My Invocation Experience: Tribal Fusion Belly Dance in St. Gallen

Krysalis Invocation in St. Gallen | Tribal Fusion Sofia

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

Care Dance March: Dancers Raise Funds in Sofia and Pay It Forward

Sighreen performing at Care Dance March 2019 | Tribal Fusion Sofia

Care Dance March is a non-profit manifestation that unites dancers and performers around charitable causes. Tribal Fusion Sofia started and hosted the very first edition of Care Dance March on the 2nd of March 2019 in Sofia, Bulgaria.

During the first Care Dance March, visitors have seen tribal fusion, contemporary, cabaret, popping, fusion, etc. While most of the performers were adults, two children dancing groups also took part.

Why have we decided to start Care Dance March?

Why we started Care Dance March

As I mentioned on the Tribal Fusion Sofia homepage, we know that it can be hard succeeding alone. As many other artists and performers – we too have been through the struggles. Everyone needs support in pivotal times of our lives. And one can never know if the next pivotal moment is just around the corner – for better or worse.

This is why we believe in the “pay-it-forward” philosophy. If you have a chance to do a good deed to anyone else – you should go for it. That is how kindness and positive energy spread like waves, rippling through our society.

On another hand, dance is capable of sending powerful messages to audiences. Hence, we – performers – are able to influence masses, send messages, and radiate our values. Even if only for a short while, during a stage performance.

As artists, doing good is a part of our ethos. Moreover, it is our responsibility. Hence, I have decided to reach out to the local dancing and artistic community. I told them about my idea, and was overwhelmed by positive feedback and support.

What’s in a name?

The name of the manifestation – Care Dance March – is a combo of its mission, the channel, and a play of words. “Care” obviously emphasizes its charitable nature. “Dance” stands for the channel by which us (the artists) mobilize the audience to partake, and send the message. Finally, “March” refers to the month of the first edition (March 2019).

However, all together, Care Dance March reads in the imperative form. We (and you) should care, dance, and march! We (both dancers and the general public) should care about each other; channel our energy (dance); and, finally, do something about what we care most about (march for the cause).

Pretty cool, right? 🙂

Care Dance March 2019 cause

The very first goal of Care Dance March was to support a little girl named Ani. For about six years, her parents battle to preserve her eyesight. We have noticed Ani’s parents have started an online fundraiser, to finance a surgery in one of the clinics in Russia. We decided to help – as much as we can – in spreading the word, and in raising funds for the cause.

(To date of this writing, as far as we are aware, Ani’s parents are still raising funds. You can also join in, and help them out as much as you can. Thank you for your kindness)

Local participants and international guests

I cannot emphasize enough how important were all the participants and the guests of the manifestation. Not only that they helped in creating the program. Moreover, they have been very active in promoting the cause and attracting the audience.

In addition to all the dancers, I want to thank Estee White (Ести Уайт Фотография) for her relentless support. Photos that you see here are her work.  

(truly, this manifestation would not have been possible without any and all of you – I am eternally grateful)

Dancing Play

Dancing Play is a dance and theater group comprised by children. Art director and choreographer, Tzvetina Matova, said that Care Dance March was a good opportunity to demonstrate to children that art and dance aren’t limited only to aesthetics. Moreover, art can mobilize people around various goals.

Likewise, in Tzvetina’s view, it was a great experience to participate along international performers. You can see one of their performances here

Dancing Play performs Beauty and Soul at Care Dance March | Tribal Fusion Sofia

Kristina Veselinova

Kristina is a longtime dancing enthusiast. She has tried anything from classical ballet to break-dance. At only 8 she started with modern dance and classical ballet, and practiced it until she was 19. Later, she started with street dancing (mainly break) and contemporary dance. Kristina has participated in various domestic and international competitive events.

Enjoy Kristina’s solo performance here.

Funkalicious Crew

Funkalicious Crew is also a children dancing group. Under the guide of Nikolina Todorova, they experiment with various styles, with strong emphasis on hip hop and contemporary dance. Nikolina’s goal is to keep their mind open to various creative directions. As a result, children become better performers, and nurture creativity.

Watch their performance here.

Divinitas Crew

Divinitas Club gathers aficionados dance that involves light and fire. Their elite group, the “Divinitas Crew”, has vast domestic and international experience. At Care Dance March, Mariya Dabova and Lily Yotova presented their “Beautiful Lights”.

Cabaretto Dance Group

Cabaretto Dance Group came from Nis, Serbia to honor our event. Under the guide of Danica Nicic and Jelena (Lili) Mihajlovic, the group trains and performs vivid Cabaret acts.  A few words about the founders:

Danica Nicic

Danica has a wide knowledge of dance in general. She is practically dancing since she was 6. Danica works as an instructor of multiple dance styles (cabaret, oriental, salsa, bachata, kizomba, show dance).

She is also engaged in a play that’s on a regular repertoire in the National Theatre in Nis. Moreover, Danica has assisted the development of number of dance plays. Currently enrolled at the Faculty of sport in Nis, Danica has also acquired her license of a qualified dance judge.

Jelena (Lilly) Mihajlovic

Jelena has taken dancing seriously from a very young age. Her primary discipline is Latin and Ballroom dance, in which she competed actively for twelve years.

Nowadays, Jelena is highly regarded as a versatile dancer, with many competitions under her belt. Likewise, she choreographs and co-directs dance theater performances in the National Theater of Nis.

Finally, Jelena is an instructor, trainer, and choreographer in several disciplines (cabaret, modern ballet, hip-hop, Argentine tango), in a renown dance studio “Swing” in Nish.

She considers the art of dance to be her calling and passion. Jelena firmly believes in benefits, power and social importance of dance.

Shahira Dance

Shahira School of Dance is teaching oriental belly dance in Sofia. The school mixes belly dance with acting and suggestopedic elements. According to Katerina Borisova – the founder and leading instructor of “Shahira” – this helps dancers to relax. In turn, that boosts their creativity and lets the feminine side shine.

In addition to the classic egyptian style belly dance, “Shahira also offers more modern variations (e.g. dancing with fan veils). See Shahira’s performance here.

Gudie Mido (Berlin) was also one of our international guests. She is a Fusion Dancer who turned to dance in order to heal her back pain. Gudie claims that Tribal Fusion belly dance helped tremendously.

Urban and Hip Hop dance were Gudie’s interests since her teen age. Later, she has discovered (Tribal) Fusion Bellydance. Nowadays, Gudie mostly trains and enjoys Popping Style.

Over the last 8 years, Gudie has attended a number workshops, dance classesand intensives. Moreover, she has been teaching regular classes and workshops for over 3 years. Gudie has learned from renowned dancers of the ‘Tribal Fusion’ and Fusion Belly dance scene. As a solo dancer, she gained experience and exposure in Germany, EU and Mexico.

“Thank you Tribal Fusion Sofia, and thank you Sandra for inviting me to be a part of this amazing event. Personally, I love performing at charity events, because it gives a higher purpose to all that I (and we) do.”

Tribal Fusion Sofia

Likewise, our little group was also a part of this amazing dance company. We have been training and dancing in Sofia over two years (as of the date of this writing). You can read more about us and our story here.

Back in my Zeina days (Belly Dance School from Nis, Serbia), I have taken a part in a few dance charity events. It was the right time to continue doing so in Sofia as well.  

You can see our group performance here.

Sighreen performs Brutal Hearts at Care Dance Matrch | Tribal Fusion Sofia

Results, and future events

I was very happy to see the audience nearly filling out the venue. Likewise, I was very glad that both the audience and performers enjoyed a lot. Especially the children – they were observing their older stage colleagues with much curiosity and admiration. And we were admiring the children for their dedication and passion.

The event was cash-positive, and we have promptly transferred entire profit to Ani’s fundraising account. We are praying for her, and hope she manages through her moments of struggle.

Finally, this is our call to all fellow dancers to joins forces for future events and charities. If you would like to join us in Sofia, you can contact us via our website, or via [email protected].

For more news, make sure to follow our blog. Until the next time, stay well.

Tribally yours,

Sandra

Sofia Tribal Fest: Join the first Tribal Fusion Belly Dance fest in Sofia

Sofia Tribal Fest; Organized by Tribal Fusion Sofia; 16-18 October 2020 in Sofia, Bulgaria; Workshops with Kami Liddle, Amanda Pittoreska, Kenzi Orchidaceae and Eva Sampedro (register here)

After the successful first edition in 2019, we are now coming back to bring you some of the world’s renowned Tribal Fusion Belly Dance instructors! 

For the STF 2020 edition, we are more than happy to bring you fabulous Kami Liddle (US), Amanda Pittoreska (CH), Eva Sampedro (ES), and Kenzi Orchidaceae (PT).

This powerful and diverse lineup of teachers will teach you about sharp and sudden moves, locks, Krysalis combinations, the ABCs of the Datura Style™, how to control your energy flow, how to develop your inner musical ear, how to “play music” with your own body, and much more!

Here is a brief introduction of the Sofia Tribal Fest 2020 instructors:

Sofia Tribal Fest 2020 - Tribal Fusion Sofia

Kami Liddle - Bellydance Superstars Alumnus

Dancing and studying dance since she was 4 (ballet, tap, jazz, modern, hip hop), a musician, and a Bachelor (B.A.) in Art of the University of Nevada. Kami is also an alumnus of the Fat Chance Belly Dance, Bellydance Superstars (BDSS), and a former director of the BDSS’ “Tribal Superstars”.

After years of touring the Globe, in 2010 Kami started her collaboration with Zoe Jakes and Beats Antique. 2013 is another pivotal year for Kami, as she established and focused on her own Gold Star Dance Company.
(see Kami’s full bio in the STF20 registration form)

Amanda Pittoreska - a Swiss Tribal Fusion Bellydance pioneer

Over the past 13 years, Amanda has been studying and mixing Fusion Bellydance with Yoga, Pilates, and Fitness. Her passion for dance led her across the pond to the States, where she learned from the most esteemed names  – most notably – Rachel Brice (but also Kami Liddle, and many others).

Additionally, Amanda has a vast experience as both performer and instructor. In addition to many European appearances, she took the stage at Tribal Fest in California, the Massive Spectacular in Las Vegas, and the Theatrical Bellydance Conference NY.

Amanda is a certified 8 Elements Datura Style™ Teacher, POLESTAR® Pilates Trainer Mat, Dipl. Spiraldynamik® Specialist, and runs her own fusion dance studio Pittoreska in St. Gallen, Switzerland.

(see Amanda’s full bio in the STF20 registration form)

Sofia Tribal Fest 2020 - Amanda Pittoreska

Kenzi Orchidaceae - a Biologist with a passion for dance

Kenzi was a part of Orchidaceae (in one way or the other) since she was 11. Thankfully to Piny, she spent the majority of her life studying dance with renowned international artists. Popping, New Style, Contemporary and Breakdance floorwork have influenced Kenzi in various ways.

Still, Tribal Fusion is her base.

Kenzi has performed and taught solo and with Orchidaceae in Portugal and all over Europe, as well as in India, in various events and summer festivals. Additionally, she holds a Master’s degree in Biology (thesis: parrot vocalizations and behavior).

(see Kenzi’s full bio in the STF20 registration form)

Eva Sampedro - (Indian) Fusion Dance pioneer and the woman of strength

Eva is a woman of many interests and pursues them all with equal dedication. With over 17 years of teaching experience in Bellydance, Tribal Fusion, and Indian Tribal Fusion, she leads her studio in Zaragoza since 2005.

In addition to her international performances (across Europe, Asia, and Latin America), Eva also holds certificates as a Yoga teacher. 

Did I mention she loves running marathons? 

(see Eva’s full bio in the STF20 registration form)

Sofia Tribal Fest 2020 - Eva Sampedro

WORKSHOP SPOTS ARE LIMITED - SECURE YOUR SPOT TODAY!​

Click HERE to register

Looking forward to seeing you soon in sunny Sofia 🙂

Tribally yours,

Sandra

SOFIA TRIBAL FEST 2019

When I started out almost two years ago, I could have never imagined that I will have the honor to host two great Tribal Fusion Belly Dance teachers!

However, after many sleepless nights and struggle, I am very happy to announce our very first SOFIA TRIBAL FEST! Very excited to have Melli Sarina and Silvia Orchidaceae teaching in Sofia in the coming October.

Many dancers have great ambition and desire to improve their technique and style. And it is very important to learn from great mentors and teachers with lots of experience.

However, great teachers aren’t easy to find – especially in this part of the world, where the Tribal Fusion community is still very young.

This is exactly why we are organizing Sofia Tribal Fest. We want to bring Melli and Silvia, two outstanding Tribal Fusion teachers, closer to YOU.

(If you are a fellow dancer, a local tribal fusion teacher, or even just about to get into the charming world of Tribal Fusion Belly Dance – you will not want to miss this)

But first, let’s start with a few essentials about the event itself:-

Melli Sarina and Silvia Orchidaceae at Sofia Tribal Fest | Tribal Fusion Sofia

What is Sofia Tribal Fest?

Sofia Tribal Fest (2019) is the first Tribal Fusion Belly Dance festival in Bulgaria. With this event, our goal is to bring amazing Tribal Fusion dance teachers to the local community. Sharing knowledge is very important, especially for growing movements (like Tribal Fusion in Sofia).

During the Fest, Melli and Silvia will hold their workshops for all interested in Tribal Fusion belly dance. Additionally, we plan to host the Tribal Stage Night, where independent artists from Bulgaria and abroad can showcase their skills.

You can register your performance for the Tribal Stage Night here.

Finally, for all guests that come outside of Sofia, we will have a short tour of some key local sights.

Why Sofia needs its own Tribal Fest

As far as I know, Dominika Suchecka held one Tribal Fusion dance workshop during the oriental belly dance NUR Fest in 2018. My students and I have attended her workshop and were very happy to be a part.

(thank you Dominika – we have learned so much!)

And that is more the reason why we think Sofia tribal community deserves more such esteemed guests and more tribal themed events. If this community is to grow, Tribal Fusion can’t just be a small part of larger umbrella events. Tribal isn’t an afterthought – it is a superior form of belly dance and it should be treated as such.

Sofia Tribal Fest Teachers

Focusing on quality rather than quantity, we invited teachers with a solid foundation and lots of international experience. Melli and Silvia are just absolutely fabulous.

Silvia Orchidaceae

An amazing dancer and a great teacher. Her breathtaking technique will awake your rhythm and get you to move to the beat of the urban groove.

Silvia discovered the world of Oriental Dance by chance in 2007, when she was looking for something to break her work routine as an architect. Since then, it has been an increasingly intense and profound journey marked by several stages.

Silvia began her dance training in Lisbon. In addition to national training, she participated in several international workshops. Ultimately, Tribal Fusion Bellydance turned out to be her greatest passion. In this area, Silvia had the privilege to learn from Rachel Brice, Ashley Lopez, and Samantha Emanuel among others.

Her first oriental dance group was named Mahtab, and with the opening of Studio Mahtab (2010-2013), Silvia began teaching Oriental Dance and Tribal Fusion. She is also one of the sponsors of TribaLX, the only international Tribal Fusion Festival in Portugal, going on its 9th edition, always with participants from all over the world. She joined the group Orchidaceae Urban Tribal in 2013 led by Piny Orchidaceae.

Silvia has won the first place at the Tribal Fusion Competition of the Sommer Festival in Berlin. Shortly after, in 2014, she started giving regular Tribal Fusion classes at the Tanzakademie Cifuentes. She loves fusion dance styles, mostly with urban flair, and enjoys working with other dancers.

Most recently, Silvia worked with Yuri Ferretti (Germany, Italy); Lia Pavlidis (Germany); Haza (France), Iza Lo (Poland), Melli Sarina Baumeister (Germany) and Alice Bloom (Germany).

Currently, she is teaching regular classes at the “1st floor” studio in Berlin. For more details about Silvia, see www.orchidaceaeurbantribal.com

Melli Sarina

Melli comes from Augsburg, Germany, with a vast and diverse dancing and tutoring experience. She started in oriental dance. However, once she discovered tribal fusion belly dance she just fell in love with this style.

Melli’s specialty is the Liquid fusion dance technique, which many consider her signature. She frequently travels and holds workshops all over Europe.

Over the past 20 years, Melli Sarina performed different styles of oriental dance.

Once she decided to focus on tribal fusion belly dance, she attended the Tribal Massive professional track in Las Vegas twice already and successfully passed the Level 2 Dancecraft: Key of Spades education with Zoe Jakes in 2017.

Melli constantly improves her dance technique, precision skills, and regularly attends workshops and intensive dance and training sessions. She also runs and manages her dance studio in her hometown.

Sofia Tribal Fest Workshops

For the past couple of months, Melli, Silvia, and I have been preparing the programme for the first edition of Sofia Tribal Fest. As a result, you will find balanced workshops that focus on different aspects of your body, mind, and dance technique. As a whole, these workshops will help dancers of any style enrich their technique and skillset.

Whether you dance oriental belly dance, fusion dance, tribal fusion dance, or some other dance style – you will have lots to learn from both Melli and Silvia 🙂

WORKSHOPS 2019



“Between the Lines”


Silvia Orchidaceae



You will learn:

How to combine innovative hands and arm patterns with belly dance hip technique;

How to transition among poses by switching between strong and clean images, melting organically one to another.

“Explore the beauty of your body. We will work on body poses and lines while focusing on little details that make the big difference.”



’’Liquid Fusion Dance Technique’’

Melli Sarina



You will learn:

How to make liquid dance movements and transitions.


“In this intermediate level workshop, we will focus on special initiation points. You will test your flexibility, reach your limits, and go beyond. Finally, we will combine those (seemingly effortless) movements into a liquid dance sequence.”



“Loose Control”


Silvia Orchidaceae



You will learn:

How to combine groove from urban dances with belly dance isolations;

How to boost your dance style with newly discovered freedom and creativity.

“Here we will combine groove from urban dances with belly dance elements. Get ready to challenge your body and mind to layer not only different movements but also different qualities and energies at the same time.”



’’Tricky Combinations’’


Melli Sarina



You will learn:

How to create wonderful combos from Tribal Fusion and Fusion Belly Dance elements;

How to unleash your imagination, and create fluid transitions between different elements.

“In this intermediate level workshop, we will combine various body movements and different dance styles. As a result, we will create wonderful tribal fusion inspired combinations.”

WORKSHOP SPOTS ARE LIMITED - SECURE YOUR SPOT TODAY!


Click HERE to register

Looking forward to seeing you soon in sunny Sofia 🙂

Tribally yours,

Sandra