ATS Bellydancing, A Language With Different Accents

We had a week off after the Hafla, but tonight my Bellydancing class begins again.

And I’ve graduated a bit.  From now on I’ll be staying for the first half of the Level two class.  It feels like I’m making a new commitment to the class, my fellow bellydancers and myself.  It only makes me  nervous when I think about it.

So I’ve decided to dance instead of think.

One of the beautiful things about American Tribal Style (ATS), the kind of Bellydancing I’m learning, is that it’s a kind of  language.

Julz invited some of the  women from an ATS group in Halfmoon NY, come to our Hafla.  She and Kathleen had only danced with them once before about a year ago.   ATS isn’t choreographed, there are certain moves and everyone follows the leader not knowing what she will do next.  The leader is constantly changing too.

This all happens by everyone knowing the moves and giving cues to each other, with their bodies and eyes.

ATS dancers meet all from all over the world and dance together.

Julz told me that the woman (I don’t remember her name, but I”ll find out) she and Kathleen were dancing with in the video above has slightly subtler cues than we do.  So in a way, it’s like the same language with a different regional accent.

It just takes getting used to.

Last year Jon and I went to the ballet to see Swan Lake.  During the performance, one of the dancers who was standing behind the prima ballerina as she was dancing, was talking to someone back stage.  Very unprofessional, but also, this isn’t something you can do with ATS.  Even when there are three dancers up front and a chorus of dancers behind them, the chorus has to pay attention, because it may be their turn to dance any moment.

For me,  it’s this kind of spontaneity that keeps ATS creative and fun.





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