The Evolution From American Tribal Style(ATS) to Fat Chance Belly Dance Style (FCBD)


Founder and creator of the worldwide dance phenomenon known as FatChanceBellyDance®Style or FCBD®Style and guest in the Belly Dance Podcast Episode 058 Carolena Nericcio takes us to a quick journey about the recent evolution from the names American Tribal Style (ATS) to Fat Chance Belly Dance Style (FCBD).

Founder of FatChanceBellyDance Carolena NericcioAlicia: Tell us about the recent evolution from the names American Tribal Style(ATS) to Fat Chance Belly Dance Style (FCBD)

Carolena: Sure. That is a very recent evolution and we’d have to go back to the dawn of time, but I’ll make it a quick journey.

When I first started teaching, I just referred to what I was doing as “belly dance”. When I  brought the dance form out into the belly dance world, people asked, “What style is this?” And I was like, “It’s belly dance.” Because that’s all I’d ever called it.

All belly dance was belly dance.

And they said, “No, this is different.” And for quite a few years, the traditionalists, you know, Raqs Sharqi and cabaret people were really unhappy about my being on the scene because

The general public was assuming that what I was doing was traditional, and what they were doing was new. When in fact, it’s the reverse.

I could see why they had an issue with that. So I tried to play nice as much as I could. And I remember distinctly at a belly dance festival, Rakkasah West a dancer came up to me  we were in the dressing room and she said, “Morocco has decided that your style is called American Tribal Style.”

Alicia: Oh, it was from Morocco!

Carolena: And I said, “Okay, great. Now can I dance? Call it whatever you want.”

But I needed that title to come from the traditional community because I wanted to play nice. So it was called American Tribal Style.

And then people started to abbreviate to ATS. And then people started using “Tribal” as an umbrella.

So originally I was given that title American Tribal Style to single us out as something really specific, then it became a really general term.

And then all of these different “tribals” popped up. There was “Tribal-Ret” like Cabaret Tribal Style and Gothic Tribal. And I was like, but those are not tribal.

Those are their own thing. All of a sudden it started to get really muddy. And I tried to make it clear to people that

Tribal is not the name for experimental. It actually defines this style.

But it had already gone so far to field that I decided to take back ATS and American Tribal Style.

So tribal could be whatever you’re doing. It’s all good. I want everyone to dance and have a good time. But I want our style to remain distinct. So eventually I was encouraged to put a registered trademark on it, which sort of solidified the community. We had to really be doing ATS to use the registered trademark.