Sunday, July 13, 2008

A bellydance workshop

I went to a workshop today on American Tribal Style (ATS) bellydancing. It's a new style of dance that's only been around for about 20 years or so and which borrows from several dance disciplines including bellydance and flamenco.

Conceptually, ATS is really cool because there's a limited number of moves, each with varying extra layers that can be added. A unique "key" move is associated with each move/layer combination. There is a "leader" at the front left on stage and that person indicates with these key moves which move is coming up next. This way, it looks like the troupe is moving as one, but really it's a completely improvised dance each time. The leader changes throughout the dance as well so everyone in the troupe gets a chance to lead.

It's a very interesting dance and one I'd love to study. The guy (yes, the instructor was a guy and yes, that's unusual for bellydance) will be giving ATS classes on Wednesdays in September. It would be awesome to take the class but I'm a bit worried about my lower back.

My goodness, I must be getting old. I have aches! And pains! I have degeneration in my lower back, possibly from when I first started paddling, that can hurt when I'm dancing if I'm not very, very careful with my posture. The posture used in ATS is different than that used in regular bellydance, with the arms at shoulder height or above the head and the chest held up and out with the shoulders slightly back and new. Keeping my back long during this new posture was tricky.

So I'll see how much my back hurts tomorrow and if it doesn't hurt too much, then I'll think about taking the class either in the fall or some other time.

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