Hey everyone! Lulu here! Last weekend, I attended Tribal Summit for the third time, held in Silverton, CO, a charming, tiny mountaintop village (9,318 feet elevation), population 630! Some might wonder, why travel all the way from Washington State for Tribal Summit? What’s the big deal? Well, I’ve been to many belly dance festivals around the world, and it’s one of the most fun events I’ve had the good fortune of attending and well worth the trek! This year, around 50 dancers were in attendance at the workshops, and many performed at the gala show Saturday. It’s hosted by the talented and super organized beauty, Lisa Branner of Caldera Belly Dance, and this year the featured instructor was none other than Carolena Nericcio-Bohlman (the creator of ATS®) herself!
It started Wednesday afternoon with me flying from Pasco, WA to Colorado Springs, CO (which is about 6 hours from Silverton by car) where my homegirl Valerie Bravo Woodruff of Bravo Belly Dance picked me up at the airport with TACOS and horchata!!! She’s the best! The next day, we packed her car and loaded up her sweet 6-month-old baby, CK aka Pappas for his first road trip through western Colorado! Truly an adventure this year! He was a little trooper for his first long road trip! We had fabulous weather and caravanned with Jana and Debbie, two of Val’s badass dancers and all around marvelous chicas who have become dear friends. Little CK did awesome in the car, and we took plenty of breaks for diaper changes, feedings and enjoying the scenery and getting snacks along the way! I love leisurely road trips!
We rolled into Silverton Thursday evening just in time for a downpour that had little rivers rolling through the streets! We got settled into the cute little house we rented, which happened to be the hideout of Billy the Kid! Yee haw! One of Val’s other wonderful dancers, Kari, joined us Friday, so we had a fun house full of dancers for the weekend! We had plenty of time to relax before our rehearsal, and gear up for Carolena’s lecture on costuming (which was amazing) and the welcome party! I ended up drumming for some brilliant dancers the whole time, which was a test of my chops and stamina, but I made it! Most days it’s a toss-up between loving drumming or dancing, and this weekend I got to do a whole lot of both!!! Heaven!
The rest of the weekend was filled with workshops with Carolena, shopping (oh Lordisa the shopping…) and performing with 7 other ATS® Sister Studio dancers, where we danced a 13-minute set that was all improvised, no choreography! We had a 1 hour rehearsal to work through the flow of dancers and that was it! Since we all have been studying this format extensively, dancers who don’t regularly dance together were able to gather and present a full seamless set, was a true test of the magic of ATS®, and it passed with flying colors! Literally!! The colorful skirts are called banjara skirts, which originate in India; and full-on quintessential old-school ATS® headdresses, which is my absolute favorite costume element!
All in all, it was a truly blissful weekend, and I was amazed but not surprised at the superstar mama Valerie is to her little Pappas. And that she juggled getting into full costume, magnificent headdress and all, while attending to his every need. Tribal Summit 2018 features Wendy Allen, FCBD® Instructor Emeritus, and one of my all-time favorite dancers and people ever will be teaching at Summit! Already excited for next year!
If you live in the Tri-Cites, WA area, and are interested in learning more about how to get in on this colorful world of American Tribal Style® belly dance, and how YOU can learn the format that enables you to travel anywhere in the world and find others with whom to dance, have fun, and connect, see the Blue Amber classes page or contact Lulu for more information!
Photo/Video Credits (top to bottom): Laurie Lulu Martin, Asia Be ~ Just Dream, Caldera Belly Dance, Kari Espelien Bennett