Astra was 1st introduced to dance at the age of 3 when her Mother, also a dancer & dance teacher, put her into "Stage Door School of Dance" in the south of the UK. Here she was trained in ballet, tap, modern, jazz & contemporary, & experienced her 1st professional shows. Through her dance school she was put forward to be in a small BBC film "The Anorak Gang", which was shown on channel 4 & gave her experience of working with professional actors & performing for the camera. Also with "Stage Door" she danced with the "babes" as part of 2 professional full season pantomimes, working with Buster Merryfield, Amanda Holden & Les Dennis to name a few; in the pantomimes "Cinderella" & "Robinson Crusoe". This gave her a lot of experience as a child working within a live stage, professional atmosphere, where she was influenced by many experienced artists, singers, dancers, musicians & TV celebrities.
During her school years she continued to train in ballet, tap, modern & jazz & then expanded her repertoire by trying Salsa & Latin American for the "Duke of Edinburgh" Award, & trying workshops in Appalachian clog, Flamenco, Hip Hop, Street Dance & her 1st workshops in Bellydance. Also yearly her dance school tried out other international dance styles such as Irish, Polish, Russian, Indian etc. She was very lucky to attend a very artistic & progressive school allowing her to put on or be involved in many dance & musical shows, where she was often dance captain. Here she started to learn how to choreograph, not only as a soloist but large groups often of varying dance abilities.
Astra is the daughter of Kajira, a long established teacher, performer & trainer of teachers of Bellydance in the Hampshire, Dorset & London area. Kajira is a JWAAD qualified tutor & has performed & taught for many years, often taking Astra as a child to various events, Hafla's (Bellydance party) & classes. It is through this surrounding of the music, dance & cultural scene of Bellydance that slowly crept into Astra's veins. Although pursuing other dance styles initially, Bellydance began to appeal increasingly until she started to regularly attend her Mother "Kajira's" classes. Learning the basics to more advanced moves in most popular styles of Raqs Sharki, Baladi, Saiidi, Lebanese, Oriental Pop, Drum Solo (Percussion), & occasionally Turkish & Moroccan. Here she became proficient in the use of dance props such as the cane "Raqs Assaya", finger cymbals "Sagat/Zills", veil & more modern prop "Isis" wings. Through learning Bellydance, she became interested in trying other styles, such as Bollywood dance, Bharatnatyam, Bhangra, Burlesque, Zambra Mora, Polynesian (Bellynesian), Tribal Fusion, ATS (American Tribal Style) Turkish Romany Gypsy, Thai Finger dancing & Fire dance.
All these styles have broadened her knowledge of dance & developed her own unique style. She now specialises in Bellydance & Bollywood & performs Bellydance, Bollywood, Burlesque, Fire Dance, Zambra Mora, African/Samba Fusion & Bellynesian.
As a teacher Astra began her journey first as an assistant to her Mother Kajira whilst in college, helping other students progress & then taking classes as a substitute teacher. She also worked with her Mother on projects such as annual dance festivals, choreographing group dances & working as a dancer professionally for weddings, events etc. Under the training of her Mother, she learnt everything from training students, to individual progression, marketing, promotion, & all the details that go along with teaching & performing as a career. This led her to take the JWAAD teaching qualification & further her studies. Her mother Kajira passed on her love & passion for dance & continues to inspire & motivate her.
After University Astra worked 3 ski seasons in "Les Trois Vallees" France as a ski guide, then the following winter moved to Goa, India to work as a dancer with another 2 dancers. In 2010 she was invited by Katie Holland to work a season in Goa, India, along with Poppy Maya & herself. India was a fabulous experience, where all 3 dancers worked as a trio, soloists & duos for mainly weddings (huge 4 day events in India), but also major events, such as dancing for the Indian Navy, Samsung, & an award ceremony for Indian TV. (Full list of Astra's performances click on).
Astra began her own classes teaching beginners & for an "Age Concern" centre in 2011 as well as regular Bollywood & Bellydance classes in the Dibden & Hythe area of the New Forest. These classes are currently still running with her mother "Kajira" as Astra is now based in the Mijas Costa & Marbella area of the Costa Del Sol teaching regular classes & performing in shows for restaurants such as La Sala in Puerto Banus & The Beach House in Elviria, Marbella.
She is also a licensed Zumba instructor, her details can be found on www.zumba.com