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What it takes to perform with an ATS group.

Wendy Allen of FCBD wrote a fantastic article on what it takes to perform ATS.  For anyone who wants to better understand the kind of consistency, patience, and commitment it takes, I have excerpted some of the best bits below:

“When people start taking classes in American Tribal Style dance, often one of the first questions is, ‘When do I get to join the troupe/perform?’

The answer is, not for awhile. While you may have a desire to get up on stage and express yourself, you have a responsibility to your fellow dancers and your audience. 
The first thing to learn about performing ATS is that it is not all about you. It’s about the group.

You may think you are well versed enough in the format to jump in after a long absence.  Think again. If you haven’t been around class for awhile, we need to get used to dancing with you again.  
You may think that because you have other belly dance training you don’t need basics. Think again.
You may think that because you are Arab/Egyptian/Turkish, etc, you won’t need basics.  Think again.

This is a specific format with its own vocabulary.  You must learn the basics before you can advance. It’s not fair to the people who have put in the time and effort to allow inexperienced dancers into the advanced levels. Again, it’s not about you, its about the group. Keep reminding yourself of that. Make that your mantra. 

(Our troupe) does not audition, nor do our student troupes. Well, I take that back. We do audition, but that audition starts in Level 1 and continues throughout your education in our classes.  The teachers do pay attention, and we do observe.  

If you want to perform with an ATS group, here’s what you do. Show up consistently to class. Have a good attitude, don’t be a diva. Focus, do your best to fit in with the culture of the classes. And no matter how experienced you become, always go back to Level 1 and Level 2, because in spite of what you may think, you have never learned everything there is to learn about any one move.  If you think you know everything, you’re sorely mistaken. “

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Shay Moore is the director and primary instructor at Deep Roots Dance in Seattle, WA. She loves writing, movies, costuming, knitting, cooking, and bellydance to the moon and back again; and loves her amazing husband and doggies even more than that.

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