World Arts West
SF Ethnic Dance Festival
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FatChance dancer





NATIONAL/ETHNIC IDENTITY: American Tribal Style Belly Dance
DIRECTOR: Carolena Nericcio
First Appearance in SF EDF: 1992

FatChanceBellyDance performs what has become known over the years as "American Tribal Style Belly Dance." It refers to a group form that has extended beyond the customs and traditions of Arabic culture where belly dance was first born. Based on observation and interpretation, this "American form" has grown to incorporate other styles of movement, gesture, music and costumes from North African and Middle Eastern dance, as well as Spanish flamenco and East Indian dance.

In the group form offered by FatChanceBellyDance, there is an intricate connection amongst the dancers, and between dancers and musicians. The musicians watch the dancers closely for cues as dancers take turns leading and following; dancers watch each other and the audience for responses. The musical accompaniment is all performed on traditional Middle Eastern instruments: the mizmar, doumbec, bendir, riqq, and tabla beledi.

Formed in 1987 by founding director, Caroleena Nericcio, FatChanceBellyDance views belly dance as a celebration of the beauty and strength of the female spirit and form in all of its shapes and sizes.


FatChance dancersTITLES: Maleh u Filfil, Water's Edge
DANCERS: Carolena Nericcio, Wendy Allen, Colette Hunter, Marsha Poulin, Anita Lalwani, and Sandi Ball
MUSICIANS: Musicians of Helm. Ling Shien Bell (melody instruments; mizmar), Mark Bell(Percussion; doumbec, bendir, riqq), Tobias Roberson (percussion; doumbec, tabla beledi, riqq)

Here the company offers two dances which draw on the inspiration of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring. The first, Maleh u Filfil, is performed to a mesmerizing, languid taxeem (musical improvisation) where the dancers use sensual body waves, arm rolls and spiraling hip figures to draw the audience into the music. The second piece, Water's Edge, is accompanied by an up-tempo 2/4 Karachi beat. Here the dancers play with sequences that call to mind the ebb and flow of water and shorebirds dashing in and out of the ocean surf.

While born in the arid, desert lands of North Africa and the Middle East, the undulating, wave-like movements of "belly dance" are reminiscent of the currents of the sea–the rhythmic rise and falling of the ocean waves.

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