Frequently Asked Questions about American Tribal Style™
What is American Tribal Style™?
Tribal Style Bellydance is both a celebration of the female spirit and a physical display of the strength and beauty of women. It's roots can be traced back to the rituals of past matriarchal cultures and to the secular entertainments evolved as the gypsies traveled through India, Central Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and Spain.
There are many styles of bellydance. The most authentic styles are cabaret and folkloric. Other styles have evolved as the dance migrated from the Middle East and North Africa into Europe and the US and back again. FatChanceBellyDance performs what is referred to as American Tribal Style Bellydance.
What distinguishes Tribal from other styles of bellydance is the way in which steps, movements, gestures, even costume, are redesigned to suit the common denominator of a group dancing together. The music is selected for it's clarity, the steps for their universal application and yet, whether performed as choreography or improvisation the result is one of simple elegance and rhythmic style.
What is FatChanceBellyDance™?
Read the history of FCBD™ and see research on American Tribal Style and FCBD on our history page.
What are the different class levels? What level am I? When can I move up?
Class levels are:
Dance Fundamentals (Level One)
Tribal Combinations (Level Two)
Drills and Drills/Improv (Level Three)
Improv Choreography (Level Four)
We require that you take the Six-week Dance Fundamentals Level One course before moving up to Tribal Combinations Level Two. Our style and steps are unique to FCBD and the main feature of what we do is the uniformity of steps so that several dancers can dance together improvisationally. To achieve this magic of improvisation all dancers need the same vocabulary. Without it the outside dancer can easily follow, but the result is the frustration of the more knowledgeable dancers who have to slow down to accommodate the newcomer.
Dance Fundamentals (Level One) is a basic class, but is not remedial. You will find yourself drawn to this class throughout your journey. It is the place for a new student to start. It can also function as review for a more experienced student. This class will always feature the Fundamentals of one slow movement and one fast rhythmic step. Also included are stretches, posture, awareness of body mechanics, music and history as appropriate, and simple zils (finger cymbals). Six-week cycle.
Tribal Combinations (Level Two) This class is the next step after Fundamentals. In this class you will refine individual technique by drilling basic steps and their variations in creative combinations with partner dancers. Twelve-week cycle.
If you are visiting from out-of-town and have previous Fundamentals experience with another ATS teacher, please speak to the Admin and FCBD Teacher about the possibility of attending this class out of sequence.
What should I wear?
For your first classes you should wear something comfortable until you decide that you want to continue with lessons. When you are ready for costuming, we recommend a full skirt worn at the hips, a shawl or scarf tied around the hips, pantaloons or tights, and a choli top.
How long will it take for me to learn?
There is no real answer to this question because everyone learns at a different pace. However, if you attend classes consistently every week, pay attention and practice at home you will have a good understanding of what's going on within a few months.
Where do I get music to practice with? DVDs? Books? Finger Cymbals (Zils)? Etc?
We have almost everything you need for Tribal Style Bellydance. The store is open whenever class is in session or you can make an appointment to come in. Regular items like DVDs and music are always in stock. Special items like jewelry and costume ebb and flow so make sure to ask if you need something that you don't see stocked.
What's ahead for me?
Find out what happens when you put all your moves together when you attend Observing the Creative Process. You can be an informal audience to the advanced students as they put together an imprpv set. Keep studying and you'll be there too!
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