American Tribal Style® Belly Dance or Tribal Style Belly Dance (also known as ATS or Tribal) is a modern style of belly dance created by FatChanceBellyDance director, Carolena Nericcio-Bohlman. ATS quickly spread across the United States and Canada and immediately captured the attention of audiences worldwide with stunning dance performances featuring majestic costuming and layers of tribal jewelry. The music, a carefully chosen collection of both traditional sounds and modern fusion adds to the effect. American Tribal Style®looks old, but it is actually new. Many other innovators branched out from FCBD, including Gypsy Caravan and Black Sheep Belly Dance, who are also considered to be “grandmothers” of Improvisational Tribal Style (ITS) dancing along with FCBD.
American Tribal Style Belly Dance is clearly defined and documented with the primary characteristic being that of group improvisation. Tribal is generally performed in a group, often at community events such as festivals and parades, with tribal dancers typically favoring a look provided by wide-legged pants gathered at the ankles (aka pantaloons), tops known as cholis and full skirts.
What makes ATS unique is the group improvisation, which characterises most of the movements e.g. the leader must be visible to the entire group and moves must be distinguishable from behind; arms are held away from the body (for visibility) and arm movements are kept simple; standard combinations that are known to group are often used and rapidly changing movements are avoided; and so on.
Costuming is derived from many “folkloric” and various traditional tribal costuming resources and is often composed of layers of large tiered skirts or 25 meter skirts, a short choli, over which a bra decorated with coins and textiles sits, a headdress or hair decorations, one or more hip scarves with yarn, tassels or fringe, and a heavy layering of antique looking silver jewellery. Dancers frequently “tattoo” their faces with kohl or kajal.