Free: American Tribal Style costume and make-up videos

Fat Chance Belly Dance vol 2: Make up and Costuming video cover

Fat Chance Belly Dance vol 2: Make up and Costuming

Fat Chance Belly Dance have made their volume 2 available to view for free online. The resolution is rather low at 640x480px, and the quality looks a bit grainy, but this has more to do with the original date of the video (1994) rather than any purposeful quality reduction for online viewing.

You can find the whole of the vol. 2 here http://fcbd.com/make-up-and-costume/, in 13 chunks that have been uploaded to Vimeo. There’s a lot of explanation about the whats and whys of ATS costuming, and a few things said in it clarify some things that were not at all clear in the FCBD patterns sold through Folkwear. It also talks about things like choosing a single colour palette for the whole troupe to get a unified look.Overall, because it covers specifically stage make-up, it is worth watching even if you don’t do tribal or ATS, just to get a general idea of how to approach it if you think your stage make-up isn’t up to scratch. It’s not terribly detailed, and there are no real specifics about application or precise techniques like contouring, but there are plenty of videos available online that cover these, and if you still want more, there are blogs and even DVDs from people like Princess Farhana that specifically cover stage make-up, including things like body contouring (yes, there is such a thing).

I am also having problems with Vimeo streaming, but that might be my own connection, but worst case scenario, you can watch the segments one at a time. Carolena has also very kindly allowed Vimeo users to download the files, so you can compile your own little DVD if you wanted, or keep the videos available to watch on your preferred mobile platform. Overall, well worth viewing at least once!

Tribal Remix day 3: Sera Solstice’s Good Morning Flow – review

with Sera Solstice after a workshop

with Sera Solstice after a workshop

It’s taken me quite a while to write on this workshop, because there was a lot that I needed to sort out in my head. The workshop description sounded intriguing enough:

Welcome your day of dance with a body-focused flow of movement. Designed to relax, open, and strengthen and remind the dancer of her original love of dance.
We will work into dance-technique in a round-about way, focused first on feeling, relaxing into our movement, and then gently honing in on technical execution.
We will work through smooth expansive sequences, slow and fast isolations, and upbeat hipwork drills and layers.
Finally, we will string together a grouping of movements into a choreographic sequence.

Sera initially worked us through a gradual warm-up, not as cardio or yoga intensive as most other dancers do, but quite flowy and relaxing. After that, we had a bit of a moving meditation… Anybody that has seen her DVDs know there’s a meditation thrown in between the warm-up and the technique, and while some might dismiss it as “woo” or “twee”, I rather like the focus. She worked that angle not from some esoteric energy or universe to visualise or connect to, but from very tangible, very obvious items for us as dancers: the ground we were standing on, the building we were in, the air we were breathing, the people surrounding us. It was rather interesting, in that it helped me connect a bit better with the environment instead of just plopping myself into it, and I could see a use for it as a centering technique before performances. After that, she started giving us a basic move, which could be a simple footwork or arms, and left us to work on it, eyes closed, trying to learn to feel the flow of the move to see what worked better for us, what our bodies enjoyed the most, what felt more comfortable. I found this exercise very intriguing, I know a few people were trying to build combos or the like. For me, it was a license to just let my body go and notice what movements flowed naturally, and while I was at it, think about why. I have to say, this was rather a revelation for me, I had not ever stopped to think about these things, and what I figured out during that time was rather interesting and led me to start thinking more in depth about why I am dancing, what I expect from it, and what I hope to achieve. We must have worked through five or six steps or sequences with this method; I get the feeling that it should be a great way of exploring basic moves to combine or enhance them.

We then moved onto combos. I am very sad to say that I *sucked* at them, my brain had already gone into a totally different tangent and was busy doing its own thing so I kept using the wrong arms or putting the weight in a different spot. I honestly can’t remember a single one of them (shame on me); they were all very slinky and flowy, but I do remember that after a while I *did* feel I was starting to “get” this particular flow, which has been difficult for me in the past. By now I was pretty much in a haze; you can see by the photo above that I look completely soaked and tired, but look like I’ve just had the best birthday present *ever*.

I found this workshop with Sera super-inspirational, giving me food for thought even though my body was frazzled after three days of intense work and my brain was fried with all the info I’d been absorbing. And the following day, when I walked onto the stage at the Ifield Barn Theatre, I know that I did it with a new found confidence and self-assurance that I’d never felt before, and that I picked in no small part during the workshops.

Would I take another workshop with Sera? Definitely. I found her very much in tune with what her students needed, attentive and clear.
Bring on Tribal Remix 2015!

Inspiration: TerziMoirai at Tribal Remix 2014

This week, our ATS class started learning (or reviewing) Dueling Duets. What are they? An ATS formation where a standard 4-formation transitions into two duets facing each other. You can see a great example in the video below, from the 2:45 mark onwards. I loved this performance, I was there for it and it was *so* energetic and the connection between the dancers was great.

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