American Tribal Style (ATS)

This is the original style, considered a dance invented in America, is not intended to recreate a particular culture, but to create an ideal that suggest female cooperation.

The dance is group and is based on improvisation and lead changes, but structure and strict rules are required to match the movement of several people. A dancer assumes the role of leader and carries coded signals to the rest of the dancers remain (choir). This creates a framework within which improvisation is limited to a small repertoire of very specific movements.

During the dance can be presented solos, duets, trios and quartets, and the choir is behind making simple movements to accompany the smaller group, that should get more attention. Dancers of the center following a main leader, and the ones at the back follow to another one, which is the choir leader. This gives visual harmony of the group and facilitates improvisation.

Carolena Nericcio created the Fat Chance Belly Dance, considered the first group of American tribal style ATS. The term fat chance says that the tribal dance is not intended to be sexy; in fact, comes from a joke of the dancers who didn't want to be seen as sexual objects. “Fat chance you can have a private show” means you never get me to do a private show.


The costumes are heterogeneous and mixing elements from different cultures. Baggy, voluminous skirts with long flght, usually dark design fabrics, heavy belts with fringes, pompoms, shells and all kinds of old or matte silver jewelry. Bras without sequins or glitter adorned with matte metal parts, and under the bra wear indian cholis (tighfitting backless blouses). Tattoos, henna, and dramatic makeup that enhances the sense of mystery or ethnicity unspecified.

Eliminate sexual component in a dance full of sensuality it´s possible thanks to a static and mysterious expression on the face, no provocative movements that stand out for their strength and virtuosity, and emphasize the cooperation among group members.