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!

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.

Inspiration: Kae Montgomery and Daruma Dance Collective

I am still trying to sort things out in my head from Tribal Remix, and feasting on Tribal Fest videos, so I thought I would post something completely different in the meantime… trust me, both places have offered enough videos for quite a couple of months!

I loved how this looks: transitions are great, the stage dynamics are brilliant, everything is energetic and plain lovely. As always, watch here or head over to YouTube for the HD version.
Enjoy!

ATS Official Book, FINALLY!

American Tribal Style Classic vol1 book coverYes, I haven’t updated in over a month. Bad girl, no biscuit. Been doing a few things, and will post about it soon, I promise. However, what I wanted to share today is sort of time sensitive.

Carolena Nericcio-Bohlman and Kristine L. Adams have finally released the first volume of their American Tribal Style series books. And luckily, they’ve embraced the new formats, so it is available as an epub, and as print-on-demand, which means that the shipping charges are *reasonable*. So far so good, but what’s the hurry? Well, if you’ve got an account with Lulu (the publisher), they’ve released 20% discount coupons earlier today, which means you can get the book with a considerable discount, and yes, this is valid for the e-book version too.

The e-book version is not only economical, but also, at least for me, easier to access and take along… I could have a copy on my phone when going to class in case there are questions. I could read it on the train, and I won’t need to worry about carrying around a heavy book, or reading in bed until it falls on my head. Lulu sells it as an epub, but if you use the popular Amazon Kindle, it can be converted using programs like Calibre. Kindle’s MOBI format doesn’t allow for colour images, and there’s plenty in the book, but you’ll still see them in greyscale, so the e-book is a great choice.

Will this book “teach” you ATS? No. This book was obviously planned as a companion to each of the ATS DVD volumes (they are now on #9) and should go as a companion either for regular classes or DVD training. By all means, get it if you want to take a closer look at what it is about, but don’t expect just this to be usable as your sole “teacher”. Some things you can sort of figure out, but some, like the Lotus Hand, hardly make any sense through a written description.

The *one* downside I can see is that the book is disappointingly short, coming just at 49 pages, and covering just *some* of the foundation steps that are covered on a 6-week ATS course. The printed book lists 68 pages, which is 18 more than the e-book, but I won’t have access to a printed version for a while to compare, so for the time being, my comment about the length stands. Most glaring omissions are the Circle Step and Hand Floreos, and there doesn’t seem to be any word on zills or formations. So basically they’ve stuck to what is covered in the original Vol.1 DVD. To be honest with you, more ground is covered in Carolena’s earlier book, The Art of Belly Dance, but it has now been out of print for quite a while, and fetching ridiculous prices, so this is a good alternative. Personally, I wish the book covered the “Classic” ATS taught in Levels 1-2, with far more information, regardless of how the DVDs are organised, but I understand why they decided to organise things this way.

So, the million dollar question… should you get it? Depends. If you

  • are thinking of (or already) teaching ATS
  • are already learning ATS and want to have some things in writing to complement your class
  • are already learning another ITS or Tribal style

then the answer is probably yes. I would, however, go for the e-book version, both for cost and convenience’ sake. If, however, you

  • do Cabaret/Egyptian, and want to find out what the fuss about Tribal is about
  • like the idea of belly dancing but don’t know where to start
  • have specific requirements (i.e. health concerns, joint issues, etc)
  • are a “show me, don’t tell me” person

you will be much better served heading towards a class to have a teacher guide you.
You can get the American Tribal Style Classic: Vol. 1 from Lulu

Black and Silver Old School ATS bra and belt, Mermaid Skirts and Cholis

Black fusion costume

Black fusion costume

Last week we had a belly dancers party night at the local restaurant, and that usually means showing off whatever I’ve just finished. This time it was doubly interesting, as my friend L was wearing a chocolate mermaid skirt and off-the-shoulder-choli that I made for her, and I was using my Old School ATS bra and belt, and the black velvet mermaid skirt for the first time. My friend didn’t want to bother with a body-stocking, so went with a cami under her choli, and finished it all with her belt. I used a bodystocking and bolero from BellyStockings.com.

The off-the-shoulder-choli was made simply by removing a bit off piece B and D on the FCBD pattern, to create the “strap” look, and not stitching the top part of the sleeve piece, although depending on your shape, you might need to take some of this in, or adapt it. As usual with this pattern, YMMV and always do a test run to make sure everything is looking the way you want it to look.

Chocolate Velvet Costume

Chocolate Velvet Costume

I’ve mentioned before that the mermaid skirts, when cut properly and carefully, allow to make a full choli with leftover fabric. Three metres of stretch velvet was enough to do both pieces, I marked both patterns before cutting to make sure pile and fabric stretch would be the way it needed to be. I’ve made a similar one in black for myself to match the skirt and to go with ATS costumes. Both cholis include the extra wide back piece D to cover up bra straps, and a “tube” to go over the bra band for a neater look, although mine will be finished with more of a sweatheart cut, as I think it favours me better than the V neck. I hope I can get photos wearing it next week during the ATS residential.

Click on any of the photos to see a bigger version, and please excuse de decapitated photos, as I wanted to preserve my friend’s anonymity.

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