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)

Tribal Fusion Sofia blog - 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 (STF 2020) ARE LIMITED - SECURE YOUR SPOT TODAY!


Click HERE to register

Tribal Fusion Sofia: Hello world! (how & why I started)

Tribal Fusion Sofia group (Бели Денс в София, България)

Hello, my dear, and welcome to my first post on Tribal Fusion Sofia Blog!

I am very happy to “see” you here and am very excited to have a chance to tell you our story. It is about how a group of enthusiastic and dedicated girls started a grassroot Tribal Fusion Belly Dance community in Sofia.

But, before getting there:-

I have to admit that, at first, I was a bit undecided about what this first post should be about. I have never written before! :). After some thought, I feel it may be a good idea to set the stage (no pun intended).

So, for starters, (so that you can get to know us a bit), I will tell you something about Tribal Fusion and American Tribal Style Belly Dance. Following that, you will find out about how and why I fell in deep love with Tribal Style dancing. Finally, I will share with you what we have done in Sofia over the past few years.

What is Tribal Fusion and American Style Belly Dance?

American Tribal Style ® (or ATS, for short) is a group-improvised dance. In ATS, a leader cues the next moves by certain hand or head movements. The cues are known by everyone in the group, so they “improvise” simply by watching the leader for cues. This format usually involves rotation, so that dancers change places in the formation. That way everyone gets to lead the group improvisation at some point.

ATS borrows from various folklore traditions, in addition to belly dance, and Spanish dancing. The idea is that dancers from different countries, dance and cultural backgrounds, can join together and dance, by following common cues. They don’t even need to speak the same language, they can still dance beautifully together, as the ATS cues are well-recognized across the globe. In American Tribal Style ®, cues are the language, and dance is the platform to feel the joy of companionship. Astonishing, isn’t it?

(you will have a chance to read more about ATS in some of following posts)

Tribal Fusion, on the other hand, is a Western style of belly dance that fuses different dance styles. It draws on ATS and belly dance as its core pillars, yet often incorporates Middle Eastern, Indian, African, Andalusian and Flamenco dance styles, even adding contemporary dance into the mix.

Although Tribal Fusion recognises traditional belly dance as one of its founding mothers, it differs a lot from oriental belly dance. One very recognisable difference is in the music used, for choreographies and performances. Belly dance often takes oriental music as its base. Tribal Fusion relies much more on western, contemporary music ( jazz, dubstep, electro, etc.). More on that in follow-up posts.

Teambuilding in Nis Fortress _ Tribal Fusion Sofia

Who am I and why do I love Tribal Style Belly Dance?

I come from Serbia, and have lived in Sofia for the past six years. Earlier, I graduated in Law, and worked in the public sector. Nowadays (ever since I discovered Tribal Fusion), I am a dancer, choreographer, instructor (and also a student!) of tribal dance and related styles. I live with my significant other and two toddlers.

Oriental Belly Dance classes were my first contact with belly dance. Tamara, my oriental belly dance instructor, introduced us to Tribal Style dance in 2010. She suggested us to watch videos of Rachel Brice. As soon as I watched those, I just knew Tribal Fusion was THE belly dance style that I want to pursue.

It was as if I have discovered my next calling. Absolutely love at first sight!

Hence, in 2011, I began my Tribal Fusion Belly Dance pilgrimage throughout Europe. I attended various workshops, trying to soak up as much as I could about it.

To date of this writing, I have learned from following Tribal Fusion instructors:

Rachel Brice (United States), Mardi Love (United States), Susan Frankovich (United States), Mira Betz (United States), Melli Sarina (Germany) Piny, Leo, and Silvia of Orhidaceae (Portugal), Manca Pavli (Slovenia), Olga Meos (Kazakhstan), Michelle Sorensen (United States), Doro Altenburger and Michaela Mab Hamajova of Nakari (Austria), Mat Jacob (Spain), Violet Scrap (Italy), Dud Muurmand (Denmark), Dominika Suchecka (Poland), Agata Zakrzewska (Poland).

In 2012, I met my great friend (and mentor) Nela Kalodjera (aka Nela Tribalica). She has shaped my dance style, and really helped with my learning.

(Nela, if you are reading this – I could have not made it without you and I owe you a  great debt of gratitude).

Nela is one of the Tribal Fusion Belly Dance pioneers in the Balkans. She has been practising, teaching, and choreographing Tribal Dance, since 2005. Nela has organised many Tribal Fusion events in Belgrade and hosted Tribal Fusion instructors from across the globe. Nowadays, Nela is a full time yoga instructor, while still dancing ATS (which is her great passion).

In short – Nela is my mentor, my teacher and a great friend.

What is Tribal Fusion Sofia and why did I start it?

In 2013, I moved with my family to Sofia, and became a mother to a cute little girl who means the world to me (we named her Sofia, as both parenthood and moving to another country meant a new life chapter for both my husband and me). Two years later, I became a mother of a boy, whom we named Martin.

With Sofia and Martin around, I have dedicated my next few years to my children, and to Tribal Fusion. I have found inspiration and strength in both. My children drive me to push through when the going gets tough. Tribal Fusion is what I love, and it inspires me to seek perfection, and express myself in a way that only dance can achieve.

So, naturally, I turned to Sofia (the city, not my daughter 🙂 ), trying to find a local Tribal Fusion dance company. I have been practising online with Nela, yet wanted to dance as part of a group. The only problem – I wasn’t able to find a group in Sofia that would practice Tribal Fusion.

And this is what I have decided to change 🙂

Our journey, vision, and where we go next

“Sofia deserves to learn about Tribal Fusion, ATS, and their culture” I thought. Hence, I set myself a goal to start a local Tribal Fusion Belly Dance school. It was, and still is, my mission – to spread passion and love for these dance styles. In 2017, I opened Tribal Fusion Sofia. It is a place for everyone who wants to experience the power of tribal moves, music and culture. A few energetic and enthusiastic girls joined me at the very beginning, and together we started our first classes in the fall.

Sofia Tribal Fusion Nights

Already, by early 2018, we had organised Sofia Tribal Fusion Nights. With this event, our goal was two-fold:- 1) to show what Tribal Fusion is about and what we do and 2) to demonstrate that, with a few months of focused work, a beginners’ group can be stage-ready.

Our first public performance

I was very proud of my girls that evening. Clearly, the group had a long way to go in terms of technique, strength and power. But, starting from zero and getting to their first performance was not a small milestone, and it worked wonders for their individual and group confidence.

(It was right there that I learned that one of the best ways to help beginners advance rapidly was to put them through their first performance…)

Likewise, I was happy to have other great artists join and support Sofia Tribal Fusion Nights with their skills and passion. The list of performers included Maria Rodriguez, a yoga and tai-chi instructor and dancer; Fire and Light club Divinitas (they literally fired-up the stage); and the band Eriney, performing some of their best tunes, in between dance performances.

(Once again big thanks to all participants at our first Sofia Tribal Fusion Nights. You have all done amazing work and the evening wouldn’t have been the same without you. Looking forward to our next gig!)

Tribal Hafla Festival in Warsaw

A few months later, in mid 2018, I attended Warsaw Tribal Fusion Fest. During the workshops I had a great opportunity to meet and learn from renowned Tribal Fusion instructors. Manca Pavli, Mira Betz and Melli Sarina are among the best, and they shared their best tips without hesitation.

International workshops are always a great opportunity to learn something new and interact with amazing people, skilled dancers, and great teachers. I decided to invite those teachers to Sofia, from time to time, to enrich our local teaching programme.

Local and international guest teachers

Therefore, Tribal Fusion Sofia will invite guest teachers. These teachers come from the locale, or from abroad, and all will bring different dance styles and skills to our Tribal Fusion group. I learned, early in my dance career, that diversity is key, so I always keep my eyes open for new dance trends and try to convey the same message to my students.

In 2018, we opened Tribal Fusion Sofia guest lectures with Katerina Borisova. Katerina is an oriental belly dance instructor from the “Shahira” school of dance: she has taught us about her Fan Veil techniques. We were charmed by her energy and will certainly invite her again.

A few weeks later, Nadia Peeva, from Sofia, gave us a classic ballet lesson. I believe every dancer should have at least a basic understanding of classical ballet, as it is often a core foundation for other dance styles.

We finished last year’s’ guest lecturer season with Maria Rodriguez from Brazil, who taught us about Flamenco, the beauty of its costumes, and the energy that radiates from Flamenco dancers.

In 2019, we began our international line-up with the renowned Gudie Mido, from Berlin. Gudie taught our Tribal Fusion group about her belly dance fusion technique, with a blend of Popping. She is at the top notch of her field, and we were both blessed and happy to have her.

The day after Gudie’s workshops, we had a chance to practice Classical Cabaret-style, with Lily and Danica, our great friends from Nish, Serbia. It was a challenging, but very useful workshop, filled by many jazz and Latin dance elements.

(Stay tuned for other guest teachers throughout 2019…)

Other Fest participations

Last year in April, Tribal Fusion Sofia’s performance group, known as “Sighreen”, took part in the Sofia NUR Fest, presenting one of our latest choreographies. We have also attended a Tribal Fusion workshop, led by Dominika Suchecka.

Later in 2018, our group had two field trips to Nis (my hometown). In June, we held a few dance classes there, in the open air, as well as a group photo session in the fortress. During our second trip to Nis, in July, we attended a Tribal Fusion class, with Grazia Manetti (from Italy) and Bollywood dance workshops, with Pili Rubi (Argentina). We also performed at the Nis RAKS Fest’s Open Stage and Gala Show events.

Overall, we finished the dance season with five completed choreographies, three group costumes, and five stage performances (in Sofia, Nis and Warsaw).

Care Dance March Fundraiser

Recently, on the 2nd of March, 2019, we organized, co-hosted, and did the finale at the very first edition of Care Dance March. Care Dance March (CDM) is a non-profit charitable dance project that we plan to turn into a regular event. CDM gathers dancers of various styles, to raise funds for those in need, while presenting the beauty of dance.

The first Care Dance March edition involved performers of Tribal Fusion, contemporary, cabaret, Popping, and Fusion Dance styles. More importantly, it fulfilled its fundraising goal, and all the profits went to help a little girl preserve her eyesight.

(Care Dance March was a small step in fighting for this cause. However, we have helped at least a bit, both by raising awareness and by contributing the Care Dance March proceeds…)  

We plan to keep on growing the Care Dance March movement, as we firmly believe in the pay-it-forward culture. We will play our part, and help where we can.

Sighreen at Care Dance March 2019 in Sofia | Tribal Fusion Sofia

Sofia Tribal Fest

And now a look to the future:-

In October 2019, we are organizing the very first Sofia Tribal Fest. In line with my goal of bringing amazing international teachers to Sofia, I have invited the fabulous Silvia Orchidaceae and Melli Sarina to hold some detailed dance workshops. It is not often that such Tribal Fusion superstars are in Sofia, soI am very excited and looking forward to hosting them. In addition, we will have a gala evening as well (details to follow).

We have limited attendee slots at the workshops, so make sure to follow our Facebook Page, our Instagram profile, and subscribe to this blog. That way you will be among the first to learn details and secure your spot at the workshops.

Why I decided to start Tribal Fusion Sofia blog

As you can see, we have had a very eventful year, and plan on keeping up the pace. Through my work with various instructors and students, I realised how great it feels to share knowledge, interests, and the passion of (tribal fusion) dance.

I have always wanted to gather a group of enthusiastic, like-minded people, and to enjoy choreographing and dancing together. The very thought of passing on everything I know (and everything that I learn) excites me, and fulfils my purpose.

And that is what I have already started to accomplish with Tribal Fusion Sofia. But then it dawned on me – sharing doesn’t have to end in our dance studio!

This blog is designed to play a part. In this blog, you will read about Tribal Fusion belly dance, American Style dance, costumes, and music that are part of this culture.

Finally, it will be my pleasure to use this blog to connect with my colleagues, dancers from all over the globe. I will be delighted to show that Tribal Fusion is growing and developing in Sofia and the whole of Bulgaria too.

Until the next time, stay well, and dance with passion!

Tribally yours,

Sandra