A few months ago I was on a plane, bound for a ten-day intensive. I found myself wrangling with my conflicted thoughts. I picked up a pen and began to write. When I came out of my trance, I read: “I want to disband the troupe and work as a consultant.” I was shocked at my own transmission, but for the first time in a long while, I felt completely free. And I knew what I had to do.
The Past: I am 52 years old. I have been dancing for 38 years. American Tribal Style® is 25 years old. The FatChanceBellyDance® Studio has been open for 13 years, and I have been traveling around the world to teach and guide ATS dancers for the last six years. When I came home at the end of 2012,
I could barely walk. I had arthritis, a torn meniscus, bursitis and menopause. It took a few months to get myself back on my feet, both literally and figuratively. I had been in denial about the need for a change in my agenda. Some members of the troupe have been involved with FCBD® since the 1990s.
This group did a lot for FatChanceBellyDance®. They helped me keep the studio open when I started taking ATS® and Tribal:Pura on the road with Megha Gavin in 2006; they taught almost all the classes, especially Level One and Level Two, the classes from which I most needed a break; they were aces at nailing a concept for a show (small show or big show, no problem) and could set the stage on fire. I would come back into town and they would present me with a concept: the music, the intention, the costumes. We would hit the stage at a festival or theater show. They kicked it, and they propped me up. I was rarely in top form because I had been on the road too long.
Present: I now love going to the studio every day. I am once again delighted to teach all levels of classes. I’m officially hanging out my shingle as Consultant for ATS® troupes, teachers and students via Skype, and in-person if possible. Though I face challenges such as the rent going up and sales going down, I have a great office staff. After traveling the world, I can really see that the dance is a global phenomenon, and I continue to have an unending flow of ideas for getting the dance out into the world.
I am getting married next month. I want to write my book. I will continue to travel in small doses, but am realistic about how much I can do well in one trip. And yes, I want to retire someday, but not yet.
In the balance: What happened to the troupe? I disbanded it as a closed unit and will reform it on an as-needed basis. I see a lot of talent and skill at the studio, but not necessarily all in one person. I am interested in exploring what happens when a varied group of dancers come together to share strengths and weaknesses. I want to work with everyone, not just one troupe. I will form the troupe one gig at a time with dancers that attend Level Three (L3) classes on a regular basis. The former members of FCBD® will continue to perform and teach at the studio if they desire, they are also free to work on their own.
While things are changing at the Studio, FatChanceBellyDance® stands strong; the studio is open, the merchandise is available, all workshops will proceed as planned, on-going classes are still on-going, Carolena is here, rested and inspired and waiting to talk with you.
Thanks for your support.
11 August 2013
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