18 April 2014

the Sister Studio lament

[the truth about Sister Studio status]

When I began certifying Sister Studios, I knew that it was time to begin spreading the knowledge necessary to teach ATS® in the broader community. I hosted small groups of dancers for General Skills and met 1:1 with those who wanted Teacher Training.  My intention was to only target those dancers who were very serious and committed to ATS®, who had already been studying extensively and who were ready to begin teaching.

I committed to deliver a consistent curriculum to each person who registered.  It seemed that overnight; the demand for this training began to increase exponentially.  I was amazed and delighted, but completely unprepared for potential problems.  Initially, I offered General Skills, only later adding Teacher Training when it was requested.  Once it was added, my expectation was that students would attend General Skills and then take at least a year to work on their dance before returning to Teacher Training.  Things really changed when people began asking if they could take General Skills and Teacher Training at the same time.  This was understandable.  For some, I was in their country for the first and maybe only time.  As a result, people showed up for Teacher Training missing several years of practical education. Even though I was clear about the level of dance experience needed to enroll, people either misunderstood or misjudged their readiness.  Sometimes I would fly to another country just to realize that the people there weren’t ready to take the training.

As the training became more and more popular, I was faced with a dilemma of how to maintain quality control.  Because I couldn’t, I entertained the idea that students learn from all sorts of different teachers. Some students want a teacher who is so skilled and amazing that they are never matched (e.g. my teacher Masha, and myself Carolena) but other people resonate with someone who is just like them. I allowed different sorts of teachers into the program so that they would bring ATS® across the world.  In hindsight, I may have made a different decision.  However, at the time it felt like the only choice.

Consequently, I have heard criticism regarding the meaning or value of Teacher Training and Sister Studio status.  The vast majority of dancers who complete Teacher Training have a sincere desire to represent this dance form with integrity and honesty.  If you were to ask, I believe that each one of the Sister Studios feels that they have the necessary training and skill to be awarded Sister Studio status. 


I am always available for 1:1 Tribal Counsel sessions to help you with technique, to review your teaching or provide you with suggestions for your performance.  For those of you interested in furthering your training beyond that, I will be having several training programs in 2015 to help you advance your skill level.  More information will be published this summer with specific details.  Some of the training programs will be open to all and some will be extremely competitive.

14 April 2014

13 Apr 2014; L1, L2 & L3

This was a fun day! In L1 we covered a review of Taxeem, and added Arm Undulations. Then we dove into Egyptian and 1/2 Turn. Thanks to the L3 students who led the fast drill at the end of class.
Two pages of notes for the day! I forgot to note where L3 starts, it's in the middle of the page, "Make a distinction with small steps and big steps.."


We ended with Love and Happiness by Al Green because the dancers "weren't feeling" the music. So we picked a song that had universal "UMPH" :)



05 April 2014

Kristine has something to say about the new book!

  Kristine L. Adams, co-author of American Tribal Style® Vol. 1, posted a greeting on her blog; From the Belly of a Traveler. You can visit her here.

 Nice to hear from you K! See you soon.

I am so super proud

to announce that this work of love and devotion that was created by my master and mentor Carolena Nericcio-Bohlman and myself is now on the market and ready for ordering!

We put so much time into this beauty, a dance bag companion for you to carry with you always.
It's available in hard copy and ebook, and international friends it is a new printing on demand format so that it prints near you to save shipping costs! 
I can't wait to get one of my very own! 
This is what we looked like while working on it:
and this is what we needed when done:
I've been in this magical ladies presence for a long time, 
and I love her more than words can say, so I won't even try. <3 div="">

04 April 2014

Let's talk about the Waistline...

Want a smaller waist? Bigger hips? Smaller hips? Flatter tummy? Read on...

I have some thoughts about our waistlines. We always want them to be smaller. Or, the media trains us to think they should always be smaller. Regardless, they are never small enough. I won't go down the road of dieting and self-esteem abuse that would be the obvious direction of this chat.
I want to talk about waistlines from a realistic perspective via how it works visually. My background, before deciding on a career in dance, was clothing design. I have quite a bit of practical knowledge about how clothes fit and what makes us want or not want to wear them. I've also inhabited a female body for all of my 52 years, and I have a working knowledge of the physical curves and mental perspective of trying to clothe the body. Add to that I am petite, which presents it's own set of challenges.
Here's the formula that is missing from the media's perspective on waistlines: you have to have hips in order to define the waistline. THE ACTUAL SIZE OF THE WAISTLINE DOES NOT MATTER. What matters is visual satisfaction. What creates visual satisfaction is the proportion of hips to waste line. THE ACTUAL SIZE OF THE HIPS DOES NOT MATTER. What defines the hips is the proportion of the hip to the knee. When the proportion of the waist and hip are defined by the knee, the tummy looks flatter because the hips are outlined from behind. In summary, you need to see the waist, hip and knee to be visually satisfied with the size of both waist and hip.
If you are ever shrinking both the waist and hip, you will never be satisfied with either. Unless of course you want them to be the same size, which is a different concept than what we are talking about here.
Enter, The Bessie Skirt...simple, elegant, playful, charming, cheerful, sweet, sassy, fun...


A few months ago I paid a visit to Kathleen Crowley's Couture Studio. When I arrived I told her I had an idea for the perfect skirt. She asked me to describe it. "It would be made of sturdy, stretchy cotton/lycra knit, with high waist that could roll down to make the waist placement flexible. It would trumpet at the knee, so as to flatter any body type, not dependent on the size ratio of a person's waist or hip. the fit would be snug but not constricting." She walked to her closet and pulled out the skirt, "Like this?", she said. Wow, talk about an intuitive designer, and fast!

We set in into production and present it to you now. The fit is like a hug, not tight or binding, you can pull the 10" waistband up to cover your belly, or down around your hips. The hem sweeps from floor length in front to a 7" cascade in back, with buttons at the waist and loops along the hem so you can wrap the hem up in all sorts of flattering ways to lift it off the floor if you wish. Choose your size from your actual hip measurement and hip-to-floor length. If you think you need a custom fit, please contact us and we'll make sure you get the right fit. We recommend dry cleaning for the best results and life of the fabric but you can machine wash it cold and line dry as well. I pop mine in the dryer every now and then to intentionally “snug-up” the fabric.

I named it after my mother, Bess Nericcio (that's her on the hang tag when she was six), because she is; simple, elegant, playful, charming, cheerful, sweet, sassy and fun. When she walks in a room you see her, not what she is wearing. She is interesting and interested. People feel lifted-up after talking to her because she listens to you and doesn't try to turn the conversation around to be about her. She is generous and graceful in a way that makes you want to be like her, without feeling jealous or envious of her. At 89, she is the picture of health because she walks everyday and watches birds. She is my best friend.
I hope you enjoy your Bessie Skirt! Get yours now at the FatChanceBellyDance® Shop.


03 April 2014

Carolena's Little Big Library

I was surprised and delighted to see my library featured in the most recent edition of 
It's true, you can see my entire collection on-line by clicking on the photo below. I've been collecting books to use for inspiration for many, many, many years. Eventually, I will write up personal notes on each book, but for now they speak for themselves. We also have Amazon links to take you to purchase if the book is still available.
Enjoy! 
Tell me what your favorite title is from my library...and then I'll tell you mine.
This is a bit hard to read at this size, so here's the  text:

CAROLENA'S LITTLE BIG LIBRARY
Did you know that Carolena Nericcio-Bohlman, creator of American Tribal Style® Belly Dance, my teacher, has shared her personal library with us?  You may not have seen this on the FatChance® Shop, but there's a reason our ATS® home is aptly named FatChanceBellyDance® Studio and Resource Center. 
Carolena shares not only her library collection on Belly Dance, Folk Art, Textiles, Jewelry, Body Adornment, Tribal Life and Cultures from Africa, Fitness, and much much more, but she also has provided a link to Amazon to learn more about the book and buy it for yourself.
CLICK on the studio picture to explore!

You can visit Gypsy Horizon and sign up for the newsletter here.
Thanks Carrie!