Thank yous – “Большое спасибо”

It’s with heavy hearts that we said goodbye to Daimohk yesterday morning.  It’s been such a busy time, and bringing them here is such a huge task, but despite that I think that we would have loved a few more days with the group!  Over 5,000 people came to the five performances and many more would have seen them online or on TV, so hopefully if you are reading this you will have some insight into just how spirited and special the Daimohk children are.

I’m hoping to get some photos and film up soon, but in the meantime, while I catch up on work and sleep you can watch a selection of films that Faye has added to her YouTube page, a short film from the masterclass at Kings Langley School on the BBC Russia site (in Russian) and read an article from the Daily Mail!

It’s hard to know where to begin with the thank yous, everyone has been so kind and worked so hard – this little blog hardly does it justice!

Daimohk Big BenChris Hunter, our Programmes Co-ordinator has, as always, gone above and beyond the call of duty to bring everything together.  Without his hard work sorting out visas, travel, accommodation, catering and venues this tour simply would not have taken place.  He has just a few nights kipping in his own bed before heading out to France to join Daimohk for the next leg of their tour.  How far things have come from a meeting with Ramzan in Chechnya back in 1999!

We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Ramzan and Aiza Akhmatov for their continued work developing Daimohk into the world class dance ensemble that they are.  From choreography to costumes they put in so much work to bring audiences superb performances.  It’s hard to comprehend that this dynamic and beautiful dancing springs from the ashes of war.

Alice Lagnado has done a fantastic job of raising the profile of the tour through the media – she has a fantastic energy and all of the kids are head over heels in love with her!  Louis Greig, PBUK’s Honorary President hosted the Gala Performance on Monday and kindly gave funds for a memorable day out on Sunday.  Thanks also to PBUK’s Trustees for supporting the tour and spreading the word and to our accountant Howard for balancing the books and dealing with the challenges a tour like this brings!

Faye Waterton, who has known Daimohk since they first started touring in the UK accompanied the group for most of the UK tour.  She is so much a part of the group that they have declared that she is an honorary Chechen – the girls worship her and the boys want to marry her!  Thanks also to her Mum, Lorraine Sheldon and family Abbi, Evan and Owen for helping out.

Mary O’Meara and Fran have been working around the clock to feed the group – no mean feat given the appetites of these kids!  Thank you both so much for putting up with requests for raw garlic salads and keeping us in supplies of yummy home-made cakes!  Hope you’re both getting a well-earned rest now!  Thanks also to Danny for allowing us to use the scout hut and clearing up afterwards!  Roisa, Magomed and Shamilt’s mother, who accompanied the group, has also worked incredibly hard cooking, cleaning and keeping the group in order!

We’re also grateful to Magomed Tutaev, former Daimohk dancer now studying Civil Engineering at Brighton University (and getting some astounding results it should be said!), for all of his help keeping the group entertained!  Thanks also to Calum for accompanying the group throughout the European Tour.

Shepherd's DanceAside from those who helped out, came to performances, wished us well and made donations to cover the costs of the tour we would like to express our thanks to the members of the extended Daimohk family who couldn’t make it – you know who you are!  Special mention however to Chris Layton, Camilla Carr and Jon James who were in our thoughts even though they couldn’t make it this time round.

“Большое спасибо” to these people and anyone I’ve missed out!  Hats off to you!

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