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.
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.
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.