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Interviews with Carolena by PinkCoinBelt

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In my recent wanderings around the ATS dancer blogosphere, I came across the Pink Coin Belt Chronicles, which is a blog written by Yuska, a male *gasp*ATS dancer at FCBD studios.  More than that, he just became the newest member of BlueDiamondsBellyDance earlier this month–a student troupe at FC studios.  It’s a fun blog seem through the eyes of an enthusiastic student of tribal bellydance.

Among the entertaining blog posts was a 5 part series of an interview he did with Carolena earlier this year, in which he asks about dance, life, religion, and everything.  I have included some of my favorite snippets from each of the segments, with links to read the complete interview below.  Enjoy!

“Let’s begin with the hardest ones first. Could you tell us the typical process of creation of a movement? From the conceptualization until it’s out there in the ATS vocabulary.

Carolena Tribal Belly Dance ATSWell, the core movements that you see in Tribal Basics volume 1 are the movements I learned from Masha Archer. Basically, for a movement to be admitted to the ATS vocabulary, everyone has to accept it first, in that it has to be doable. Because everyone has different bodies, it is important that the movement is created so that they complement to these different types of bodies. This also applies to the range of motion. Dancers must be able to do a move, otherwise it will just get sidetracked because no one’s using it because no one can do it.

Tell me, what do I have to do do to make sure I don’t get kicked out and banned from FCBD’s studio?
(Laughs). Show up on time, leave your baggage at the door, be open minded, be in a good mood, allow your mood to be transformed, follow directions and be polite to the teacher and be helpful to other students, but don’t micromanage the others.

We really frown on people teaching when a teacher is teaching, and commenting when a teacher is presenting. What is planned for the day is whatever the teacher is planned for the day.

What do you think is the worst thing an ATS teacher could do?
I’d say that it probably has to do with what they say, not necessarily what they’re doing. If he or she is overly critical of other dance styles and saying that other teachers are wrong, that’s really frowned on. Also if the teacher is overly critical of the students and doesn’t build a good rapport with the students,

A really good instructor, I think, would be magnanimous, confident, able to manage things as they come and go, creative, open minded all the while staying with the philosophy (of ATS). If a teacher has so much creativity within him or her that makes the teacher go completely off the ATS map, then ATS is not the right dance. Perhaps fusion will be more rewarding, because what makes ATS so great is the boundaries of this dance.”
Read the rest of Part 2 (really is Part 1 of the interview) HERE

It continues in the next installment:

So what keeps you relentless and perseverant? What keeps motivating you in doing ATS?

Tribal Bellydance ATSI feel like I was given this dance (by the Goddess Quan-Yin) and that it’s my job to move it forward. I just wake up every day and feel that there’s always something else to do. So there’s really no need for motivation.
However, every now and then, there is this debilitating feeling of not wanting to go, but it’s more because of what people say.
Fifteen years ago, when Fusion was the thing and everyone was learning fusion with different styles of Tribal, I was like, “What are they doing?” And people were nasty to each other and it wasn’t fun or conducive for the dance. So, I felt deflated because of that and I just thought of quitting.
But I guess what motivates me is the idea of happiness that ATS brings. It has brought so much joy to the lives of so many people. I feel the need to share the dance. The dance itself is fabulous. But as soon as people start to open their mouths…”
 Read the rest of Part 2 HERE
 Part 3 is HERE
And a snippet from the final part:
“What do you think is the most gratifying aspect of performing?

Being able to entertain the audience – it was only until recently, during the second Taiwan trip in 2008 that I discovered to just let everything go and have fun on the stage. I used to resent the audience and the idea of me having to entertain them. So, my conscience and I decided to have a talk. I had lots of moments when my Self and I would say, “Let’s have a talk because this thing isn’t working.”
One time, my Self told me to let everything go when I’m performing. I used to think that when people came up to me and ask where I bought my choli or what music I danced to, people weren’t paying attention to me, but to what I wear and the song I dance to. My Self said, “That’s right!” So, at that moment, I decided to just dance and I was so into it.
At the end of the performance, I was there, with people taking hundreds of photos with me. I used to dislike people taking photos of me because I felt they were stealing a bit of my soul, but I realized this made them happy. So I just stood there until everyone was gone, still smiling, asking if everyone’s sure they don’t want to have another photo with me.

And what do you think is the most gratifying aspect of teaching?
It is so good to have that lightbulb experience and lightbulb look on the faces of the students. It’s so good to know that they can connect to what you are teaching.
It doesn’t have to be in the class or about a move you’re currently teaching, but it can also be about the body image. Some people who are really conservative could put on a costume and just have that lightbulb moment when they feel that it is just natural for them to bare their stomach and dance in something that could be too revealing for most people.”
Read the rest of part 4 HERE
Follow Shay:

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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