How I Found TribO…
I started belly dancing in February of 2009 in Bryson City, North Carolina with a wonderful gal named Laura. Laura was originally from Colorado and learned the dance from a friend whose Turkish grandmother taught her. I, like most of us, immediately fell in love and felt a burning desire to learn as much as I possibly could in a short amount of time. I was hungry for information, hungry for movements, and especially hungry for this amazing and supportive community I had been told about. This drove me to search for additional classes in the area.
As you can imagine, Western NC was bereft of belly dancing classes at the time. I found out from another dancer in class that there was an amazing belly dance teacher in Asheville, NC. The classes took place on Thursday nights for two hours. It was an hour and 15 minute drive one way, but well worth it. I soaked up every little iota of information and shyly wished for more.
One day, that wonderful teacher produced some postcards for a belly dance camp that she ran, TribOrigional. I was enamored. By nature, I’m a very shy and introverted person. This was way out of my comfort zone, but FOMO took over. I saved my pennies and agreed to volunteer lots of hours to help offset the costs. I packed half my wardrobe, since I had no idea what I would need at a “bellydance camp”. The morning arrived and I headed off.
I Arrived at The Camp and…
It was magical. The food was amazing (thanks, Oso!!). The teachers were warm, friendly, and knowledgeable, the camp was gorgeous, the live music was enthralling and we danced into the wee hours of the night, I spend WAY too much at the vendors. The attendees were open and I made friends easily. No one was elevated above another, we were just a group of people having a wonderful time together. I couldn’t have dreamed up a more perfect environment. My fears were totally unwarranted! I had found my safe space.
I continued to go for the next few years and help out with the festival in any way I could. I met some of my favorite people there. The quality workshops was second to none. My first year, I leaved veil with Majda Anwar and sword from Mavi Clay. I studied with Jill Parker and Amel Tatsouf. I had direct access to individuals with incredible information pertaining to the history of our dance and styles. I learned how to create costuming, how to do makeup, how to spin fire, how to sing classic Balkan songs. I learned about myself.
After years of dormancy, TribOrigional is coming back! We’ll (yes, I’m going) be in the forest of Charlottesville, VA September 28-30 making music, finding and re-affirming friendships, learning from a myriad of expert instructors, and dancing into the wee hours of the morning. Will you join me?