I am always super excited to attend dance workshops. These events are great opportunities to learn lots of new stuff. Likewise, meeting new people and sharing our experiences is extremely valuable. And traveling is also always nice.

This time, however, I had even more reasons to be hyped. During the Krysalis dance program, we were about to meet and learn from one of the most Bellydance superstars, Kami Liddle. Prior to the program, I haven’t had a chance to interact with her. However, I have heard from my close friends and mentors that she is an amazing teacher.

Kami Liddle created a dance program called “Krysalis”. Krysalis is a new contemporary fusion belly dance program. Kami launched it in 2018 in San Francisco, California and in St. Gallen, Switzerland. The important thing about “Krysalis” is that it provides many different tools to create your own unique movements. The emphasis in “Krysalis” is not on any specific way of dancing. Rather, it is meant to empower us to improve with different tools. “Krysalis” is split into 4 stages, and namely: Invocation, Expansion, Conception, and Elevation.

Invocation in the beautiful St.Gallen

In April 2019 I had the privilege to attend Invocation, the first stage in the “Krysalis” program. Invocation teaches the very foundation of the Contemporary Fusion Belly Dance technique. It helped us improve our core dance technique, including isolations, turns, floor work, layering, etc. 

Invocation took place in St. Gallen, a beautiful small town in the Nort-East Switzerland. The town radiates serenity, and it simply makes you feel very relaxed. Nobody seems to be in a rush, and everyone is very polite, welcoming, and helpful. 

The invocation was hosted by amazing Amanda Pittoreska. She is a tribal fusion bellydancer and teacher based in St. Gallen. Amanda is certified as the ‘8 Elements ™ Datura Style” teacher; POLESTAR Pilates trainer mat; Dipl. Spiraldynamik® Specialist Intermediate and Group Fitness instructor.

Amanda has organized many events and brought great teachers in St.Gallen. That is how she got to invite Kami Liddle, and co-host the local iteration of Krysalis.

I will try to convey my experience from St. Gallen.

I arrived a day before the rest of my group and Amanda was very kind to host me in her studio “Pittoreska” for the day. 

(Really appreciate everything that you have done for us, Amanda!)

The studio feels just like a tribal fusion belly dance museum – numerous photos of the most famous tribal fusion dancers are all over the place. Likewise, there are many pieces of jewelry and various costumes. Finally, one can notice many diplomas that Amanda acquired in her career. It is a fabulous place that made me feel at home very quickly.

I took the rest of the day exploring St. Gallen, much to my pleasure. The day after, we have started with our program.

Learning fusion dance techniques in a small dedicated group

And the program was indeed pretty intensive. As per the program creator, Kami:

Each class starts with an in-depth warm up to help build strength and flexibility aimed at creating strong dancers with increased body awareness. Warm-ups emphasize cross-training while combining Vinyasa Yoga, floor barre, and traditional modern dance exercises. Dancers will develop their dance technique including isolations, foot patterns, turns, and layering. Classes culminate in learning full-body movement phrases, concentrating on spinal articulation, extensive arm work, and spatial intent.

Dancers will learn the fundamental concepts to use the choreographic phrases provided throughout the course as a framework to find their own artistic individuality.

Our training group was pretty international. Apart from myself (Bulgaria/Serbia), there were people from Germany, France, Switzerland, Spain, Denmark, and England. We have been training in small groups, which I always feel is great. For starters, the teacher can spare enough time and attention with each and every student. Secondly, every member of our group had lots of experience, dedication, grit under their belt, so that warrantied great learning for all of us.

Likewise, communication is so much easier in smaller groups. We had lots of time to express ourselves, and also to ask questions, get clarifications, etc. It was a really high-quality learning experience. 

Finally, it was that much easier to get closer to each other. I really enjoyed getting to know each of them during our lunches and dinners together. 

We have learned a lot – not only from the program but also from each other – and grown together both as dancers and individuals. I am really grateful that I had the chance to get to know my roommates better. This is a big shoutout to them, beautiful souls and great dancers – Latifa Abdel, Sway Efey, and Ayana Svenja Breil.
Each and every day after the program, our brains were about ready to blow from all the info that we got during the sessions. We were very tired, and extremely happy just the same.

Joint dinner and a farewell party

Amanda has put a lovely dinner for all the participants. Two guys cooked pasta with various sauces.  While sharing the meal, we have also talked about our personal journey, experience, background, and also the dance. It was a great night filled with unique personal stories.

Finally, at the end of the program, and after we took our exams (yes, there was an exam), we have had a party at Amanda’s studio “Pittoreska”.

Party time in studio Pittoreska

After all sweaty days, after testing we had a party in Amanda’s studio Pittoreska. The party was a great way to spend some more time together, and to watch those dancers do what they are best at – dance.

While the rest were sitting on the floor in a circle, each of us would enter it and do a solo dance. It felt like a dance battle. While I felt a bit nervous (everyone was amazing), I did want to share my energy on the floor.

And the format was pretty interesting too. We were having a dance roulette. Kami would choose a random tune, and we would not know what to expect by the moment the tune would start. We would have very little time to adapt to the music style, dynamics, and rhythm once the tune would kick in. 

One by one, we were dancing in the circle. It was magical, and I can still feel the experience.

Wrapping up and departure

I learned so much during the Invocation intensive. I feel I have improved my technique and my teaching skills. Both are very important for me since my goal is to always push myself to be an even better dancer, teacher, and choreographer.

Likewise, I could feel Kami’s energy radiating during the sessions. 

Kami has inspired me a lot. She is the kind of tutor that would push you out of your comfort zone, and make you improvise. Ever since the Invocation, Kami has become a major influence in my dance life.

The whole experience filled me with so much joy, and I am grateful for having had this opportunity an experience. Very much looking forward to meeting you next time!

Tribally yours,

Sandra

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