11 August 2013

{fireside chat} 11 Aug 2013, part one

Past, Present, and Future: The Only Constant is Change
A few months ago I was on a plane, bound for a ten-day intensive.  I found myself wrangling with my conflicted thoughts. I picked up a pen and began to write. When I came out of my trance, I read: “I want to disband the troupe and work as a consultant.” I was shocked at my own transmission,  but for the first time in a long while, I felt completely free. And I knew what I had to do.
The Past: I am 52 years old. I have been dancing for 38 years. American Tribal Style® is 25 years old. The FatChanceBellyDance® Studio has been open for 13 years, and I have been traveling around the world to teach and guide ATS dancers for the last six years. When I came home at the end of 2012, I could barely walk. I had arthritis, a torn meniscus, bursitis and menopause. It took a few months to get myself back on my feet, both literally and figuratively. I had been in denial about the need for a change in my agenda. Some members of the troupe have been involved with FCBD® since the 1990s. This group did a lot for FatChanceBellyDance®. They  helped me keep the studio open when I started taking ATS® and Tribal:Pura on the road with Megha Gavin in 2006; they taught almost all the classes, especially Level One and Level Two, the classes from which I most needed a break; they were aces at nailing a concept for a show (small show or big show, no problem) and could set the stage on fire. I would come back into town and they would present me with a concept: the music, the intention, the costumes. We would hit the stage at a festival or theater show. They kicked it, and they propped me up. I was rarely in top form because I had been on the road too long.
Present: I now love going to the studio every day. I am once again delighted to teach all levels of classes. I’m officially hanging out my shingle as Consultant for ATS® troupes, teachers and students via Skype, and in-person if possible. Though I face challenges such as the rent going up and sales going down, I have a great office staff. After traveling the world, I can really see that the dance is a global phenomenon, and I continue to have an unending flow of ideas for getting the dance out into the world.
Future: I am getting married next month. I want to write my book. I will continue to travel in small doses, but am realistic about how much I can do well in one trip. And yes, I want to retire someday, but not yet.
In the balance: What happened to the troupe? I disbanded it as a closed unit and will reform it on an as-needed basis. I see a lot of talent and skill at the studio, but not necessarily all in one person. I am interested in exploring what happens when a varied group of dancers come together to share strengths and weaknesses. I want to work with everyone, not just one troupe.  I will form the troupe one gig at a time with dancers that attend Level Three (L3) classes on a regular basis. The former members of FCBD® will continue to perform and teach at the studio if they desire, they are also free to work on their own.
While things are changing at the Studio,  FatChanceBellyDance® stands strong; the studio is open, the merchandise is available, all workshops will proceed as planned, on-going classes are still on-going, Carolena is here, rested and inspired and waiting to talk with you.
Thanks for your support.

30 comments:

rhiannyn said...

Wow, Carolena.....

See eyes pop, mouth drop, and little wisps of anxiety about the change; and yet, as usual, you have a way of presenting your thoughts, ideas, focus, and intent with aplomb, and assurance.

I wish you every success as you set forth on your latest, exciting adventures, and look forward to being part of the new FCBD® movement, and format.

Remarkable, you are, yes. [said in my best Yoda voice ;)]

Exciting times!
Cheers,
xo
rhi

Carrie said...

I'm with you all the way on this. ;-)

Clams Montecito said...

Bravo, Carolena. I have been a fan of FCBD since the mid-90s and I agree with you 100% on why you're disbanding the troupe.

Clams Montecito said...
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lovetraveldance said...

Woow!! I can only keep on admiring you as my great teacher and role model. I have you in my thought in every dancing day which is daily thanks to you and your wonderful global invention the wonderful ATS®.
Blessings from Mexico. Lorena Rojas

unjessing said...

When I was in Warsaw, Poland two years ago at a medieval event, I wore my favorite hair flowers and Kuchi jewelry with my Ghawazee coat and coin bra and was delighted to be identified in heavily accented English as a tribal belly dancer by a Ukrainian woman who was vending there. It truly is a world-wide legacy. Congratulations on your upcoming nuptials and I'm thrilled to have been able to grab a couple classes from you as you've taught at workshops on the West Coast.
- Jessica

Adhara said...

This means if I move to SF I may have a chance someday of Dancing in FCBD?? ;)

Change is sometimes big and scary, but you have to do what is best for you and your brand, your family, your body, your sanity.
Thank you for all you have brought us and Continue to give us, your Daughters in dance.
:love:

Alina Fusion Tribal said...
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E. A. Wachs said...

Do whatever you need to do to take care of yourself. Much love.

Alina Fusion Tribal said...

Woooww Carolena!!! My jaw dropped as I was reading this! But its not so weird to find out, I was just there at your studio taking as many classes as I could for a month and ALL of them from YOU! Which was a rare and pleasant surprise for me! It was an honor!
Thank you for creating this beautiful art form and continuing to expand it, transforming it and sharing it.
It will keep uniting women all around the globe!
Greetings and Hugs from Mexico
ALINA

Tabitha said...

I read this with amazement, excitement and with a tinge of sadness too. Exciting times ahead for you and ATS® - this is a living, breathing dance form, evolving constantly, and I, no doubt like any other dedicated ATS® dancer, is eager for so much more! A wee bit of sadness too, referring to the legendary FCBD® troupe ....... 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it' springs to mind. I never tire of watching you and FCBD® dance together! But ... how exciting having a new troupe for each gig!

Thank you for this wonderful obsession of mine, and wishing you all the best for the exciting times ahead! And, not forgetting, congratulations for your forthcoming wedding xxx

Christine Tillett said...

We are obviously surprised right now but pleased for you that you are free to do the things that make you happy. Congratulations on your upcoming nuptuals!...You have given us all so much now is your time time, enjoy and know that we are all here externally grateful for the gift you have shared and will continue to share with us...

sharon said...

You have brought so much joy to others, it is time to take some for your self. Good luck with a momentous life change and congratulations.

Vicky said...

Carolena, you are such an inspiration! You've touched so many lives for the better, teaching us this wonderful dance, teaching us how to embrace each other for all that we are, and now teaching us that taking care of ones self is just as important as helping others. I look forward to following your new chapter of adventures! Love you.

Diana Lee said...

Wow!! totally unexpected but then again life is constant movement and change and change is always good. This opens new opportunities for aspiring dancers who want to be part of the FCBD troupe. I trust your wisdom and me, as your "ATS daughter" support you every way. Mother ALWAYS knows best. :-) Congratulations on your wedding. Wishing you many years of abundance and happiness. ♥

Susan Warner said...

I am happy for you Carolena.

Is there anything I can do for you?

Sabeela Tribal said...

Holy heart ache, Batman! FCBD is such a powerhouse group but I can understand the need to move forward with something new. Much luck and much thanks goes to you and to your lovely ladies. They will thrive no matter what comes next...you made sure of that!

Anthea Kawakib Poole said...

Change and Growth is always good.
I also think it's way easier to form the group for the gig, than the other way around!
And with video conferencing, travel is a lot quicker and easier now ;-)
Good luck with your new projects!

Serenity Tribal said...

Our lady of ATS;-) My moniker for you is tongue in cheek but the admiration & appreciation I have for you is real. I add my well wishes & positive thoughts to your path, wherever it takes you in and out of this art form that have have shared with the world. Namaste Teacher.

Tipsycat said...

Mama C - we're right behind you ... all the way! Scary but exciting.....! We wish you all the best in this fascinating project, forthcoming wedding, good health and happiness!

Unknown said...

Changes are inevitable...being stagnant means you and yours don't grow and evolve.

All of us have our moments in the sun, yours is just another patch out in the field you are moving to...enjoy looking at the world from a different direction.

Peace.

Nancy Young said...

Blessings and best wishes, Carolena, for your wedding and for these professional changes!

For some time I've wondered, "When will Carolena crash?" Your globe-traveling schedule, running a retail business, a busy dance studio, a professional dance troupe, mentoring a worldwide dance community... it seemed an impossible load for one small woman. But you have not crashed. You are too strong and too wise to let that happen.

So my biggest feeling in response to your post is gratitude. Thank you for taking care of yourself. And thank you for making the transition with the troupe gradual. These are huge gifts to all of us, your devoted dance family.

Laura Murphy said...

I'm so happy for you Carolena, sending lots of love & blessings to you!♥
Laura

MissC said...

Happy, sad, both...Big decision but exciting too for you Carolena. New phase of your life starting so happy for you. Bit sad about some changes, but that is life. Its made me feel is more important to continue teaching and getting the ATS dance word out there. Good luck next month...blessings to you both. xxx

Sam said...

...and on to the next adventure(s)! It has been an honor and a pleasure to learn from you, especially the times I was able to do it in person. If there is ever anything I can do for you, you need only ask. Blessings, blessings, blessings!

Korrie said...

Much love and blessings to you, my mentor, my teacher, my guest, my friend.
Sincerely,
Corrie
Kashmir Dance Company

Korrie said...

Much love and blessings to you, my mentor, my teacher, my guest, my friend.
Sincerely,
Corrie
Kashmir Dance Company

Korrie said...

Much love and blessings to you, my mentor, my teacher, my guest, my friend.
Sincerely,
Corrie
Kashmir Dance Company

Himilce Stormborn Jackson said...

Hi!
I'm L2 student from Puerto Rico. I meet FCBD barely 3 three ago but got very enthusiastic the last year.
The doubts, physical pains all are part of the change and evolution. without it the ATS will become dull and extinct. And has far here in PR people LOVE ATS and more and more they ask for our show.
At first people found it is strange or weird but when we dance the applause and the photos were none stop.
I'm 52 ,menopausal and also have meniscus. I can perfectly understand you. But also I'm very grateful for YOU. Your creation gave me new life meaning and I feel that I belong in this.
Yes, I feel inspired. Thanks to you.

Blessings to you and Loretta. I be in Madrid on the 22 of September and maybe I will catch the Bridesmaid there.
Love Himilce

Himilce Stormborn Jackson said...

Hi!
I'm L2 student from Puerto Rico. I meet FCBD barely 3 three ago but got very enthusiastic the last year.
The doubts, physical pains all are part of the change and evolution. without it the ATS will become dull and extinct. And has far here in PR people LOVE ATS and more and more they ask for our show.
At first people found it is strange or weird but when we dance the applause and the photos were none stop.
I'm 52 ,menopausal and also have meniscus. I can perfectly understand you. But also I'm very grateful for YOU. Your creation gave me new life meaning and I feel that I belong in this.
Yes, I feel inspired. Thanks to you.

Blessings to you and Loretta. I be in Madrid on the 22 of September and maybe I will catch the Bridesmaid there.
Love Himilce