28 September 2014

The 2nd of Oct is Gandi's birthday and All Animals Day. Let's celebrate with a class dedicated to Compassion..

The 2nd of Oct is Gandi's birthday and All Animals Day. Let's celebrate with a class dedicated to Compassion.
 We'll start with an exploration of all aspects of the Moving Meditation; what it means to gesture from the heart, taking in the safety and freedom of the space in which we dance, deeply consider the lotus blossom and it's message to learn from mistakes and bloom brighter with each day, feel the earth support our feet as we trample on her, hear the music and connect with the musicians who create it for us, thank our teachers for giving us knowledge, send a wish and "phone home" to our ancestors and thoughtfully draw all of these elements together as we end again at the heart.

We will exercise patience for the people we dance with, as we strive to cultivate our skill to become better partners and harmonious groups.

Please join me with an open heart and a mind ready to focus on the great gift of Compassion for All Beings.

19 September 2014

more flowers, part three \o/

When I announced the idea of ATS® defined as Women with Uplifted Arms Holding Flowers, someone came up with this emoticon      \o/

I find it to be ... a delightful way to get our point across quickly and without the need for words.
I looked it up, and it is accepted to mean "cheer, yay yay."
If you add two asterisks, it means "cheerleader *\o/*" for obvious reasons :)

I would like to advocate that we use \o/ to indicate our mission of ATS®: Women with Uplifted Arms Holding Flowers.

If you can find a way to actually hold the flowers with an additional keystroke, without crowding our sister cheerleaders, I would be delighted to see it.

And, remember our friend the Johnny Jump Up, found at the secret location that Megha and I have been visiting to write THE BOOK.

15 September 2014

..more flowers, part two

"When centering my thoughts on Tribal Bellydance there is a notable and consistent link between the ancient and the present. Less then 100 years have passed since women found their rights in the United States. Yet there was a time when dance, culture and female expression was essential to the developed world. In ancient India and beyond, women, women’s work, and women’s movement was a cornerstone to the sacred wisdom of the ages.

This changed when the teachings where subjected to war, conflict and religious tyranny, not just one war but many. The peoples who followed the ancient feminine practices and union through, became displaced and were either regarded as whores for the dance or hid their art from common face.

I reference India because it was here the journey began out of Asia into the desert. Many know the road and the way, but I want to bring light to the mystery held captured by those who have gypsy in their soul. This mystery lives in the timeless traditions handed down in city streets, desert lands, and alley ways from one human to another, and like all feminine mysteries, it cannot be killed or distorted.

There is a truth, a link and a clear presence this mystery has, and when you dance it, know it, touch it, it is unmistakable.

Our culture limits our language of such things, but I will attempt to explain.
Imagine there is colored paint on the tips of your fingers. You are painting on an imaginary wall as you outstretch your arm. If done perfectly, with integrity, the image you paint is beautiful. Now imagine your feet and hips have paint and they are making beautiful designs of their own. If done perfectly, this will harmonize with your hands. These images together create a lotus flower in space and time. You cannot see it, but it is there and the feeling will be there too.

This is wonderful, yet limited to an individual. Now add in a group of dancers, ALL with the same perfection. An interwoven lotus flower is created. This movement in a group, becomes holographic. This hologram opens a portal and links us with the timeless and mystical past. The feeling is union.

You know this feeling if you have felt it, and usually it happens by mistake. But, like women's rights or the right to dance as a free person seems so common to us now, the truth is, all things come from dedication, time and practice. So, slow down. You do not dance for yourself, you do not dance to impress others, to sell yourself, or to manipulate this force. Be aware of your movement, feel the Sacred Geometry, and become one with this energy, because it is sacred and ours.

Carolena has somehow taped into this lineage from times past and has effectively channeled the ancient teachings into a modern expression. We cannot say how this has changed the world, but we can say there are thousands of Tribal Bellydancers out in the world because of her. Lets try to honer this work by deepening our own experiences of the energy within the dance and hopefully be blessed with the moments of connection to the force we call the Sacred Feminine.

Thank you Carolena for all that you know, channel, and do."
Written by Priestess Shoshana Des Chenes
Performing Artist

12 September 2014

ATS®=Women with Uplifted Arms Holding Flowers, part one

When people ask me to define ATS® in a few words, I'm stumped. There are so many things to say about it. But then it occurred to me; Women with Uplifted Arms Holding Flowers.

Yes. If you think of one thing, this is it.

Please send me your photos from around the world of dancer's portraying the image.

Here is Deanna Lawman from the UK...

08 September 2014

ATS® is an International Language, part one: Russia

Each day I watch the news, each day there are more and more stories of discord and strife in the world; this country is not getting along with that country, this culture does not approve of that culture, this person cannot understand that person. And each day I sit by the phone waiting for an invitation from the United Nations to hold a worldwide seminar in American Tribal Style®, because this dance is understood by all dancers and audiences, no matter what language or culture. ATS® is based on non-verbal communication, letting music and natural gesture set our bodies into the motion of leading and following, switching places effortlessly when the time is right. ATS® dancers don't stop to debate or throw stones when someone has a new idea, we just follow the cue and respond to the music. ATS® is the embodiment of harmony between people.

Here is part one of American Tribal Style® is an International Language. Let me know if you have a story about ATS® as an international language.

8 Sep 2014
I'm in St. Petersburg, Russia for Tribal Pura International. Two workshops and a dynamite show, produced by Svetlana Dvoretskaya and Oxana Peslyak. What a wonderful series of events; the organization was perfect, the hospitality-superb!

A few months ago, Sveta told me that she had learned English so she could learn ATS®. I was swept away by this concept and I asked her to write an essay to share with the readers of my Blog.

Have a look at Sveta's ATS® troupe, Ujbaba at Tribal Fest 2014 and enjoy her journey:

"FatChance=New Chance” or “The Great ATS® gate to the new world"
by Svetlana Dvoretskaya

"Once upon a time I felt in love with ATS®.
It happened later. But before…

I was born in USSR. I studied in the typical “Soviet school” in the small city somewhere in Crimea where it was impossible to learn English well. And honestly, in our USSR life we didn`t have any reason WHY and FOR WHAT we should learn it.

My adult life started with almost zero knowledge of English.

All my family moved to Moscow after I finished the school. At that time, Russia started to go to the new international way. The new idea of going abroad on holidays became more and more popular.  But Russians still mostly were without English. Without being “normal”.

After years of an office-life I`ve found myself unhappy and decided to do something with it. I started to change my life and occasionally added dancing to my boring business-woman life. First it was cabaret and Egyptian styles of bellydance. I liked it, but it wasn`t fully mine. It wasn`t enough for me.

It was 2006 when I found it. Tribal came to my life and changed it completely and entirely later. If only I knew. Teehee!

It was the beginning moment for tribal in Russia. Somebody had to start this process and to do something with this style. I`ve decided to be this person.
I started to teach ATS® 1 year later. It was difficult. I had only 2 Carolena`s DVD.
I came to Tribal Pura in 2007 in Italy. It was crazy to do it with the language barrier. I realized it only on the place. There was a precipice between us.
No English means no questions, no answers, no help!
But I couldn`t change anything.
I was purposeful. Nothing couldn`t stop me. I`ve been learning ATS® without the “native ATS® language”.

1,5 years in ATS®- diggings.

The end of 2008. It was the moment I got the information that Carolena has started to teach GS. It became the most important plan and the best dream for me. I had to do it as soon as possible. I needed to have the info and to find the right and normal way to teach my lovely ATS®!

I wrote the letter to Carolena about this idea:
“I`m dreaming to come to GS and TT in FCBD® Studio, I`ll try to come to USA (in spite of all problems for Russians with the Visa and others), I`ll do everything I can do for it, etc.”

I`ve beggarly asked her to approve me for this course.
First I wrote a big and very emotional letter in Russian. Then I put it into the “Google translate”… and…emailed to Carolena.

Now I know and I am so sorry dear Carolena for this gibberish.
People, don`t do it! It`s stupid and doesn`t help!

I got the reply really soon. With the quaking hands I opened the answer.
She said “YES, you can!... But …(OH MY GOD!!!) If only I`m what??? fluently in English?!?!?”


It was more than bad news. I`d been crying for 2 days.
I lost the chance to go to GS in San Francisco in February 2008.
And… maybe I lost the chance to do it at all! FOREVER! FATCHANCE!!!
Because it wasn`t possible. Just no way to do it. Never!

For some months I`d been really sad and frustrated.

And then…
News! Next chance in Europe, Finland! August 2009.
STOP! YES, It`s not possible. But…Doesn`t matter! I have to try… at least!
I`ll just check! I know it`s not possible… but… I MUST TRY! I MUST CHECK!

It was February 2009.
6 months in between. WOW!
It was the hard time. Difficult months for my brain.

I`ve found the best super intensive school in Moscow and some private teachers for learning English. I`ve been studying every day for these MONTHS! I`ve crashed my mind and brain. I`ve paid so much money for it. I`ve tried to put the new culture, emotions, ideas, life in my body in just some months. I had to build the new person inside of me.

I was on the train Moscow-Helsinki in August. I didn`t know was I ready or not.
The customs official opened the door to my train compartment, asked about my passport, talked and joked with me a little bit. Said some funny and good things to me and finally closed the door. I`ve been thinking a minute. And then… SHOCK!!! I realized I`ve been talking with him in ENGLISH! No way! The first door of my new real tribal life was opened!

I wasn`t fluent. But it was enough to start.
I`m still learning. Every day of my life. I`ll spend maybe all my life to learn this language, people, culture, country. I do love it! I`m ready and glad to do it. Still difficult. Still not enough.

I have a lot of friends all over the world. I`m travelling so much and finally I`ve been in so many countries these years! I`m teaching my lovely ATS® abroad in English. Wow! Still can`t believe.
I have my favorite people, real best friends, dancing families and my great teachers in US.

After all these years in July 2013 I came to Devotion and could tell THANKS to Carolena personally and by myself in English! She, FCBD® and ATS® changed my life. Completely. Perfect. It was the best present to myself because of this love. Love to this style, this idea, to my mentor.

I will not tired to tell it again and again:
Thank you for tribal!
Thank you for my English!
Thank you for the tribal people all over the world!
Thank you for my new friends!
Thank you for my new family!
Thank you for my new world!
Thank you for my new happy ME!
Thank you, the Great Tribal Mama C!

P.C. You`ve made it real! This perfect life concept for the dance style: Leading and following. Following ATS®, following your heart, following your love, following your people!

LOVE YOU, Carolena, my perfect leader and following!"

01 September 2014

28 Aug 2014; L3 Drills&Improv w/playlist

This was a great class! We looked at using a certain kind of drum solo for a duet. We chose songs that are 3-4 minutes in length, are textured but not too complicated; all tempo changes are preceded by cadence and follow through in a predictable format. We first danced in duets out of the chorus, to get to know the song. Then we immediately danced the whole song in duets facing away from the mirror so the dancers could feel the trust that is necessary for a tricky, fast paced song.

I was not able to find Uncle Mafufuo's Simple Solo, but you can find it on Sirocco Vol. 1 at the FCBD® Shop.

Also, remember from previous posts that Nutcracker in FCBD® language refers to the last 5 min 20 seconds of Roah Albi.

26 Aug 2014: L1 Week 3, L2 Week 9 w/playlist