Cayte Lawton- guest writer!

Cayte has been a student of mine for several years, yes, all the way from England! She has traveled to Portland, Milan, and around England to dance with me, besides all of my online classes and DVDs! Accomplished in several levels of the Collective Soul Certification program plus a certified Gypsy Caravan teachers, she is dedicated, passionate, and totally in love with my style–Tribal Bellydance, and the Gypsy Caravan format. Plus she loves to spread the Tribal Love!

I could no be more honored to have such a beautiful soul be a part of the tribe, our world-wide  growing tribe! (And you can be too!) A woman who walks/dances her talk, follows her heart and soul, and commits herself to be the best dancer and teacher and woman that she can be. Kind, generous (and vegan!), she is also an avid writer and philosopher about dance and life, and so today I get to share a little about her with you, and some good history about how our dance got started and evolved!

Her troupe is called Sakura Tribal, and she writes about Tribal and the GC format on her website and her blog often…

~~~~~~~Tribal Style Bellydance


Although rooted in the past and paying tribute to dances of the Middle East, tribal bellydance has drawn from a host of wider influences – from India, Spain, Africa and from Romani dance for example – to reinvent itself as a contemporary dance form with shades of both old and new. This eclectic mix is reflected in its costuming, which lends an earthy, ethnic flavour to the dance. Opulent vintage fabrics, an array of vibrant, rich colour, lush, heavy jewellery, captivating facial adornment and hair bedecked with scarves, wraps and flowers all portray the dance as something powerful yet feminine, exotic and strong. Gypsy Caravan style tribal adds a particularly funky twist to the mix, reflected in both moves and costume – a true dance of today, for today’s dancers!

In its original form, group improvisation lies at the very heart of tribal. Using a shared vocabulary of moves and cues dancers work together in perfect synchronicity to follow a leader – with each taking their turn to both lead and follow. There is a sense of connection, of energy, of inter-dependence. All are important, no matter their level of accomplishment. It is about the group, not the individual; it is not ‘my dance’ but rather ‘our dance’.

Gypsy Caravan Tribal Style Bellydance


Way back in the mid 1980s Paulette Rees-Denis was living in San Francisco, in a world of rock bands and tattoos, Harley Davidsons and photography. Then one day she took her first bellydance class with Carolena Nericcio, and her life changed; as she says in her wonderful book, Tribal Vision, it ‘affected  something so deep within me, my soul, my heart, that it was to stay with me forever’. The style, still in its infancy, was to become known as ATS®. Their first performance together was in Paulette’s back yard for her 31st birthday, from  where they moved on to greater things. Their earthy, synchronised style, so unlike traditional bellydance, appealed to the alternative society in San Francisco, and they adopted the name, FatChanceBellyDance®.

From there, Paulette and Carolena’s paths diverged. Paulette and her husband Jeff underwent a huge lifestyle change as they moved to Portland, Oregon. Paulette had lost her dance sisters but knew she wanted to – had to – carry on dancing. However, she had her own tribal vision. Whilst determined to maintain the power, connection and in-the-moment improvisational style of ATS®, she wanted to add in her own influences both old and new, to adopt a more organic approach to
positioning and to utilise both left and right sides of the body. It would be a dance of today, not trying to imitate dancers of other cultures and times but with its own unique identity, developing and evolving as a living art form.

She called it simply ‘Tribal Style Bellydance’.


And so Gypsy Caravan was born. It started small – classes with a few 
students – but quickly grew into many classes and performing troupes and they acquired their own group of musicians, They danced at markets, state fairs, wherever there was a demand for their unique, joyful style. They 
chose the name ‘Gypsy Caravan’ to reflect the way in which they had 
borrowed from so many influences in their dance – and soon Paulette was travelling the world to share her beautiful style through workshops and her own intensive training and certification programmes.

In 2011 Paulette took a  sabbatical to reassess her priorities and vision. But she is now back revitalised, as strong as ever, with a fresh new funky take on tribal! Gypsy Caravan has been reborn as the Gypsy Caravan Dance Company International and includes dancers from Italy and Australia as well as from America. Paulette is on a mission – a mission to truly celebrate this dance in all its forms. 

A mission to ‘Take Tribal Global’!


Celebrating CS1 in Oregon, 2010…Paulette, Brandy, Kat, Tracy, Sarah, Cayte…


8428059Wendy and Cayte are happy dancers after CS2 in Milan, 2013!~~~~~~

So, there you have it! Thanks Cayte, for sharing, and for writing about Tribal. You all know how much I love to get you writing about your dance experiences! Look for more online courses coming up that will get your tribal words flowing!

Also, note the new TWO Day format and new pricing for our Collective Soul Certification Intensives! We hope you can come to Portland and join us this fall, and new dates around the globe will be announced in a few…

NEW DATES For Fall 2013 in Portland!
Join Paulette and 
Amanda Richardson for the outstanding

Gypsy Caravan Tribal Intensives:
Collective Soul and Collective Soul Level Two,

and Teacher Training Level One,

this Fall will be CS1- October 4th-5th,

TT1–Oct. 6, 7, 8th, 2013

CS2 — Oct. 9, 10, 2013

More info coming at you soon about registration…
In the meantime you can read more about these courses and what they will do for you, on this site, here…

Thanks for being here my friends! Any comments or questions…share with us! and do join us on the Tribal Road!


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