February 23-25, 2018

Class Descriptions

Classes with Donna Mejia:

Keynote Lecture:

The Cultural Applications of Dance (Digging into Dance Anthropology)

This lecture and discussion examines the ways in which dance signifies, reinforces, subverts, challenges and transfers the norms, values, stories and ideals of a given culture.  For our purposes, we will define “culture” as a categorical display of customs, attire, language, norms and values signifying membership of a defined and recognizable group.  Hence, we will study cultures grouped by nationality, geographic proximity, ethnicity and self-selected membership (sub-cultures within nationalities).  Through film and discussions we will survey critical ethnographic practices, always attending to our assumptions, positionality and agency during evaluation.   This lecture includes introductory exposure (primarily through films) to a range of dance traditions found throughout the globe: classical and contemporary, urban and rural, secular and transcendental, performance-based and therapeutically oriented.


How important is your core alignment and musculature to your dancing? It is unequivocally and absolutely critical to an intelligent and coherent approach to any movement in any genre of dance. Donna Mejia has managed to maintain an active dance practice through multiple abdominal surgeries, pregnancy and more... all through a focus on core abdominal strength. In this workshop, Donna offers an array of exercises and practices intended to raise the intelligence of your lower back/lumbar region and abdominal wall. Please note that we will be utilizing a yoga mat for these investigations. Donna will illustrate how to use other common household items to further your training anywhere, regardless of whether or not you have access to a gym or dance studio. The integration of breath is the final "Jedi training" clincher to these transformative practices. Our goal is not a flat stomach; it is a formidably strong core that will support your grandest and most virtuosic possibilities. The good news is that this training has beneficial applications beyond your dance practice, so please bring a yoga mat, a notebook, your questions... and let’s dig in deeply!

Movement Invention in Hip & Torso Work:

After drilling foundation hip work and shimmies, we will plunge deeply into learning a variety of pelvic and torso articulations born from Donna’s adventurous imagination: wave-drops, whip-lash body undulations, quaking circles, black-ice slides, spiraling undulations, elastic vine drops, rebounding figure 8’s, and many more concoctions. This workshop is most beneficial for dancers with a confident and well-practiced foundation in hip work already. Please bring a yoga mat for warm-up.

Club Donna:

Set your alarm and come ready to move to thick, pulverizing, chunky beats from international electronic and hip hop music from the underground Arab, Persian, Turkish, Parisian, North African and American communities. Donna’s nonstop class is designed to transport you to new heights while in the company of the moon... you will forget that old bed was ever waiting for you! Be prepared for ballistic beats and spirited movement. Bare feet and athletic clothing will work best. Public Notice: This class will feature the best underground funk, international hip hop and electronica in the known universe. You have been warned.

Open Format:

After a thorough and refining warm-up, Donna will offer detailed coaching for the purpose shifting your physical capacities to new dimensions. Common pitfalls and not-so-masterful dance moments are the most potent opportunities to grow as dancers. This workshop is for movers who love to dig into their perceived “weak links” with curiosity and humor... tinkering with possibilities until solutions become apparent. Donna has been coaching professional collegiate dancers for 17 years, and possesses a remarkable library of somatic knowledge for this kind of problem solving. In this workshop, Donna has requested the freedom to asses the needs of the participants and offer an open-format class pulling on all varieties of her international dance research. This is your perfect opportunity to experiment with new movement capacities and choices. The primary objective of this course is to enable new physical capacity in a safe and intelligent way. Increased stamina, speed, variation and complexity will be the focus, and foundation bellydance/tribal fusion vocabulary will not be covered. For that reason, this workshop is best suited for experienced dancers who wish to refresh their personal practice with new challenge. Special training topics such as acrobalance, improvisation, musicality, inversions, floorwork, partnering, turning technique, are all on the table for your consumption, and Donna is ready to take your special requests on the fly! Please bring a yoga mat.

Broken Glass on the Path:

Developing a Movement Practice When Impacted or Compromised
Requirements: folding chairs, yoga mats, tennis balls, a belt or strap, a towel

Injury, discomfort, chronic illness and physical compromise do not have to “bench” dancers from practicing. This workshop welcomes dancers who have experienced some level of neurological, chemical, cognitive or physical impact interfering with their dance aspirations. We will have a surprisingly vigorous, whole body Tribal Fusion practice from a chair, learning to identify safe ranges of motion and support bodily regions that may not have full capacity. The idea is not to grieve what is impacted, but to ignite curiosity for what we can feel, because there are inevitable gifts to be harvested from any kind of movement.

Whether you identify yourself as an enthusiast, recreationalist, or professional, pursuing somatic ease and growth doesn’t have to wait for the “ideal” body to arrive. Let’s get to work with what we have going for us right now.

REQUIRED: A sense of adventure complimented in equal parts by a sense of humor. Please bring your questions and notebooks.

Classes with Piny Orchidaceae:

Vogue Fusion Belly Dance:

Tribal Fusion Belly Dance + Vogue.
Vogue is a very interesting and complex culture and dance style. It has its roots in the underground gay community and now its spread all over the dance world. Runway, lines, arms and hands performance, we will try to understand the foundations and how to work them to fuse it. The connection will be incredible.

Games to Drill, Tools to Create:

Tribal Fusion Belly Dance + all different dance styles needed for the construction of movement. This workshop it’s a challenge game, challenging the dancer at all levels, technique, creativity, improvisation and creating choreography. The method is based in Orchidaceae work as a company, going further in our body understanding and layering skills, as a soloist or member of a group. The vocabulary used is extensive and requires an open mind and capacity to answer to challenges. It’s a grow process giving tools for a lifetime practice.

The Magic of Slow Movements:

Slow can be easy for some people, difficult for others. We will explore this dimension of speed, of time, work with different qualities inside it, explore movement and specific vocabulary. We will explore not only the visible, the physical qualities of but also the inner sensations.

The Groove & The Elegance:

We will work on different ways to groove, to understand this natural motion of the body with different types of music. The coolness and easiness. We will add or explore with it what is this thing of moving elegantly, and how both things connect.

Movement Qualities and Intentions:

Deep research. How to change our bodies mass, density, fluidity, strength? How to give different intentions, different qualities and aspects? Feeling from inside and applying different techniques to find that we are not just one type of body, but several. We can go liquid, we can pop, we can wave, we can melt, we can be harder than a rock. Everything to speak better, to say more.

Classes with Aziz:

Early Tribal:

Learn the original tribal moves as per early l970s from the heart of the San Francisco Bay Area, the era of assuit, kohl and tribal jewelry.

Zill Drill:

Finger cymbal drills with focus on Beledi, Syncopation and Triplets and other variations.

Flamenco Spice:

The influence and stylization of the Spanish gypsies in Orientale Danse. Add drama and power to the dance.

Technique, Technique, Technique:

From proper posture to correct styling with the correct music, framing, weight placement, basic moves to embellishments. Fundamentals and integration of Danze Orientale.

Whirl, Twirl, Pivot:

Firey spins, exciting turns, spotting, turns traveling and in place.

Classes with Na'la:

Slacker Bog Yoga: (Not Yoga) #NotInTheBog #FestivalLife

Festival Life usually means taking or teaching classes all day while squeezing in rehearsals, meals, and life-altering conversations, then preparing for a night of performances and hitting the halfa to enjoy the flow that live music provides. We festival-goers demand so much from our bodies, and Slacker Bog Yoga is a way to give back. Set your alarm, wake up, grab your coffee and some breakfast to-go, and come meet Na’la in the studio.  Together, we will set up the space to give your body something it is probably asking for; your time, your attention, your breath, and some tried and true body maintenance. Slacker Bog Yoga (not yoga) is based on the OIOC Physical Therapy program (open sourced) out of NYU.  This specific PT program concentrates on the breath filled stabilization of the pelvis, spine and shoulders, while mindfully stretching the legs, hips and torso. Slacker Bog Yoga has been tested on *many* different types of bodies; all genders, a wide range of ages, bodies with different injuries and disabilities, bodies that dance, play instruments, set up stages, run marathons, or sit all day at the office. This program was designed to restore us so we can live our best lives at Tribal Con and go do all the things!

Classes with Madame Onça:

Tarot for Bellydancers

Tarot is an empowering, intuitive tool for self-awareness, rich with women's history. Let's explore the history of the cards, with special focus on their role as a barometer of cultural values. This light-hearted hands-on class will share various card layouts for readings, as well as a salty all levels overview of tarot structure and real-world history.

Saturday Community Discussion (moderated Madame Onça and Ziah Ali)
Tribal Dance: Past, Present, Future.
All welcome! Let's come together to talk about where we have been in the dance, what's happening now, and where we are going. Remember the old days, when the various styles of bellydance didn't get along? How times ahem changed! TribalCon has been a significant force in our evolution as a community in the SouthEast; what now?