ATS Old School, ATS New Style

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  • #72404
    Profile photo of Janet Hanseth
    Janet Hanseth
    Keymaster

    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

    #75882

    Anonymous

    Originally posted by Lisa on tribe.net.How awesome!br/br/Ive used the term "old school" quite a lot but I can now use it "properly" per se!br/br/I dont consider myself advanced enough yet to even consider making up something to bring to the table as I want to be proficient in what yourself, and Megha have given to us already. And in that I want to be confident that what I am entrusting to my students is to the best of my ability.br/br/Thank you for sharing this with us too Carolena. Its a huge insight into the whole big vat of history you have made.br/br/x

    #75883

    Anonymous

    Originally posted by Christine (Akula Tribal) Tillett on tribe.net.Wow, pretty speechless right now, but thank you so much for expressing your feelings about your gift to us all!!...Im still digesting exactly what you are saying and have so much respect for you for putting this into words!..br/br/I remember saying something incredibly stupid to you in Glastonbury in 2008 about how proud you must be of the fact that there were so many people who based their dancing loosely on ATS. Your silence said it all and I learnt a lot about saying nothing but saying everything that day... :)br/br/Re: "Flow is dancing in the divine subconscious"br/In future this is a state I will be aspiring to reach, as I now realise that up until now I have danced mainly in the concious...It is an enlightening comment and one I hope you dont mind if I borrow from time to time...br/br/I choose to ask to be a Sister Studio because dancing and teaching within the FatChance format is where I am happiest. The thought of using new moves as and when they are officially introduced excites me, although to be honest I am still trying to perfect the way I perform the existing moves. However, in the future if by chance (either accidently or planned) a little peice of magic happens, please be assured that you will be the first person I call...br/br/Love and light,br/Christine xbr/

    #75884

    Anonymous

    Originally posted by Tracy on tribe.net.Bravo! It makes perfect sense to me. br/Congratulations on keeping control of your wonderful creation and allowing us to share the journey.

    #75885

    Anonymous

    Originally posted by Leslie Jean-Jellybean aka: Miss Boo on tribe.net.Dearest Miss C ...br/br/br/br/Ive read your incredibly well thought out post/announcement, and its very clear that you invested a great deal of consideration, time and care writing it. I appreciate that greatly.br/br/Thank you for creating this dance that changed my life in incredibly amazing and wonderful, healthy, empowering ways. ATS, for me, has become the gift that never stops giving... and I just want you to know that I appreciate every step you took that lead to where we all are now. With that being said... you have "grown", your amazing dance has "evolved", and things are changing. But one thing will always remain the same...br/br/... the joy this dance brings to the people who embrace it.br/br/My reply to your announcement is thus:br/br/Your news both excites me, and makes me a bit nervous. I wont lie... nervous, yes. However I am more than willing to hang on and roll with the "evolution" because I love you, I love this dance... every piece and facet of it, and I love the "tribe" is has created/the people it has brought into my life. No amount of words can possibly even begin to cover my feelings of gratitude about all of that.br/br/Thank you for everything you have done for us. Thank you for sharing, for caring, and for letting us all in. You walked a long road to get to where you are now -- and I am thrilled to be beside you as you continue your journey.br/br/br/br/Much love and respect...br/Lesliebr/br/br/br/PS: Looking forward to seeing you next month in Canada. Im going to skip "calling home", and hug you in person instead 🙂 <3

    #75886

    Anonymous

    Originally posted by jesse on tribe.net.Thank you for sharing this beautiful dance form and for being so generous, Carolena. Really, I cant thank you enough. br/br/I cant wait to see you and study with you again in March!br/br/xxjesse 🙂 br/

    #75887

    Anonymous

    Originally posted by Teejei on tribe.net.Excellent ideas, well put. A logical direction. Thanks mama! br/br/You know, it has only been a few hours, but many are saying that they love the new structure, and theyre proud to lean more toward "Old School". I think this new classification will only serve to underline the beauty of a solid foundation. br/br/YAY!

    #75888

    Anonymous

    Originally posted by laurie** on tribe.net.im glad this is posted in the confines of the "sister studio" tribe. im perplexed about some of the responses from dancers on the outside. (yet, some do not know the history.) being a sister studio, i am asking for clarification. in fact, i feel this is the appropriate place to *chat."br/br/my interpretation of carolenas posting is, because there are so many dancers working off the videos and coming to general skills but do not choose to stick with the exact 70 steps as presented, they have been given the "gift" of using the term "american tribal style."br/br/as a sister studio, we are "teachers that adhere to the philosophy of FatChanceBellyDance in their ATS classes." i consider this to be exactly what we learned in general skills and teacher training and currrent/future FCBD instructional videos aka FLOW. its the common vocabulary that makes ATS flow.br/br/therefore, when a SS, decides to create a new move (staying with the ATS structure), other than calling them (for the sake of argument ill use my troupes name) L.A. Tribal signature moves, they are never taught in an SS-ATS classroom, right? I think troupes then are the ones to develop the new moves (staying within the ATS structure). This is specific to SS only. If youre not a SS, I wouldnt be having this conversation with you. I really dont want to beat a dead horse, but, i want to know my boundaries.br/br/right now, if i do share a "variation on a theme" (a move staying within the ATS structure) its explained that they, the dancers, could never dance the move with another ATS dancer off the street aka FLOW.br/br/let me say, i no longer feel the need to wince when dancers call themselves ATS and they dont follow the FCBD format. i am actually relieved. carolenas approach is beautiful. with so many ATS troupes out there, she gets full credit--where credit is due.

    #75889

    Anonymous

    Originally posted by laurie** on tribe.net.a href=http://tribes.tribe.net/fcbdteachers/thread/9ae8ac9e-86b1-4948-9d50-9051a28ff5b2 title=tribes.tribe.net/fcbdteach...51a28ff5b2tribes.tribe.net/fcbdteach...51a28ff5b2/abr/br/i saw this post awhile back but didnt keep up with. i just scanned it from bottom up and saw carolenas response. so, the question still has to do with SS and the ethics of teaching a "variation on a theme" or "creative" step.

    #75890

    Anonymous

    Originally posted by Leslie Jean-Jellybean aka: Miss Boo on tribe.net.So heres where I am today:br/br/As much as I am disappointed in myself for what I am about to say, its all I feel like I *can* say ...br/br/... I am afraid to be honest.br/br/Im still confused, and I have what I feel are legit concerns, questions, etc, but, Ive seen people being really mean to people who have been honest about feeling the way I do, and frankly, I cant handle an onslaught of negativity coming at me simply because... I am where I am.br/br/It has also been insinuated that if you arent totally understanding of this, and are voicing that, you are being disrespectful, selfish, and unfair. And... thats enough to keep me silent. I dont feel I am being any of those. br/br/Ironically, I had come here and encouraged people to ask questions/keep the communication open -- and did not understand their reasoning/fear for not wanting to. Now... I do. And it makes me very sad :(br/br/

    #75891

    Anonymous

    Originally posted by JoY Hellaballoo on tribe.net.Yeh-- I hear ya both. Maybe shes sick of being bothered with it all and wants us to get along little doggies to make our own way. who knows. I am just going to do what i doOoooOoooOo-- dance and teach and not bother anyone. No one said she had to nurture til death.... I get it... I will do my best to keep making ATS look good (relatively, as much as I can :).

    #75892

    Anonymous

    Originally posted by JoY Hellaballoo on tribe.net.But its not just here--its all over Laurie...

    #75893

    Anonymous

    Originally posted by Wendy on tribe.net."I am just going to do what i doOoooOoooOo-- dance and teach and not bother anyone."br/br/I think thats a GREAT plan! 😀 The doing what you do, dancing and teaching part, anyway 🙂

    #75894

    Anonymous

    Originally posted by Wendy on tribe.net.I dont think its that shes sick of being bothered, I think its that shes just not interested in trying to police people anymore. Shes got enough work as it is, without adding more. br/br/In the long run, its a futile effort, anyway because people are going to do what they are going to do, in terms of calling what they do ATS, but in that, doing what they want whether or not it truly *is* ATS.

    #75895

    Anonymous

    Originally posted by Carolena Nericcio on tribe.net.I have moved the chat to my blog. Please re-post all the great comments from FaceBook, Tribe.net and any personal emails you send to me that you would like to share. Lets keep the conversation going!br/br/a href=http://fcbdblog.blogspot.com/2010/09/ats-old-school-ats-new-style.html title=fcbdblog.blogspot.com/2010/09...yle.htmlfcbdblog.blogspot.com/2010/09...yle.html/a

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