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About Nancy

 
I began taking belly dance lessons in 2004, on the advice of a therapist. I was 54 years old and had no prior dance training. I had spent most of my adult life in academia, first earning a Ph.D. in philosophy at Claremont Graduate University and then working as a freelance copy editor for university presses for 18 years. Whether despite these circumstances or because of them, belly dance captivated me instantly. I'd never known I could move like that. I'd never known I could make feminine art with my body.
 
My first belly dance teacher was Shahira (Shannon Griffiths), an accomplished performer who offered classes at a community center in my town of Claremont. Those initial lessons were in American cabaret style, as I realized eventually (who knew there were multiple forms of belly dance?). At the urging of fellow students, I started to take classes in American Tribal Style® (ATS®) belly dance in January 2005. I quickly became obsessed with it. ATS® is an artistic miracle. Its movement blends sensuality with elegant stateliness. Its costuming blends extravagant tribal finery with modest coverage. For me, American Tribal Style® belly dance is the ultimate expression of strong, dignified femininity. It was developed by an artistic genius named Carolena Nericcio, director of FatChanceBellyDance® (FCBD®), in San Francisco, California.
 
My first ATS® teacher was Kristin Ohman, whose classes I took for over 4 years. For the last two of those years I performed in her advanced/professional troupe, The Blue Stars of Tanit, at belly dance festivals, restaurants, and other venues. I then studied with Tribal Sooz and performed in her troupe Azuluna for a little over a year. Both of these ladies are teacher certified by Ms. Nericcio and have FCBD® Sister Studio status. Next I took classes in Los Angeles with former FCBD® troupe member Soy Pak, from October 2009 until February 2011, when she moved back to the Bay Area. Since then, I've studied with ATS® certified teacher Politti Ashcraft, in Highland and Riverside, CA. In Highland, Politti hosted Carolena Nericcio's certification intensives for several years.
 
In addition to regular classes with my SoCal teachers, I’ve seized every opportunity to study with Carolena Nericcio and the members of her troupe, FatChanceBellyDance®. I've taken many, many of their workshops at belly dance events in the Western states since 2005; Tribal Pura, Carolena's intensive co-taught with her business partner Megha Gavin, in Santa Fe, NM, in 2006; Carolena's ATS® general skills certification intensives in Highland, CA,  in 2007, 2009, and 2010; her ATS® teacher training certification intensive in Highland in 2009 and in San Francisco in 2010 (the latter I only audited); and her teacher training 2 intensive in San Francisco in 2010. In addition, I take classes at the FatChanceBellyDance® studio in San Francisco several times per year.




Carolena granted me Sister Studio status in September 2009. I began teaching American Tribal Style® belly dance a few weeks later in my home studio, Sunroom Belly Dance, in Claremont, CA, and have been teaching ever since. In January 2013 I moved most of my classes to Tribal Beats Studio, in Upland, CA. I love teaching and find that it contributes enormously to my growth as a dancer and as a human being. I think I most love teaching level 1, the introductory level. Here I get to witness the amazing psychological transformation that this dance can bring about in ordinary women -- young and old, fat and thin, outgoing and painfully shy. To help them discover their own beauty, power, and grace. To show them how the lifting of the chest and pulling back of the elbow can create a quietly gorgeous line and shape, a moving sculpture, of their own bodies.