If you've been wondering:
What is Americal Tribal Style « ?
What is ATS «?
Who are Fat Chance Belly Dance??
Who are FCBD «?

Then you've come to the right page for answers.

Alternatively if you interested in reading up on Tribal Fusion Style Dance.
You're looking for our Tribal Fusion information page.


In the 1980's this style of dance was formed by Carolena Nericcio in San Franscisco. Carolena refined a montage of different "tribal" elements into what became termed as American Tribal Style « bellydance and the troupe name Fat Chance Belly Dance « developed to represent what was going to unknowingly later become a global phenomena.

ATS « is the inspiration from which Tribal Fusion was born. There are also many improvised tribal style (ITS) troupes which later formed with a separate set of vocabulary. Examples are Unmata, Gypsy Caravan, Black Sheep Belly Dance.

The concept is simply:
  • Fast music uses a vocabulary of fast movements/combos
  • Slow music uses a vocabulary of slow movements/combos.
  • Dancer formations occur in numbers of 2,3, 4's
  • Leader to the front left, followers behind to the right.
  • Leadership changes dynamically thorughout a song/set
  • Performers play finger cymbals / zills whilst dancing
  • It requires patience and dedication to learn the vocabulary, endless rewards :)
  • Basic performance costuming: zills, pantaloons, large skirt, choli top and/or coin bra

What is a Sister Studio?

Sister Studio Status upholds a global ideal of community, respect and instruction quality so that students can expect to receive standardized tuition no matter which ATS class they may visit worldwide.
Sister Studios/Teachers do not blend ATS with other styles of dance, tribal or otherwise. They present ATS only, or clearly separate ATS from the other styles of dance they are presenting.
There are currently 3 FCBD ATS sister studios in the whole of South Africa so this is an exciting time for ATS and South Africa.

Soma's ATS 'department'

ATS « is taught by Nix (see class timetable).
Over 2009 - 2013, Nix has had ongoing training in both Classic and Modern ATS with Fat Chance Bellydance (FCBD, San Francisco), Megha Gavin of Deyvani Dance Company, Phillipa & Jesse of Moirai and Devi Mamak of Australia. Please see the youtube playlist above for examples of all these stunning dancers

Nix is a member of a dance duet troupe collaboration Ter'zÝm UK/SA, (Pronounced: Teh-zeem) and
has attained FCBD ATS Teacher Training I & II certifications and Sister Studio Status.

She began regular training (2007) & teacher apprenticeship (2009-2011) with her Belgian teacher & mentor Hilde Cannoodt in the UK before returning to Cape Town permanently in 2011.

Soma is building up ATS in Cape Town

  • We're collaborating with other schools to grow a community of dancers who'd like to learn, share and dance ATS together outside of their dance school socially.
  • Nix is currently running ATS refresher courses other belly dance schools in Cape Town so that more people can join in these ATS dance sessions, please contact us on nix@soma.co.za / 081 725 3959
  • if you'd like more info on various options of ATS which we can run at your own dance school.
  • Currently aimed at being a quarterly event, Soma is organising group ATS dance sessions where anyone of any ATS level can dance together for an afternoon to practise their ATS skills. There simply isn't enough time in a classroom to master this art form. The next scheduled ATS dance afternoon is:
    See Facebook for our up to date list of events