This event, formaly known as Linzer Landes-Ritterfest, offered us the chance to perform in front of an audience in our own home town. An opportunity we were very happy about. Anam Damhsa, supported by Anam Chara and Julia’s student Christina performed classic FCBD®Style, skirt dialect and sword dialect in 3 sets. 2 of the performances took place directly at the Main Square (Linzer Hauptplatz). The middle one at Alter Markt.

Even though we had to shorten our first set due to the heat in order not to keep the horses waiting any longer, we had a lot of fun. And of course we promoted Julia’s classes – with success!

There was also time to relax together, to stroll around and even to take a trip to Little Dancer to finalise details for our upcoming event.

Thank you so much to Max from rhiannon for the trust and great organisation!

Photos by Anam Damhsa & Johann Lackner

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For the third year in a row we made the trip to Vienna. Well, Julia and Tina went there. The bot of them were able to take part in several great workshops at this year´s edition of CarVie, or Caravanseray Vienna. And they finally got to meet some familiar faces in person for the very first time.

At the Restaurant Show “Feast of Desire” our duo got the chance to perform two times. In the first half they danced to NEFFEX – Free Me and after the break to Betty Booom – Puttin’ on the Ritz. The skirts decided to misbehave here and there, but the audience was amazing. What a night!

We had an amazing time and we are looking forward to our next meeting in Linz at Skills `n’ Zills!

Video by Dani Niemietz <3
Video by Dani Niemietz <3
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In mid-May, the “Anam Ladies” headed to Rome for the absolutely brilliant Roma Tribal Meeting. Workshops, performances, shopping, sightseeing, great conversations and hugs…. so many wonderful memories in such a short time!

For Julia and Tina in particular, things got really busy on the very first day. As soon as they got off the train, they had to get to the studio right away to take part in the preparations for the Performance Intensives. At the Dreams Show they helped to bring the Dance Sisters Collective´s vision to life as part of a “school of fish”. Julia was also part of the Open Stage Show in the “Flock of Birds” performance led by Taisa Jah Surya.

The selection of workshops was really great and we were able to take away many new and deepen other things. We did manage to squeeze in some time for sightseeing before heading back home.

We already miss this amazing city and most of all the wonderful dancers, teachers, friends and dance sisters we met at Roma Tribal Meeting. 🥰

A huge thank you to everyone who shared this weekend with us and made it special…. And of course to Isabel De Lorenzo and her team for this amazing event!

Damhsa Pics:

Photos by @roberto_radimir:

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On Saturday April 22, 2023, we had the pleasure to be invited to perform on stage at Linz’s very own Spirit of the Orient’s show in Mittertreffling. We took part in three performances. Firstly, a skirt performance to Puttin on the Ritz by Betty Booom. This was coincidently Tina’s first time on stage with us and our first stage performance together as Anam Damhsa! We are so proud of her, and she did brilliantly.

Then Anam Chara performed a slow piece to Tavern in the Mist, wearing beautiful flowing green and blue costumes especially for the piece.

Julia and Tina performed as a duet to Drumspyder’s version of Ya El Moulayitin. We were able to perform duet passings as well as the DoSiDo and the Orbit! Whoop whoop! The atmosphere backstage was incredible with everyone working together seamlessly to make sure all the costume changes happened.

Next, our own Elisabeth who also moderated the show, explained some FCBD® Style history to the audience and Julia and Tina did a short demonstration. It was huge fun and the audience really enjoyed it.

At last, it was time for the big finale! Anam Damhsa were joined by Anam Chara and Julia’s student Christina, so we had a group of six of us on stage. We danced to the Bay City Shimmy by Phil Thornton. We began with our gratitude meditation and moved into a chorus and duets formation, moving into a stagger to finish. The audience smiling and clapping is always a joy, and this was also Christina’s first time with us on stage dancing FCBD® Style, so it was a hugely successful evening.

One lady enjoyed it so much she asked about learning and has since begun with Julia. Watch this space!

Other groups that performed were local bellydance groups from Altenberg and the Mühlviertel as well as SOTO themselves. The whole evening was delightful, and we would like to thank SOTO for inviting us to perform!

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Time is flying by and there really is a lot going on…. we want to share a few of the smaller, but no less important highlights of our summer with you here:

Christina gets her Level 1 certificate

If you’re wondering if our dance is fun for beginners, all you have to do is look at Christina’s smile when she was presented with her LVL 1 certificate, or listen to her talk about training with Julia. We are so proud of her and her progress!

Nora´s visit

One of the wonderful things about our dance is that people from all over the world can meet and dance together. Across all language barriers, the shared dance form unites us. That’s exactly why it immediately felt so familiar and secure when Nora from Peru danced with us.

How did it come about? Well, Nora, a wonderful dancer and a charming person, was in Europe for a wedding and was able to stay a bit longer afterwards to meet dancers she had previously only met online. During her time with Lisi Brümmer, the idea came up that she could maybe stay at Julia’s place as well. And this is exactly what happened. Not only did Nora join our weekly training, we also had a great time at Julia’s home and even made a trip to Krumau, where – completely surprisingly for us – the Festival of the Rose was taking place. This lead to us meeting even more other dancers there. After a spontaneous dance in front of a pub, we went back to Austria, where we used the remaining time for dancing together. It was really hard to say goodbye, but we are sure we will see each other again on- and offline.

Seing Nicole again

Nicole going back to America was not easy for any of us. Of course we are happy for her, for example when we see how much fun she has with her family. But we miss dancing together and just sitting down together, having a drink while chatting….

We were so happy that we at least got to meet up when she was here again for a little while this summer.

Julia´s first solo on a stage

Our friends Cordula and Max with their band Rhiannon are always part of the programme at the Linzer Landes-Ritterfest , and so it happened that Julia, who was actually only there as a visitor, was able to spontaneously dance her first solo. We would have loved to be there with her, but at least there are a few photos and videos.

The Anam-Mobile is ready

Finally, we Anams can be out and about in style when we travel to workshops or gigs together. And a bit of advertising does not hurt either, right?

Thanks to our friend Phil from the Printbusters, Julia’s car is now a proper Anam-Mobile!

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In July of 2022, I packed up my car and drove from the Mühlviertel in Austria, to Soest, Germany. On the way, I listened to the audiobook, ‘Ambitious like a mother’ by Lara Bazelon. In it she discusses how difficult it is sometimes to be ambitious and prioritise your needs as a mother. How society often expects that your needs, career and dreams will take a backseat to that of your partner and children. I am happy to say my spouse is supportive of my career moves both in my professional life as a TESOL teacher and teacher trainer, and in my private life as an FCBD®Style dancer and teacher. So, as I pulled up in front of the Frauenhilfe center in Soest and heard the zills and music from the General Skills taking place, my heart skipped a beat and I thought of all the women who had come together, 70 women from 20 different countries in total, to put themselves first and connect with each other in the joyous dance that is FCBD® Style. It would be remiss of me if I didn’t say thank you to Miriam Schroth for organising this and bringing us together.

First came the tearful and excited meetings and introductions as I connected with old and new friends, some of whom I had only met online till now. The beauty of this dance meant we could just come together and dance which we did at the Hafla that night! What a brilliant event! I danced, bought cholis because a girl can never have too many, and chatted till I fell into bed exhausted!

The next morning brought a meeting with DeAnna Padron Freeman and the lady herself, Carolena Nericcio. She came in through the door and said, “it feels like I’ve met you before”, then a hug and I felt like I was on top of the world. This is part of the joy of this dance form. It feels like we are part of a global family and meeting ‘Mama C’ was a highlight for me. You can see the results of this meeting soon 😊 An afternoon with my dance sisters and friends, and food in the main square and then another meal in the evening as we chatted, caught up and got to know each other better.

The next day the teacher training began. We warmed up to fun music before the teachers arrived. Then in came Carolena, DeAnna and the incredible Kelley Beeston. I tried not to fan girl, but it is surreal to meet people you’ve watched dance on You Tube countless times and there they were, in the flesh, about to teach us all how to teach our own students. I guess this hit me quite hard because my GS was online and the pandemic had stalled so many events, that to actually be here was almost overwhelming. We were put through our paces and given steps to teach. I got propellor turn! We all had to teach our fellow students and were given detailed feedback by our group teacher. We finished up and were given a step to teach the next day.

When we were done, we would meet for food again in the main square together. I can recommend the salted caramel ice cream! I made so many friends and it was blissful to sit and chat with my fellow dance sisters. We went back to work on our steps. I had the forward and back shimmy half turn. The step suddenly felt like the most difficult step in the world! I diligently sat and studied Carolena’s lesson on it on and watched the DVD’s again to make sure I knew the step inside and out.

The day began as it had before. Warming up, the gratitude meditation… Then we began to teach our steps. We rooted each other on and supported each other as we each, in turn came forwards to present our knowledge. Then suddenly, I was up. Oh my goodness, my heart ponded as Kelley watched me like a hawk as I got my ‘students’ to ‘learn’ the step. It was over far too fast and then came my feedback. I listened hard and tried to carry on as normal while the day went on. Had I done well enough to pass?

Yes!!!!! Oh, the elation and pride! I/we had done it!!! Reached my/our ambitious goal of becoming a certified FCBD® Style teacher! I couldn’t stop grinning as I went to receive my certificate from our teachers and the moment was caught on camera!

It was so hard to say goodbye to my dance sisters the next day. There were a lot of tears!!!!The next morning, Lisi Brümmer of Tanzerei Adabei and I drove back together and spent the whole time chatting about the experience and our new plans and goals! Our next ‘ambitious’ one was to become registered as a certified studio, but more on that another time. 😊 Thank you to Miriam, our teachers and my dance sisters. This is an experience I will treasure forever. In the words of Sister Sledge, “We are family, I’ve got all my sisters with me!”


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This year´s SOTO weekend trip took us to Hinterglemm for a weekend!

A fun mixture of dancers and Anam Damhsa right in the middle… We went hiking, enjoyed the beautiful weather and nice dinners in the evenings. And of course wedanced with Anam Chara. We can´t wait for next year!

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In October of 2021, I experienced some of the most intense days of my dance life so far. The Fat Chance Belly Dance General Skills online course is taught over ten days, is 30 hours long, has limited places and covers the steps of the classic and modern FCBD style dance vocabulary. Upon completion, you receive a certificate of attendance.  There is also an option to pay an additional fee and take the GS exams at the end comprised of written and practical components. If you pass these, you are then GS certified and therefore eligible to apply for the separate Teacher Training course. Naturally, having a somewhat ambitious personality, I decided upon this option!

In the course I attended, we were taught by Carolena Nericcio, the founder of the dance style, DeAnna Padron Freeman, director of FCBDu, the online Fat Chance university, Liz Malcom, Kelley Beeston, Philippa Morai, Lore Rojas and Michiyo Salisbury. All of whom are part of the advanced teacher training team and the Fat Chance® Continuing Education (FCCE) Program. To say I was excited would be an understatement! The GS teachers change per course, but they all hold the Advanced Teacher Training status, and some are also alumni of the Fat Chance troupe.

We began with introductions and the basics. Carolena told us the history of the dance from her viewpoint and often regaled us with snippets of information throughout the course to give us background and context. We always began our online time with the gratitude meditation which is a core element of our dance form and shows gratitude to the dance, our teachers, our dance community, and our audiences etc. We were put through our paces each day, following an instructor as she drilled us while being observed with the hawk eyes of the other instructors. Feedback would follow and we were given homework to complete.

One of the homework’s given, was to write a piece entitled, ‘What is FCBD Style?’ As an English teacher, I endeavoured to convey what this dance form is, beyond the obvious steps and costumes. When asked to read our pieces to everyone, I went first and nervously read aloud my piece. Hearing silence afterwards, I thought, ‘oh no! They don’t like it’, but instead I saw some tearful faces and Carolena told me I’d verbalised what she’d been trying to get across for years. DeAnna asked me if she could use it and the piece has now been translated into several languages. You can find the videos of it on this website if you’d like to listen to it. It’s one of the proudest moments in my dance life thus far.

As the days went on, we fell into a rhythm and were polished into Fat Chance style dancers. I took some notes… This became a 53 page google document which I am still adding to. I am a nerd… It can only attest to how comprehensive the course is and the amount of information you receive.

There was a lot of emotion and excitement at graduation on day ten. We were all sorry the course had ended, as well as feeling tired, and some of us were nervous about the impending exams. After a week or two, we completed the written component and depending on if we’d passed, we received the steps we were to record ourselves dancing for the practical part. I can’t tell you how many times I recorded my steps…I couldn’t seem to get them perfect enough but decided to bite the bullet and just send the videos.

After that came the wait. Finally, the email arrived. I was so nervous as I opened it! There it was, in black and white. I had passed the General Skills course that I’d been dreaming about taking for years! I was so happy, and I almost couldn’t believe it!

So, that was my General Skills experience. What a ride! I am so grateful to the teachers for giving me such valuable feedback and to Carolena for enriching the course with her memories and extensive dance knowledge! I’m also grateful to my fellow classmates. We became firm friends and supported one another through each day.

So, what’s next? Well, as I mentioned, I took the additional exams and got the GS certification. As soon as I received the notification, I applied for the Teacher Training which will take place in Soest, Germany in the Summer of 2022. I was lucky enough to obtain a place and am looking forward to the next ‘step’ in my dance journey.

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We just love to dance! Since Nicole is currently in the US to spend some time with her family and Marisa is taking some time off, Julia, Elisabeth and Tina are the ones who are the most active at the moment… And they are not slowing down!

In addition to regular trainings and the LVL 3 course, various photo and video shoots were also on the agenda. Currently, we are mostly working on our performances for Nakari Dance Company‘s Caravanseray.

Here you can get a first glance of what to expect:

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After online-only classes during lockdowns, we’ve since returned to our beloved studio and continue to train diligently there. This also gives us an opportunity for joint dancing with the Anam Charas, who are in the studio right after our class.

Of course we don’t want to withhold a few pictures from an evening together!

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What defines us

Love for the dance
Positive thinking
Thirst for knowledge
Full of energy
Open and honest
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