Springs Oasis Belly Dance is located in Colorado Springs, Colorado and is owned by instructor Barb Ferrill Van Hoy, who loves teaching this wonderful dance form. We are your local source for both American Tribal Style®* and Traditional Middle Eastern Belly Dance instruction. Find our listings here:

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Belly Dance is:

  • Fun and creative – Belly dance students learn to develop graceful, fluid movement and dynamic hip and torso isolations.
  • A great workout – Belly dance is a gentle, low-impact exercise that is a great workout and especially good for core strength and lower back health.
  • Self-affirming – Belly dance is for all ages, body types, and talent levels and those with the desire to develop a freedom of movement infused with feeling.
  • A wonderful cultural art form – Among the oldest dance forms, belly dance is rooted in a rich cultural history accompanied by captivating musical traditions from the Middle East.

Because belly dancing is so forgiving, it can be learned and accomplished at a later age and with a more natural body type than most forms of traditional western dance.  – Sabrina Tarulli

Classic Belly Dance ~ Raqs Sharqi “Dance of the East”

Classic Belly Dance (called Raqs Sharqi in Arabic, translated as “dance of the East”) is a playful, dramatic and sensual dance form featuring slow and sinuous movements, or fast staccato movements of the hips, torso and arms.  Also called Arabic, Oriental or Middle Eastern dance, Raqs Sharqi originated in and around Egypt, Turkey and Lebanon, and is practiced by both highly trained professional artists and ‘everyday’ women and men all over the world. It is a folk dance that expresses the passions and joys of life, and interprets the soulful and dramatic classic Egyptian and Middle Eastern music that it traditionally accompanies. Among the most common forms is traditional Egyptian Raqs Sharqi; most often presented as a women’s solo improvisational dance form that evolved from Egypt’s beledi, or country, folk dances. Similar and related dance forms are found throughout the Middle East including Turkey, Lebanon and across North Africa to Morocco. (See links page for more in-depth historical and cultural background, including A Primer on Middle Eastern Dance Styles and History of Oriental Dance)

American Tribal Style®* Belly Dance

American Tribal Style (ATS) ® Belly Dance was developed in the late 1980s and early 1990s in San Francisco by Carolena Nericcio of FatChanceBellyDance. It combines dance and costuming elements from the Middle East, North Africa, India (and South Asia), and Spain (Flamenco). It is primarily a group improvisational dance form where the dancers take turns leading the group through improvised combinations of movements to create dynamic, captivating performances. (See links page for more in-depth information including History of American Tribal Style and Sharon Moore’s TribalBellyDance.org)

* FatChanceBellyDance®, FCBD®, ATS® and American Tribal Style®, are federally registered trademarks of FatChanceBellyDance, Inc. For more information, please visit www.fcbd.com/about/legal.shtml.

Check out this great article Oriental Dance; Myth and Reality.

What’s The Difference? Classic vs. American Tribal Style Belly Dance

Keep in mind that, since we are talking about art, my ideas and opinions on this topic could easily be disputed by other dancers. Here’s my take and some info about my classes:

In both styles, dancers learn the movement vocabulary (slightly different ways to do the dance moves) and eventually learn to improvise a dance stringing different moves together. However, in my Classic Belly Dance class I teach basic belly dance moves in a choreography that we learn and practice. In classic style classes, there is more repetition of the sequencing of moves. Classic belly dance is often less formal and more casual. After 8-16 weeks (depending on the time of year) students have the opportunity (but are not required) to perform in a student show. (Here is one of my beginning student groups performing in May 2013) http://youtu.be/8HgGvd1kWOE

In my Tribal Style classes students learn the movement vocabulary and formations for leading and following, and work up to practicing the dance in an improvised way.* We do more mixing & matching of moves, and there is more interaction among dancers in the formations. Because of the improvisation and interaction among dancers, it can be more dynamic and unpredictable (exciting!), but takes longer to be ready to perform. Here is a Tribal style student performance. http://youtu.be/luEz77mvAp0

*(I am a certified instructor of American Tribal Style ® and a FatChanceBellyDance Sister Studio, which means I teach the original Tribal Style format.)

It’s all a celebration of life and the joy of movement!

 About Barb Ferrill Van Hoy, Owner & Instructor

I teach belly dance classes open to the public, at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, and privately, produce community dance events, and occasionally perform in Middle Eastern restaurants under the stage name Zafia. I was the founding director, and a current member of Mizmar Madness, a Tribal Style belly dance performing troupe in Colorado Springs.

I began studying and fell in love with Middle Eastern dance in 1998.  I love sharing this joyously expressive dance form because of its rich beauty and because anyone can do it. This dance makes women more comfortable in their bodies, reduces stress, helps overcome injuries, prevents back pain, and increases overall healthAnd, you get to wear jingling coins and sparkly sequins! What could be better?

I first studied Egyptian Raqs Sharqi style (most influential teacher was Joynan, Denver beginning in 1998) and had the great opportunity to learn American Tribal Style®* belly dance from FatChanceBellyDance in San Francisco in 2003. In 2011 I completed my General Skills and Teacher Training certifications in American Tribal Style® belly dance with Carolena Nericcio-Bohlman, director of FatChanceBellyDance (San Francisco). Other teachers I consider influential are Carolina Varga Dinicu, aka Morocco (New York), Rachel Brice (Portland),  Souhail Kaspar (Los Angeles), Eva Cernik (Denver),  Isidora (Pueblo) and Mahisha (Colorado Springs).

My dance education includes seminars in Persian and Kurdish folk dances, classical Indian dance (Bharata Natyam & Odissi), as well as Bollywood & American Tribal Fusion.

My dance skill repertoire includes sword, cane, candle and veil dances, and I play the finger cymbals (known as zills or zagat). I began teaching belly dance in 2001, took a break in 2007, and returned to it in 2010.

* FatChanceBellyDance®, FCBD®, ATS® and American Tribal Style®, are federally registered trademarks of FatChanceBellyDance, Inc. For more information, please visit www.fcbd.com/about/legal.shtml.