I love American Tribal Style Bellydance.
I took my first bellydance class in 1992 when I was pregnant with Rowan. The teacher was super nice to me; she gave me some of her old jewelry and albums even, but another student had assured me that the local bellydance community wouldn’t be accepting of me because I was Pagan.
Flash forward 10 years. Still taking classes. My new teacher brings in a magazine with a picture of the most beautiful bellydancer I ever saw! Raven haired, tattooed, strong, pierced. I told my teacher “I want to dress and dance like her!” “No, you don’t.” she responded.
I jotted down a phone number before going home, where I called Fat Chance Bellydance to receive their mail order catalog.
How I poured over that catalog. At homeschool meetings, at midwifery workshops, over breakfast, over evening wine. I drew my dream costume: black ten yard skirt, tassel belt, red choli, coin bra, orange veil, and yes, turban.
My teacher moved away, and suggested a few of her more dedicated students check out a folkloric troupe in a nearby city. Rakset al-Nehri was welcoming and woman centered. They wore great costumes and seemed to dance in a way that was more proud than I was accustomed to. I showed them my catalog, but they were only a bit interested. However I would not give up! I wore tribal “dots” to my first hafla. I started buying videos. Then, oh then, my forever teacher Michele choreographed the Sword Dance. We got to wear ATS costumes. And the moves were ATS inspired. Delightful!
Pretty soon I was co-teaching ATS Sundays. My skills grew and my students grew. I started teaching in different cities. Then, in 2008, I received my FCBD ATS Teacher Certification from Carolena Nericcio herself. The original raven haired woman whose picture I had fallen in love with years earlier!
I love Fat Chance American Tribal Style Bellydance. I love the beautiful strong women. I love the piercings and tattoos. I love making eye contact while dancing.The puja, the posture. The rules. The freedom. I love unda.
The nitty gritty:
Today in class we practiced passing the Arabic 123 in troupe.
In Level One it was zil day! Fun! My newest students are really coming along beautifully.
In Level Two we reviewed the Turkish Shimmy with arms and circle up
and practiced doing Reach and Sit (without bouncing).
There was much discussion and planning of our upcoming show in EuClair with Sofia Tribal
and even more excitement for the show and workshop Tribal Union this September in Milwaukee with Sister Studio Tamarind Tribal Bellydance. I cannot wait to be in the presence of Carolina again.
7 thoughts on “Bellydance Sunday”
I wish I could have come! alas, I had to work. I am off next sunday and I wrote dance class in the calendar so I won't forget or get distracted by something else!
You are the most beautiful ATS dancer I've ever seen, and your love of it is what draws me to your class even though I suck at it. except for my floreos. if all I could do is floreo the whole time, I would be ok. hahaha!
I love ATS too! I took classes from some Fat Chance/Carolena-trained folks in Lexington, KY before I moved to Davenport. Never felt so great about my body as I did then! I wish it were more feasible for me to get over your way for classes!
Class was beautiful again yesterday…and painstaking and…oh, I felt like a complete leaden-footed clod again, but I love being there! Learning patience with oneself is good, humbling, but good!
I am glad to be a part of your “new ladies”! Love your blog!!!
Why can't you be a pagan belly dancer? (I don't know anything about belly dancing…) 🙂
I want to be part of your ATS troop so badly! If only we had a device to fold space and time!!!
you help me want to take classes… sighs. I think I shall start with getting my nose pierced near my 45th bday approaching 🙂
Ty for sharing your lovely life.
I think every bellydancer I've met has been some flavor of Pagan. How times have changed!