American Tribal Style bellydance (ATS®) is a modern style of belly dance, created in San Francisco by Carolena Nericcio and members of FatChanceBellyDance®.
ATS is often mistaken as an ‘ethnic’ look but is really just a beautiful blend of dance movements and costuming inspired by the ancient entertainers from India, Turkey, North Africa and Southern Spain.
The structured dance steps unique to ATS allow dancers to “shadow” each other in leading and following formations, giving and reading nearly invisible body cues to seamlessly transition from movement to movement. The connection between the dancers is so strong that the audience does not realize that they are watching a 100% improvised performance that is created in the moment – in classic ATS nothing is choreographed.
The uniformity and precision displayed in this dance form comes from the technique of dancers being trained to lead and follow each other, learning how to give and read clear cues so that all the dancers move as one. It’s alchemy in action.
With a background in traditional ATS you can dance, without preparation, with other ATS-trained dancers because you share the same vocabulary of movements and know how to read and give clear cues and transitions to your fellow dancers. If you have ever been amazed watching a flock of birds flying in beautiful formations, or have seen a school of fish swimming to and fro, and wondered how they look so synchronized, then you have witnessed the magic behind the philosophy of ATS.