I learned ballroom dancing by standing on my Dad’s feet when I was tiny. Ballet lessons, however, were out of the question as I was labelled a ‘fairy elephant’ and I learned piano instead. I shuffled my feet and waved my arms at the disco in the 80s but it wasn’t until I was forty that I ‘found’ dance and embraced it.
On Saturday night, my Tribal Unity Wales students and I joined the dancing at a hafla in Cardigan. (A hafla is a belly dance party, rather than a performance.) American Tribal Style® (ATS®)Belly Dance is the style I teach, created by Carolena Nerricio in the late 80s and since moving to Wales, I’ve started two classes and am about to start a third. Unlike Egyptian Belly Dance, every dance is improvised, dancers following the cues of the leader.
The atmosphere built as costumes were finalised and make up perfected before we began. As the first group danced, Rose Barter’s Belly Fit class for over 50s, I looked around at the other dancers, their friends and family. Everyone was smiling, clapping in time, supporting the dancers and enjoying the music and I wished we could capture the feeling in the Small World Theatre….then everyone would dance.
Our two group dances, one in groups and chorus and the other in formation, were interspersed in the programme with stick dances, a veil dance, a drum solo and other duets and solos. There were no egos. Each dancer was there to share the love of the dance.
Tribal Unity were invited to dance to the live drums and my partner joined them on the tabla. Hayley and I danced a fun, crazily fast duet…how can I describe how much fun that was?
My life changed when I started belly dance. In my early twenties I used weight training, swimming, aerobics and stretching to keep fit and sculpt my body. Thirty years on, dance gives me that and so much more.
I began with Egyptian Belly Dance, attending work shops all over the country to learn new skills and develop my dance until I became a tribal babe just over four years ago. Now I have the privilege to teach American Tribal Style® Belly Dance to others, sharing the love of the dance and the bliss of being part of a tribal family.
Don’t wait. You don’t need an excuse. Dance…today and every day.
To find out more about Tribal Unity http://www.tribalunity.co.uk
To find out more about American Tribal Style® Belly Dance http://www.fcbd.com