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A Thousand Words – Body Lines in ATS

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In my classes, we talk a lot about the importance of body line American Tribal Style. In my experience, I find Carolena Nerriccio to be a visual artist of the human form–when developing moves over the years, every creative decision has been anchored in strong lines, presenting the body in the most flattering and powerful way.  It is these striking, editorial shapes which make tribal bellydance so uniquely riveting.

In class, we often discuss the moves as a smooth and seamless series of moving images.  We talk about the idea that a photographer snapping away should be able to capture the key shapes–those magic moments when we are expressing the innate power and grace of the movement.

So ya wanna play a little game with me? Let’s play “What move is this?” Below are a series of ATS dancers and troupes performing, followed by a list of common ATS movement names.  You try to match the image with the move they are demonstrating.  Take a look and see how every movement has an iconic shape, body line, gaze, presentation–every element of the Classic and Modern ATS vocabulary considers the body line to suit the overall aesthetic.

For example, here’s an easy one, from the lovely dancers of MOIRAI TRIBAL in London:

Anyone who knows their ATS from a hole in the wall recognizes this dramatic posture as part of the Camel or Camel Walk.  Look at the long line of their arms, mirroring the graceful angle of their extended legs, their gaze down and to the left, with the ribcage lifted and strong anchoring the lowered center of gravity.  
You ready to give it a go? Here are 10 images, so you can try to place the moves from the image alone.  Below those you will find the list of moves to choose from if you need a little nudge here or there (listed is what we call it in my classes, with the common usage name in official ATS parlance).  I have also included two bonus partner moves/combos not listed in the multiple choice–BONUS POINTS!  Comment with your answers.  I will list the answers in a future post.  After the break, here we go!

1. Carrie Moore and partner, of Gypsy Horizon
2. Carolena of FatChance

3. Tribal Moon

 8. Devyani, Photo by Choti Duniya

A. Egyptian

B. Shoulder Shimmy Hip Drop (Sweet n’ Sassy)
C. Arabic Arm Sweep (ASWAT)
D. Body Wave
E. Shimmy (Ghawazee Shimmy)
F. Barrel Turn
G. Warp Turn (Wrap Around Turn)
H. Sahra Turn
I. Torso Rotation
J. Hip Bump

+ 2 bonus partner moves/combos

Put your answers in comments below. And of course, comments and questions of any kind are totally welcome here any time.  Have fun!
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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.

5 Responses

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    1. J – Hip Bump
    2. F – Barrel Turn (Do a barrel roll!)
    3. A – Egyptian Basic
    4. I – Torso Rotation
    6. E – Shimmy
    7. D – Body Wave
    10. Shoulder shimmy hip drop

    I recognize 5, 8, and 9 as level 2 moves, but I can’t for the life of me remember their names!

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    Great game!
    Here are my answers:
    (1) J – hip bump
    (2) F- barrel turn
    (3) A- Egyptian
    (4) G – wrap around turn
    (5) I – torso rotation
    (6) E – ghawazee
    (7) D – body wave
    (8) H – sahra
    (9) C – arabic shimmy w/ arms and turns
    (10)B – should shimmy hip drop combo
    (11) chico four corners
    (12) arabic orbit

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    1. Hip Bump
    2. Barrel Turn
    3. Basic Egyptian
    4. Wrap Around
    5. Torso Rotation
    6. Ghawazee
    7. Body Wave
    8. Sahra
    9. ASWAT
    10. Sweet n’ Sassy
    11. Chico Duet
    12. Arabic Orbit

    Fun! 🙂

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    Awesome idea 🙂

    1. J – Hip Bump
    2. F – Barrel Turn
    3. A – Egyptian
    4. G – Warp Turn (Wrap Around Turn)
    5. I – Torso Rotation
    6. E – Shimmy (Ghawazee Shimmy)
    7. D – Body Wave
    8. H – Sahra Turn
    9. C – Arabic Arm Sweep (ASWAT)
    10. B – Shoulder Shimmy Hip Drop (Sweet n’ Sassy)

    Bonus 1 – Chico four corners passing

    Bonus 2 – Arabic Orbit

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    I got most of them! Great post though, it really is incredible how strong and unique the lines are for each move. That could be a good test of our own skills – freezing mid-move and seeing what our lines are really like. 🙂

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