Praise for Carolena
Just want to add my compliments to the genius that created this form. I love to dance many forms but this system really has a unique beauty. I appreciate.
—Anonymous student of Powhow Classes
Praise for Bessie Skirt
This is my first chance to write you a couple of lines to send you my huge huge thanks. My Bessies reached me this Saturday past and they are both FANTABULOUS! From the fit, to the feel, to the look, the quality, and more particularly to how they both make me feel when I wear them (mucho vavavoom ;o)), they were absolutely worth the wait – surprisingly for me, the black/brown combo has stolen my heart (over my beloved brown) as it’s so unusual and incredibly flattering so you won’t be surprised if I were to make an ever so gentle suggestion of maybe adding a few more colours?
Once again, thank you very much and please pass my appreciation and compliments to Kathleen Crawley.
—Rita de Chadarevian
Praise for Homecoming
I did want to share with you what a wonderful experience Homecoming was for me. I have spent lots of money for years going to festivals advertised as Tribal and have usually come away disappointed. I was starting to feel lucky if a weekend or dance retreat environment offered one real ATS class that I could participate in. I was hungry for community outside of my city but am not interested in fusion, so I always left feeling a little cold. (The one exception is Sacred Circles hosted by Kriztina Naz-Clark, which is wonderful.)
I loved that Homecoming provided a space where I could truly immerse myself for an entire weekend in the dance form of my choosing, and be surrounded by people who were equally passionate and unapologetic about it. I felt delighted by the level of ability in the workshops and was happy to dance with my peers. In all honesty, I felt like I had been waiting years to come home to Homecoming and didn’t even know it.
Thank for your efforts to provide this experience. I hope it was a magical for you as it was for all of us.
All my love,
Praise for General Skills
Thank you, Carolena, for the stories, the personal touch, the humor, and the guidance you gave us during GS. It must be amazing to travel the world and see how you have touched so many people through dance—if only you *could* teach world leaders ATS and the art of dancing together in harmony. It was so nice to see a glimpse of you, as a person, and not just as Ms. ATS. Even though you were teaching to a room of 73 people, your way of teaching and speaking is so personable that it did not feel like there were that many of us. Thank you for the beauty you impart on the world and the beauty that you draw out of others. \o/ (can you see the outstretched arms?)
Praise for Tribal Counsel
Carolena, I really couldn’t imagine how much our conversation would help me figure out where to focus and find my own path (hoped though!). I tend to feel a little over confident in that I ‘know’ what I’m doing…usually! And when not, I adjust to do something else to make progress! I absolutely knew that I have a lot to learn going into this meeting with you, but the ‘what’ and ‘how to’ were very scattered with all I want to do at once along with the local complications to consider. If only I could quit my ‘real’ job and dedicate to my many many wants… that will be on the list some day (or add now with a far future date)!
My note book has yet to be bought, but the ‘wants’ are flowing in constantly; mentally my book is filling up! It seems as I think them, I see the path to them, and it’s only been 2 days!
Below is a sample of my nurturing ways to supplement the class experience. Weekly I send out emails, typically shorter than this example. Cindy Hopkins likes that I’m keeping everyone engages this way. I feel like there is not enough time in class for everyone to fully understand what can be available to them and why we love this experience. I think, subconsciously, my neutral ground has been in progress, tough last weekend kicked it so much more into high gear! I can’t wait to see what the next year brings!
Thank you so much for your extended time in helping me feel a lot more grounded in my expansive journey! Your time, patience, candor, advice, and encouragement brought me the focus I needed to feel grounded moving forward!
Also, I did tell Krista that I told you “she’d pee herself” if you had us dance as Fat Chance Belly Dance. She agreed. 😉
Have a fabulous day!
Praise for a Performance
Thank you Carolena. You were all stunning! I was so pleased with the event over all and just loved your performance. Many people commented to me on how beautiful your dance and costumes were.
Please let your dancers know how much I appreciated there commitment, beauty, grace and time. Thank you for supporting this movement.
I hope we get to work together soon.
Comments: I just received my copy of Volume 9, and I’d like to take the time to thank you for documenting your format so thoroughly on DVD. With no ATS teacher convenient to me, having access to the DVDs is a tremendous resource and very much appreciated.
Praise for Classes at the Studio
Because I will not be bold enough to say this in person, I wanted to let each of you know that by offering your studio and classes and work to me you have offered me something monumental, something megalithic.
I am usually awkward at the studio and often feel like I say “the wrong thing” or blurt out something that I should maybe keep in, like being frustrated at how, after 3 months, I’m not a perfect dancer yet!
I feel very humbled and inspired whenever I enter the studio, as the vibe is palpably magickal and welcomes one into a higher level of existence, physically, emotionally, spiritually, and sensually!
Each teacher I have had so far brings something new to the dance, even though they teach the same things!!
I love how patient and thorough the instruction is, and that’s universal, regardless of who’s teaching. Each step is explained, questions are always encouraged so nobody feels left out, and the message that it’s ok not to get it right away is there in case you need to hear it! I feel that the teachers understand that the students are often their own worst enemies, especially when you’re struggling to learn so much that is new.
For 14 years belly dance has been my secret passion, but I have spent most of that time dancing alone in my living room because I was so ashamed to show my body in a classroom setting, to say nothing of actually considering performing!
For the first time in my life I feel that doesn’t have to be the status quo anymore. I can be a dancer too.
Because you’ve welcomed me, I can belong.
And so I thank you, Carolena, and everybody at the studio, and I thank Masha Archer and Jamila Salimpour.
With hope and devotion,
Praise for Fireside Chat and Carolena
You, dear lady made me cry. Not a wimpy, weak, cry. But the kind of tears that get mingled with laughter when you’re unable to adequately express an experience.
Although we’ve never met, your demeanor in photos, on video, and through ATS has caused me to become your student, your champion. I, too, try to bite my lip when I hear things said about ATS, or FCBD.
And now…taking the high road has won out.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for your integrity of heart and your love of dance.
Praise for General Skills (GS)
As discussed at the General Skills Course run in Katoomba last week, I’m emailing you with my contact details for the Alumni Contact Group.
I also wanted to thank you for a great course. I wish all training courses I attended (for work as well as dance) were as well-organised, well-structured and well-delivered. I thought we got through extensive material very rapidly, but in a way that was thorough, and allowed sufficient time for questions. I also appreciated how accessible you were to me when I sought clarification on specific points outside class times.
Thank you so much—I learnt a great deal, and look forward to practicing and applying what I’ve learnt.
Praise for Workshops
Thank you again for traveling and presenting a wonderful workshop. We are still hearing rave reviews and none of this would be possible without your hard work and dedication from the beginning, literally. Although not an ATS purist, the ATS format is the core of what I do as a dancer in terms of format and philosophy. Tribal dance is a home to me that nourishes my soul in unmeasurable ways and not so far in the past during the most difficult time of my life. To borrow a phrase from a friend it’s like wrapping yourself up in a warm towel straight from the dryer on a rainy day. Shannon and I look forward to planning the next event and seeing you in the not too distant future.
Take care until then.
PS Again, from the bottom of my heart and soul I can only express gratitude for your generosity and the dance that means so much to myself and countless others.
Praise for a Workshop
Thank you so much for sharing your passion and wisdom with me this past week and a half. I could not be more thrilled with the experience!
I really hope to some day become a Sister Studio, and this course was a true confirmation to my goals and dreams.
The friendships that were made, I will always treasure. We all had such a blast! It was a real honor to be around you, and the women of FatChance, I felt so lucky and star-struck meeting them.
I’m with my family now in Arizona having fun, but secretly wishing I was back at your studio soaking in the love and inspiration!!!
I can’t wait to do this all over again! I truly admire you, Carolena. Thank you thank you thank you, for sharing yourself, your passions, and your dance with the world!
Praise for General Skills
First of all, I’d like to thank all the teachers coming to Taiwan to give us the excellent GS session. Although we had a terrible typhoon, the teachers still continued the class which gave us a great support.
All the students were touched and fascinated by ATS style and they are really looking forward to another workshop next year. Should we have the honor to invite you to come again, that’ll be a great news for every student in Taiwan. I believe your coming will do a great help for us to understand ATS more and promote ATS in Taiwan in the future.
In addition, I’d like to thank the teachers offering me the chance to teach the late-coming student for one hour, which saved a trip for the student and also encouraged my teaching. To be honest, before the teachers came, I had been quite nervous because I was afraid I couldn’t teach very well. However, the teachers gave me a great encouragement and I hope to do better in the future.
I am grateful to have the chance of inviting you to Taiwan and I want to convey my thankfulness to you and let you know we are sincerely looking for your coming in the future.
Praise for General Skills
I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed the General Skills workshop in Australia.
I have finished typing up my notes and realise just how much I got out of the weekend – lots for me personally and some excellent fine-tuning on presenting the moves during teaching.
I loved the way you structured the weekend with the presentation of the information – neither over-challenging nor under-challenging.
Many thanks for your vision
Akaroa, New Zealand
I just wanted to say thank you so much for the fantastic workshop in Toronto at the beginning of Sept. I feel thrilled and honoured to have been a part of the whole thing. My experiences have only come from the DVDs and taking other forms of belly dances and I don’t have goals to teach or become professional . It’s only for my own enjoyment. At this point I really enjoyed being in the chorus or when I was out there with a group trying to follow. So much to remember. I really like how it was so precise and structured, we even knew before the workshop what was going to be taught. And I love that all the info is on my dvd’s and there is even more on the handouts you gave us and in the catalog as well. One of my biggest thrills (besides watching you and megha dance of course) was the egyptian half turn when we all moved as a group and it wasn’t choreography. I was just thinking, wow, this is so awesome! I also love playing my zills, I was so excited to learn them and at first I almost wanted to give up but I really like them. My husband has noticed an improvement this year, he said “they sound alot less clangy then they used to” I still have a long way to go, layering is still really hard and I very often mix up my right and left foot. Oh well, just keep at it right?
I did listen to the “Living in Harmony With all Life”. You didn’t say a lot and this is the first time I even had the slightest interest in even looking into being vegetarian. I did get the two books, Being Vegan and The world peace Diet. Right now they are something to look at, I have a long way to go, at this point I haven’t even decided to go vegetarian but I can become more informed. There’s a whole lot of things I don’t even know about preparing vegetarian meals. I did go to the store the day after listening to the CD and choices in that particular store were slim when it came to vegetarian choices. I felt very overwhelmed and also was thinking, wow, that’s a lot of meat, it seemed to be everywhere. The next day I went to the market and was mostly looking around and realized there’s a whole lot of things out there that I don’t have the slightest idea what to do with. There is a package of tofu in my fridge I’m going to try out. I did try the soy milk and it was quite horrible! So the only thing I can maybe do at this point is try some new things and go from there. I may not even turn vegetarian, I don’t know. The CD was quite graphic and brutal but I seem to be quite good at shutting it out and practicing denial right now. I think I am having normal responses to it all because this is what I grew up with and looking at the books it is a whole other way of life.
I did grow up on a farm (a hobby farm) and we did have a few cows and chickens and I know they did have a really good life but yes the reality is that eventually we did eat them. It does sound rather horrible when I see it written down. But that is how it was growing up, somehow we always distanced ourselves from the animal that was outside and the food on our plate. Much how I stay distant from all the horrible things I hear in the news, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to stand it.
Anyway, I just thought I would share my thoughts on the whole thing, I don’t know where or if I will go anywhere with it but it certainly won’t hurt to find out information.
I know you probably get loads of pictures but I’m sending a couple anyways, I’m so proud of my certificate.