Unmata, Improvisational Tribal Style (I.T.S.), and Calamity Sam

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Unmata Circa 2007

2007 was the first time I ever saw UNMATA. I had recently started belly dance classes with Heather Shoopman, and she was a huge fan- so she recommended that I look them up on YouTube. To tell you the truth, I really liked what I saw, but I couldn’t ever imagine being able to move like that. Unmata became this kind of mythic group of dancers that did really amazing things, but things that I would never do.

About a year and half later, I got to take one workshop with Amy Sigil and Kari in Los Angeles. I loved it! It was unlike anything else I was doing- but I was still a beginner, and had problems keeping up. (Unmata speed= super fast!) They remained a kind of elusive “next-level” of dance to which (at that point) I wasn’t even aspiring.

When Heather had her troupe, Se7en, attend and perform in the Bloodmoon Regale 2008- it was a game changer. I saw amazing movement in that show- from Unmata, and others- and I knew my life would never be the same.

Four years later, after building my own dance as a soloist (and still being on the fringe of the Hot Pot and Unmata world) Amy Sigil approached me about teaching her I.T.S. format in the Bay Area. I was A.) flabbergasted and B.) out of my head with excitement. It was a new challenge, and one for which I was ready.

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Unmata Today: Shelly, Kari, Amy, Sarah

My first teacher training was in July of 2012. I will NEVER forget that week. Not only for how it changed my dance, but for the friendships I made and cemented. Improvisational Tribal Style has unlocked a whole other level of ability in me- it’s informed my movement as well as my attitude towards my dance. I can’t say enough thank-yous or show enough gratitude to Amy, Shelly, Kari, Sarah, and all of the Hot Potters that have helped me along the way.

Dancing with my teachers. Is there anything better?
Dancing with your teachers. Is there anything better?

I now have the privilege of teaching Amy Sigil’s I.T.S. format in Oakland, CA. I have an amazing group of level 1 students that are extremely dedicated, and a couple of hardcore level 2’s that are eating up the information like crazy!

While they may not be my first dance family- UNMATA and Hot Pot are my Blood, Sweat, and Tears dance family. We’re international now – come and find us – we’re waiting to dance.