunday dawned dull and damp but all thoughts of a leisurely start to the day were quickly dispelled as we did another 2 hours with Rachel. This time we explored qualitative relationships, culminating in a powerful group piece. After lunch and with tiredness setting in, we contemplated an afternoon of choreography with trainer Sue Bennett. Thankfully Sue's amazing creativity captivated everyone. Taking inspiration from the experience of eating a chocolate button and peeling an orange, Sue led us on a mystical journey from sensations to words to phrases and ending up with our own choreography combining with hers to form a harmonious whole. What a fabulous and inspirational end to a great weekend.

So now it's your turn; slowly eat a chocolate button and see what words and movements come to your mind!

Berkshire KFA Masterclass 10 March 2017

Our teacher was Jeanette Hughes. Her choreography was lyrical and challenging, allowing us to indulge in whole body movement. A class delivered with humour, care and flair - a joy to experience and, for those who have not yet tried a masterclass, an event not to be missed.

Sarah Lawson
Berkshire KFA Teacher

Berkshire KFA Christmas Celebration 2016

More than 70 teachers and members attended our Christmas Celebration at Loddon Hall, Twyford on 26 November.

The Berkshire County Display Team, producer Lesley Wyman, started off the day with another uplifting performance to Ronan Hardiman’s Celtic Kittens. This was officially the last performance of the current County Team, so they gave us an encore, which was a bonus.

Sarah Lawson led the first session and Jeanette Hughes rounded off the programme – both sessions were thoroughly enjoyed by those watching as well as those taking part.

There were a variety of stalls to browse - jewellery, cakes and cards, as well as a well-stocked Raffle and a "Pot of Gold".

As it was a Christmas Celebration everyone had a go at naming the Baby Reindeer. It was a very lucky day for one member who won the Baby Reindeer and also the Pot of Gold!!

Autumn Flower Arranging Talk and Demonstration - October 2016

On Wednesday afternoon 26 October, Berkshire KFA members attended the Festive Flowers Talk and Demonstration at Woosehill Community Centre, Wokingham.

The aim of former professional florist, Janice Tattersdill, was to encourage those with little or no experience to try different floral designs. She showed how to position foliage into the prepared green florist foam before adding flowers to create two table designs - one using a candlestick, as well as hand ties, which could be easily dropped into a vase, plus a wreath.

Whilst demonstrating, Janice told us how she had always wanted to be a florist, despite her father’s objections, who insisted on her attending horticultural college. Later she worked at a florists in London’s West End from where she was regularly employed to dress Buckingham Palace, particularly for state occasions.

With a mass of cuttings and foliage tangled together at her feet, Janice confessed to being a rather messy worker, so it was all the more remarkable to see the designs unfolding beneath her fingers making it look simple and easy. At the end of the session, relieved to vacate the hall chairs, we enjoyed a hot cup of tea and a delicious homemade cake donated by Jeanette Hughes's class members, before the flower arrangements were raffled to five lucky members.

Southern Counties AGM 8th October 2016

It was Berkshire’s turn to host the regional AGM in October and what a stunning event it turned out to be at Theale Green School! Here’s what some members had to say:

We had a lovely day ...... the sessions were really good and fun to do.” Ruth Livingstone

....my congratulations to the Committee and everyone concerned with the AGM on Saturday. It was a lovely event and I know all there enjoyed the day. Brilliant idea having three short varied teaching experiences .....created a lovely happy atmosphere.” Maureen Lomas

What a fantastic day I've had today. The quality of the teaching and all the demos and the sheer variety of dance styles was a winning formula and made for nonstop entertainment.” Chris Stannard

Members from all five regional counties had a chance to take part in Keep Fit rallies (open classes), learn flamenco taught by a professional Spanish Dance teacher, marvel at the original choreography from county team demos, and "Dance Around the World" in 60 minutes to end an action-packed day on a high. What a pity if you missed it!

Berkshire KFA Summer Classes 2016

For those of us missing our KFA class during August, Berkshire Summer Classes have been a great way to keep fit and stay in touch. Monday evenings in Earley, Reading and Thursday mornings in Woosehill, Wokingham with a different teacher each time, a challenge and variety each week.

Our thanks to all of you who came and to the teachers. Working with them reminded us how lucky we are that our Laban training means each teacher brings her own unique style and choreography to each session. Variety, Work Out, Entertainment!

As a bonus, a numbered ticket was given to all who attended and the lucky number winner received a summer class free.

Gill Bridgett from Jeanette Hughes’ class in Earley, who attended all the Monday evening sessions, was one of the winners. Like Karen Scott from Shirley Stallwood’s class and Pam Simmonds from Maureen Maude’s Emmer Green class, to mention just a few, Gill said how much she enjoys the annual summer sessions.

Sylvia and Joy who don’t normally attend a KFA class but heard about us from teacher, Janet Waters, came along for the experience, and thoroughly enjoyed the evening.

Berkshire KFA AGM & Merry May Event - May 2016

Berkshire KFA's annual AGM event is a time for us to celebrate and enjoy what we love doing - dancing, movement, laughter and meeting friends.

We welcomed members and friends to celebrate the merry month of May by enjoying a session of keep fit taken by Berkshire teacher and trainer, Eileen Bird, and to enter into the world of exotic dance with Sandy Matzen and her belly dancing session. Whether or not you took part in the Belly dancing session, it was thoroughly enjoyable, fun to do and entertaining to watch all the bodies swaying and gyrating with a look of intense concentration on the faces!!

There were stalls to browse, including unique jewellery and card stalls, plus a homemade cake stall - which sold out very quickly - and, of course, members were able to support the Berkshire raffle which included some wonderful prizes.

We clapped along with ABBA and Super Trouper as our guest skipping team from Oxford went through their paces in a versatile item that the whole team had helped choreograph. And we warmly welcomed a performance by the new Berkshire County team in an item celebrating the joy of movement to music - the music being Celtic Kitten by Ronan Hardiman, the producer Lesley Wyman. Both teams were enthusiastically applauded and were asked to perform for a second time.

At the AGM reports were read, accounts confirmed and all Officers of the Executive Committee re-elected, plus the President, Carole Williams and Vice President, Maureen Maude.

We ended the day with tea and cake and chat. As always, our grateful thanks go to all our volunteer helpers, without whom we could not run our events.

Oxco Skipping Team
Learning belly dancing
Keep Fit open class
Berkshire KFA County Display Team

Berkshire KFA Christmas Party - November 2015

It seems only a short time ago the Berkshire KFA Committee were organising the Diamond Anniversary Christmas Party and yet, once again, on 28 November, we were welcoming our members to celebrate the end of another wonderful keep fit year. We all love our classes and our fellow class members, but it is at Christmas when we can meet up with all our friends from across Berkshire to have fun and socialise.

Open class sessions taken by Donna Ward and Jeanette Hughes were enjoyed by everyone and there was much laughter trying to sort out which direction to go!! We also thoroughly enjoyed demonstrations from Shirley Stallwood’s class and Jeanette’s championship team.

The Committee would like to thank everyone who attended. We hope you enjoyed your exercise workout, plus the raffle and stalls, not to mention the mince pies and tea at the end of the afternoon.

Special thanks to our volunteers who help ensure the smooth running of all our Berkshire events.

Members' Lecture Strokes - October 2015

Stroke - Act F.A.S.T. every second counts

More than 60 Berkshire KFA members gathered at St Paul’s Parish Rooms in Wokingham for a valuable, comprehensive talk from Peggy Johns and a colleague from the Stroke Association.

This was the third in Berkshire’s series of Autumn Talks on topics of interest to class members and included a short practical session led by Sarah Lawson, plus tea and cake, for which many thanks to those volunteers who baked cakes and served refreshments.

DID YOU KNOW a person has a stroke every 3.5 minutes and the faster you act the more of the person you can save?
Remember FAST:

F = Face: Has the face dropped one side – can the person smile evenly?
A = Arms: Can the person lift both arms?
S = Speech: Can the person talk clearly and make sense?
T = Time to call an ambulance and tell them you think the person is having a stroke.

We are very lucky in this area that the Royal Berkshire Hospital has a dedicated stroke team with access to 24 hour care. Peggy, and others from the Stroke Association, work closely with the hospital to support people through their admission, recovery and transfer home.

For more information visit
or contact Peggy Johns, Stroke Recovery Service Co-ordinator, Reading and Wokingham Tel: 01183 913875 Mobile: 07534 909472.

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