Thank you to all the instructors for changing my life in so many amazing ways. -Jade

American Tribal Style Belly Dance (ATS) is a modern belly dance style based on a codified method of group improvisation.  Created by Carolena Nericcio, director of the San Fransisco-based FatChanceBellyDance, ATS's roots are an eclectic blend of classic Egyptian Cabaret, Folkloric and other world dance influences.  The word “American” emphasizes the style's departure from traditional Middle Eastern belly dance, while “Tribal” acknowledges both the “tribal” aesthetic of the costumes and makeup, as well as the emphasis on working collectively as a group through use of an improvisational follow-the-leader format.  In order to facilitate this group improvisation format, all steps all start with the gesture on the right side.  The dancers tended to angle to the left so that the hips are displayed to the audience while allowing the “lead dancer” to be clearly seen by the “follow dancers”.  In performance and practice, ATS belly dance represents a powerful display of women working together in cooperation - a group of individuals focused on presenting the dance as one cohesive entity.