Last Saturday, my ATS troupe Imramma Tribal hosted Akula Tribal for an afternoon of workshops and Tribal Party in the evening.
These workshops poured rocket fuel on my love of ATS belly dance, and now I am SUPER excited about training with Carolena Nericcio, the creator of the dance, later this year! Wahoo!
Maxine and Christine from Akula are such beautiful dancers, and watching them execute each move so gracefully was wonderful. We refined our basic movement vocabulary, learned a few new variations (our teacher was old school ATS I think and Akula are always travelling to keep up with what Fat Chance are up to) and did a lot of drilling. And most importantly, zilling with everything! I love zills, love 'em love 'em love 'em, and the only way you get better is practicing as much as possible. Zills with everything please!
The evening Hafla was such great fun - I got to dance with old and new friends, with zills and zills and zills again, try my hand at drumming, chat with loads of lovely people and have a great time dancing away to fab music, doing a little bit of improv performance and watching others performing too.
I hope we are able to put on another event like it in the near future as it was so so much fun! ATS seems to bring people together like no other form of belly dance, and it's absolutely gorgeous to see everyone able to dance and have fun with people they have never met before.
Once upon a time, I was solely a caberet dancer. I got Ariellah's DVD as it looked like it covered a lot of stuff, and it had yoga in it as well. Then I saw a video of Rachel Brice. I think there must be a whole sisterhood of dancers who are where they are today because they saw Rachel Brice.
I went to Majma for the first time just over three years ago, knowing nothing much about fusion or ATS or anything. I'd done bellydance classes for years, but I hadn't come out of the regular bellydance bubble. I did workshops with Isadora Bushkovski and Anne White and saw Carolena Nericcio dance and I thought - hot damn, this is what I want to do, I want to be a belly dancer.
I came back home, did my fusion research as that's what I liked best, and learnt that tribal fusion dancers draw heavily from ATS. So I looked around for an ATS teacher and found Nicola Atkin, and I started Saturday lessons with her.
I loved it. I loved the dance, the movements, the lead and follow, alls of it. I really loved most of all the fact that it was a dance class where you had to interact with other students. I would meet all kinds of lovely peeps from completely different spheres of life to my fresh out of university unemployed universe, and I would dance with them and laugh with them and get to know them better. In Nicola's classes, we would get introduced to dancing together and cuing right away, learning moves both from Nicola's teaching and from each other. I think it was awesome, as since everyone had to lead and follow at some point right from the off, we all go more comfortable leading, an since whenever we were at the front we had the support of all the lovely people we'd all gotten to know so well in class, it wasn't scary. Well, it was when your mind went blank and you could only remember the Arabic. Otherwise, it was fine.
Nine months later, I ran out of money (pesky post graduate unemployment) and decided I could no longer afford to go to dance class. You know it was dire when that's the action. When I got a job, I couldn't make the classes. By the time I got a better job, Nicola had stopped teaching. Sad face.
But dude, we missed it. A group of us would meet up in parks to do some ATS, or rent a hall for some practice. A few months ago, a lovely lovely lady who used to be a student with me at Nicola's ATS decided to set up weekly ATS sessions where we would all get together and practice and get better, sharing moves with each other and encouraging each other onwards.
Man have I missed ATS. And man is it awesome to be back with the ATS sisterhood, learning away, getting sore shoulders and listening to awesome tracks. I am determined more than ever to seek out Carolena Nericcio and complete my General Skills. Teach me sensei.
Hooray for ATS!