Tribal Basics, Volume 4:
Advanced Workshop

A Video Review By Shira

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Bellydancing Bellydance Bellydancers


Overall Rating: StarStarStarStar (on a scale of 1 to 5 stars)

Carolena Nericcio, director of FatChanceBellyDance, teaches assorted intermediate-level step combinations used as the basis for American Tribal Style (ATS) belly dance. Carolena is the originator of this particular dance style.


Bellydancing Bellydance Bellydancers

What Users Think

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The Chart

Recommended Level Intermediate
Formats Available NTSC on DVD (VHS tape in NTSC and PAL available by special order with longer lead times)
Overall Rating StarStarStarStar
Production Quality StarStarStar
Content Value StarStarStarStar
Packaging StarStarStar
Total Video Length 72:32 minutes
Performance Time 3:02 minutes (4%)
Teaching Time 66:22 minutes (92%)
Amount Of "Other" 3:08 minutes (4%)
Choreography No
Cultural Information No
Music Education No
Health Issues Yes
Number Of Models 1
List Price $35.00
Cost Per Minute Of Teaching & Performing Time 50 cents per minute
Cost For "Other" $1.51

Bellydancing Bellydance Bellydancers


Carolena Nericcio, the director of FatChanceBellydance and founder of the belly dance style known as American Tribal Style (ATS) teaches a series of moves suitable for use in this style. This video is intended to serve as a sequel to Carolena's earlier video, Tribal Basics, Volume 1: Dance Fundamentals. Carolena recommends, and I agree, that people master the earlier video first before beginning to work with this one. The moves that she includes on this Volume 4 include some simple ones such as head slides, as well as several more complex ones.

Carolena's format for teaching each move is well designed. Each move's instruction begins with a clip from a performance showing the move being done in full costume. Next Carolena carefully explains in detail how to do it. Her descriptions are clear and easy to follow. I am particularly impressed with how well she explains abdominal flutters, a move many other teachers explain poorly. When appropriate, she offers pointers on how to do the move properly to avoid injury. After the detailed explanation, she leads several practice repetitions at a slow, easy-to-follow speed, then leads additional repetitions at a faster speed.

When Carolena is explaining the move and leading the practice sessions, the camera is positioned behind her, showing her from the back and also showing her reflection in the studio mirror. This allows the viewer to see her from both front and back simultaneously.

My primary criticism of this video is that several of the moves Carolena teaches such as choochoo variations are done on only the right side. She doesn't ask the viewer to reverse sides and do them on the left. It makes sense when using the move within the context of FatChance's particular group improvisation format, but for learning purposes I would urge anyone using this video to work both sides equally, learning and practicing the move equally on both right and left to avoid muscle imbalance.

The influence of Jamila Salimpour's naming conventions for moves comes across strongly in this video. (Carolena's teacher, Masha Archer, had studied from Jamila.) Several moves, including the choo choo variations, Arabic variations, and Egyptian with half turn will be at least somewhat familiar to someone who has studied under either Jamila or a teacher she has trained.

Some of the moves on this video are very athletic, and may not be suitable for someone with a history of problems in the knees or back. For example, the camel walk requires deep knee bends, and the deep body wave involves a backbend. If you have knee or back issues and decide to use this video, listen carefully to Carolena's pointers on how to do the move correctly, use judgment in working within your body's limitations, and if necessary consult your doctor or physical therapist.

There is no instruction in using cues to signal transitions for the moves taught.

For the instructional segments, Carolena wears a simple black long-sleeved choli, pair of leggings, and hip scarf. It contrasts well with the light-colored walls of the studio, and it's easy to discern her body against the background. All instruction is done via voiceover. Carolena's on-screen personality is that of detachment and concentration. Occasionally, as a move causes her to turn and face the camera, she smiles briefly, then returns to her intent expression.

The production quality is no-frills but good enough. The lighting in the studio is flat, but quite sufficient to see everything I want to see. It's always easy to hear what Carolena is saying. The camera work usually shows what it should, except that periodically either Carolena or her reflection wanders off-screen for a few moments. Each move is introduced by a title slide, which makes it easy to fast forward or rewind to cue the tape to the desired segment. The set is a dance studio with very plain walls, free of distractions.

You Will Probably Like This Video If

  • You are an intermediate level dancer.
  • You are interested in learning some new step combinations.
  • You want to learn some techniques typical of American Tribal Style belly dance.

You Probably Won't Care for This Video If

  • You prefer only Egyptian style of belly dance.
  • You have no previous experience with belly dancing at all.

Bellydancing Bellydance Bellydancers

What I Liked, What I Didn't

What I Liked

  • Carolena teaches a variety of step combinations.
  • The explanations for doing moves are clear and detailed.
  • Carolena's teaching methodology of showing performance, then explaining, then leading slow practice, then fast is effective.
  • The video is filmed in a mirror to show moves from two angles at once.
  • There is sufficient lighting, and the sound is easy to hear.
  • Carolena offers tips on form to avoid injury.

What I Didn't Like

  • Several of the moves are one-sided, on the right.

Bellydancing Bellydance Bellydancers

Movements Included

  • Hip Articulations: 4 moves (Turkish shimmy, forward forward drop drop drop, choo choo singles, choo choo doubles, choo choo arc)
  • Hip Fluid Moves: 1 move (Reverse taxeem)
  • Traveling Steps, Spins, and Turns: 8 moves (Basic Egyptian with half turn, reach and sit, camel walk, circle step, propeller, corkscrew, Arabic 1-2-3, Arabic hip twist)
  • Full-Body Moves: 2 moves (Deep body wave, torso twist)
  • Stomach Moves: 1 move (Flutter)
  • Arms & Shoulders: 2 moves (Hand floreo, shoulder shimmy)
  • Head: 1 move (Head slide)

Bellydancing Bellydance Bellydancers

Reviews of Other Videos by this Artist/Instructor

If you'd like to read my reviews of other videos by Carolena Nericcio of FatChanceBellyDance, choose from the list below:

The following are opinion polls only for other videos by Carolena:

Bellydancing Bellydance Bellydancers

In Conclusion

Whether you're studying American Tribal Style of belly dance or just wanting to learn some new step combinations to add to your own style of belly dancing, you might enjoy this video though I wouldn't recommend it for Egyptian style studies. Although some of the moves are simple, others are more complex and rather interesting. It assumes prior knowledge of the moves taught on volume 1 in Carolena's series, and I would recommend mastering that video before working with this one.

Bellydancing Bellydance Bellydancers


I have had some professional dealings with Carolena, but we have never had the opportunity to truly get acquainted. I respect her highly for her innovation in creating the American Tribal Style variation of belly dancing and her astute marketing skills which fostered the phenomenal popularity of this style. She sent me a complimentary copy of this video to review.

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Contacting The Producer & Ordering The Video

Contact Carolena as follows:

P.O. Box 460594
San Francisco, CA 94146

Phone (+1) (415) 431-4322

Bellydancing Bellydance Bellydancers

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