ATS Old School, ATS New Style

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  • #73079

    Anonymous

    Originally posted by Carolena Nericcio on tribe.net.{fireside chat} Greetings,br/Thanks for joining me, theres something that I want to share with you.br/When I first released Tribal Basics Vol. 1 Dance Fundamentals, I encouraged the viewer to "use these ideas in your version of American Tribal Style Belly Dance." At that moment, I had no idea that ATS would become a worldwide phenomenon. I had no thought to control it, I just wanted to get it out there for people to enjoy. I assumed that you would see it, be inspired, and go on to create a dance that followed, what was to me, the obvious aesthetic and lines of classic female beauty.br/Imagine my surprise when my little ATS morphed into so many interpretations of "Tribal."br/At first I was delighted, so many people were coming on board. I faced a lot of criticism from the traditionalists who feared that the public would regard Tribal as more authentic than Oriental Style. I stood my ground in that I wasnt trying to steal anyones market share, I just had a new idea that knew would add to the growing population of students interested in belly dance. People like me, that loved the music and culture, but felt a resonance to the romantic idea of a more folkloric looking dance. The music we chose was more from the countryside than the city and we also experimented with sounds from other cultures, as well as modern fusions that were emerging in San Francisco and other progressive cities. The costume was rich and heavy; full skirts, pantaloons, a version of the Indian choli top, mythical coin bras and tassel belts, and of course a full cloth headdress and lots of jewelry.br/As things evolved in our San Francisco classes, I came up with the signature concept of ATS-group improvisation. We used standard belly dance steps, and made up some of our own based on those steps, but what was new was the way that we used them in set formations. We decided on duets, trios and quartets, with the occasional solo, to be performed within the context of a chorus line of troupe dancers. The posture and steps would remain a solid, unchanging core but the way the dancers used them was the improv part-the leader would cue the followers as to her next step and the whole formation could change in unison.br/This is still a mystery to audiences, the whole group flows so seamlessly that it is often impossible to tell that its improv. Perhaps thats the one hitch in ATS, the most amazing part is hidden from the onlookers.br/br/Onward to the reason for tonights talk.br/I never intended to have to police the dance. I expected that everyone would play nice and respect each other, and me. But something happened in the mid-nineties. The desire for the dance had begun to spread and more and more people wanted to learn. I was invited to travel, but had no interest in it at the time. If I left San Francisco, the business would fall behind. Plus, I didnt consciously know it at the time but I wasnt done creating the dance. Truthfully it felt, and it still does, like I was just a tool of the dance goddess. Not to sound cliche`, it was just that I had no personal plan other than to dance for a few years. It feels like something bigger than me just plucked me out of the masses and said, "Go do this." br/And, I did.br/But the bubble burst when students started splintering off and teaching right around the corner from me. That felt wrong. I would never have opened up shop if my teacher was still on the scene. I decided not to take a stance, not wanting to appear petty and more importantly, not wanting to put a damper on the progress of the dance.br/But heres the deal-it felt as if just when I was preparing to give a gift...it was snatched out of my hands. I was attempting to be humble in giving the dance away, not feeling the need for ownership, as I assumed that would naturally be attributed to me out of courtesy. But it was not to be. I was stunned, hurt, angry and too proud to say so. I retreated. br/I waited and watched to see what would happen. It was pretty rough for a while. All sorts of dances were being created and called "Tribal", some even "ATS", which made no sense to me as there was nothing ATS about them at all.br/I realized that people who had no experience with ATS were jumping on the bandwagon. It made sense to remain in the game and encourage people to call these new styles simply Tribal. Most people added a prefix or suffix, like Fusion, Gothic, East Coast, etc. Attempting I believe to stay under the umbrella of the popularity of Tribal while distinguishing themselves as original at the same time. Makes no sense to me, but OK.br/Eventually, the very people that turned away from me, or perhaps I should say the next generation of students of the original disapora, started to recognize the true ATS, and me. I felt like it was worth the wait. Im glad I didnt speak out against those that had broken away. And Im glad that we are on track again.br/br/A digression for a history lesson of the ATS underground, finally here is the reason for tonights talk.br/Things are good right now. There is still some confusion about what is ATS and what is any variety of Tribal, but thats OK. We have Sister Studios, teachers that adhere to the philosophy of FatChanceBellyDance in their ATS classes, 98 at the time of this writing. We have TribalStar Galactica, my attempt in getting all the "tribes" together in one place, no matter of the genre, 247 at the time of this letter.br/Its finally time for me to give the gift that I had intended at the filming of Dance Fundamentals-be creative and have fun. br/There are so many new steps and concepts being presented to me that I feel the need to broaden our definition of ATS. I propose that the steps from Tribal Basics Vol. 1 Dance Fundamentals and Tribal Basics Vol. 4 Embellishments and Variations be considered ATS Old School, as they are the foundation of what we do. Everything else, including our Tribal Basics Vol. 7 Creative Steps and Combinations, are to be considered ATS New Style.br/There will be new steps added to the ATS vocabulary, but they will not be mandatory. As well, you are free to create new steps and variations of your own. You can show them to me, or not. I am always happy to give a common sense creative critique on what makes a good ATS step, but you will not get in trouble if you are moved to create something on your own.br/As one dancer recently brought to my attention, we all have our own dialectics. By the nature of either distance, ala FatChance and Devyani, or simply a student group that dances together on a regular basis, we develop our own creative steps and variations (more on how to do that at the end of this letter.) The dance is the same but experimenting and mistakes lead us to create, and thats a good thing.br/But heres the deal; if you choose to create your own thing you will not be able to flow with another ATS dancer that you have never danced with before. What do I mean by flow? Flow is when both dancers have the same muscle memory for steps, interpret the music in the same way, have a similar skill level and use the ATS formations of duet, trio and quartet. Flow is dancing in the divine subconscious. But if you have one version of a step and another dancer has a different version, you will have to discuss it ahead of time and you will have to think, or stay in the conscious while you dance. This is not a bad thing, but just be aware of it.br/So thats it.br/Im still on the scene. I will still be teaching ATS all over the world. We will continue to produce instructional DVDs. Im not going anywhere. In fact Im just sitting here on the porch and I invite my dance family to come and play in the front yard. Show me what you are doing, tell me how it has changed your life, share a new piece of music with me. Just come home for a spell and let me enjoy your happiness. Then you can run off to the next house and create yet again.br/br/Anatomy of a Step.br/In June of 2011 we will shoot the next instructional DVD, to be released in the Fall. It will be titled Anatomy of a Step. Well introduce you to the new work that we are doing as well as that of guest artists. The theme of this DVD will be to introduce you to the process of creating steps and variations. But for now, use this formula: the posture does not change. The ATS Old School steps remain the core. The result of a new step reinforces the aesthetic of uplifted arms and joyful display of the body. The step conveys happiness. Any cues should be brief and logical, the more "rules" you have to add, the less successful the step will be. The principals of non-verbal communication govern all cues and formations. br/I think that if you follow these suggestions you will have success, and I hope find more depth in the dance.br/br/My friends, enjoy the dance. And phone home every now and then.br/Best wishes,br/Carolena

    #81440

    Anonymous

    Originally posted by Erin on tribe.net.I have goosebumps! Not even really sure what to say....all I know is I am waiting for the lucky day when I am able to make it to the FCBD studio for classes or somewhere for a certification workshop series. Very happy to have our little Trybe in Louisiana as part of the TribalStar Galactica!

    #81441

    Anonymous

    Originally posted by Beka on tribe.net.Thank you Carolena.

    #81442

    Anonymous

    Originally posted by Delia on tribe.net.<<But the bubble burst when students started splintering off and teaching right around the corner from me. That felt wrong. I would never have opened up shop if my teacher was still on the scene. br/br/Unbelievably disrespectful. I am very thankful that you kept going despite that! I think many would have thrown in the towel.

    #81443

    Anonymous

    Originally posted by Bobbi on tribe.net.Thank you Carolena......sending many hugs!

    #81444

    Anonymous

    Originally posted by Oona t on tribe.net.Thank yo soooooo much 🙂

    #81445

    Anonymous

    Originally posted by Jasmine on tribe.net.Im so glad we have a resource like this where we can get this kind of information directly from the source. 🙂 Thanks, Carolena, for keeping us in the loop.br/br/Also, I dont want to put a brake on the love fest, but a question -- is this announcement effectively changing the definition of ATS...again? Im not asking incredulously or anything, Im just curious. If youre going to distribute information thats intended to help other tribes around the world create their own ATS steps, do those troupes get to refer to themselves as ATS again, or should we still consider them ITS and/or fusion troupes? I understand theres still going to be an "official ATS" through Fat Chance and by your approval of suggested moves (which is necessary to maintain uniformity and the ability to dance with any other ATS dancer out there), but Im wondering how to identify people who create new moves that they dont or cant find a way to present to you. Not to mention that if everyone presented to you all the moves they thought would work well with ATS, youd probably have 250+ troupe directors knocking down your door tomorrow. ;-)br/br/This question my indicate that Im reading too much into your announcement, but I had to ask to be sure, and I hope youre up for clarifying. Thanks for whatever insight you can give to me and to anyone else whos wondering. <3

    #81446

    Anonymous

    Originally posted by Franistan M on tribe.net.I am wondering the same thing.

    #81447

    Anonymous

    Originally posted by Carolena Nericcio on tribe.net.Jasmine,br/Good question. I think there will be a wild fire of misinterpretation for a while, as people will take this statement and use it to justify what they are doing.br/But the New Style option is meant for people who are currently adhering to Old School and want to create. I suppose it can add back in the people that had to adopt the ITS moniker, as long as they identify as New Style.br/What do you all think?

    #81448

    Anonymous

    Originally posted by Ottavina on tribe.net.I think that would work, provided that the moves were talking about jive with the philosophy of movement and step creation of New Style ATS.

    #81449

    Anonymous

    Originally posted by Sarah H on tribe.net.I really love what youre trying to do here- leaving an opening to creatively progressing the style with everyone involved. Im very much Old School, but i like to play with these "old school" movements and create new ways of using them...we took the water pot and made it into a circle up... very interesting but only works if its discussed and practiced before the performance because theres really no cue... i suppose youd consider that new school? br/br/thinking realistically, it will take a while for this to sink in with people and for everyone to really understand what it is youre giving us.. some people really may take it and run in the wrong direction, but who am i to say which direction is the right way? As youve stated, people may take your words and use them to rationalize what theyre already doing. i love ATS because it brings you closer to other strong, beautiful women who know the language and helps us connect in a way nothing else would. Id hate to see it being taken advantage of(which im sure its already been in such a situation and im oblivious) because its truly the love of my life. Thank you Carolena for creating a way for me to really get in touch with myself and learn new amazing things about my body!!br/br/Respect! OGATS4EVA! =-)

    #81450

    Anonymous

    Originally posted by Ottavina on tribe.net.While Im sticking myself out there, I might as well ask these other things:br/br/I do think its intriguing that vol. 7 is considered part of the New Style. There are things on vol. 7 that I think are Old School, or, at least, they seem Old School to me, likebr/br/Walking Taxeem, Walking Bodywavebr/Single Bump Half Turnbr/Egyptian Full Turnbr/Spinsbr/Laybackbr/Reverse Turnbr/TSWATbr/ASWATbr/Ghawazee Shimmy combobr/(Maybe Wraparound and Barrel Turns, too? It might be my love of them clouding my judgment)br/br/Im guessing this will also change rather majorly the format of GS. Will it be paired down just to Old School stuff? Or, will it have everything on FC videos, or will it be expanded to include a section on proper creation of moves, steps, and combos (a la vid coming up in June 2011)?br/br/Please know Im asking out of benevolent curiosity and not annoying asshattery. :)br/

    #81451

    Anonymous

    Originally posted by Margaret on tribe.net.I generally feel that Inclusive beats Exclusive, every time. I like the idea of bringing ITS-ers back into the fold, with the new identification, as long as they follow ATS format, cues, posture, etc. And speaking of which- I notice you did not specify Lead Position in your guidelines. Was that an intentional omission, or did you just forget to mention it?br/br/(And thank you so much for explaining and clarifying. It must be so difficult to let go of your creation like that.)

    #81452

    Anonymous

    Originally posted by Jen on tribe.net.I feel that you need the strong foundation of Old School ATS to be able to pull off the Volume 7 "new style variations" and any new move that is created along the way. I do not see this as being two different "camps", that you would have to choose one or the other. It gives you a good guideline for dancing with ATS dancers that you have just met. You all know the "Old School" moves, and can dance together with this common language.br/br/Eventually, if you are teaching and practicing regularly, you will most likely progress to the new style, Level 3 Volume 7 moves. Its the natural progression in ATS, and is part of the GS curriculum. It does not mean that you are abandoning your Old School ATS, you are just evolving. br/I also think that anyone introducing new moves will do so with extreme care, and stay within the structure of ATS, building on the foundation of the L1 and 2 moves. Like Carolena says, these are not mandatory, but for some, it will feel good to be able to try out those new moves and variations that have evolved from the original foundation moves.br/br/I guess in my round about way, I am saying that I hope that people do not feel that they have to choose Old School vs New Style. I like that we are being encouraged to have fun, and create something happy and joyful, a wonderful message that we send out when we dance together!

    #81453

    Anonymous

    Originally posted by Leslie Jean-Jellybean aka: Miss Boo on tribe.net."I also think that anyone introducing new moves will do so with extreme care, and stay within the structure of ATS..."br/br/... will they though? Are we so sure? br/br/This is one of my concerns.

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