Weekend of ATS Fun! Tassels, Wine and Bellyliciousness!


Hey guys! So first of all I have to start off this post with the biggest, most giant of thank yous to Jeanne Mason Howerton, who hosted an absolutely fabulous weekend of workshops! I knew it would be fun, but I never could have guessed how amazing it would be.

I started off on Friday dashing about getting wine to take for the sleepover, popped into work for an hour and then headed home to get packed and changed. Heather Emory, instructor of Little Goddess Trybe and one of her students, the lovely Cassandra Campbell were my carpooling buddies and we met up at my house at 5:30 to depart for theland of shimmies. It was a fun filled two hours drive down to Jeanne’s, with giggles, awesome music and Heather’s new car’s gps system, which was obsessed with traffic jams that were non existent. We came up with a brilliant bellydancers fighting zombies movie idea and came across the House of Blades.

We arrived, got our dancing clothes and zills on and got down to learning some duet moves, including passes and new ways to circle up than just the old tried and true Turkish Shimmy. Jeanne is a thorough teacher, making sure we understood the basics of the move including posture and arms and then providing ample time for drilling. Yummy, healthy appetizers were out for snacking during breaks and a little wine was consumed during practice along with lots of water. Two hours later, tired, but happy some dancers departed and the rest of us settled in for dinner and tv. And naturally what do Bellydancers want to watch after bellydancing? MORE bellydancing!!!! So Fat Chance Bellydance’s San Francisco Beledi was popped in and enjoyed while we ate Spaghetti Bolognese and Breadsticks. Jeanne, being Vegan herself provided both Vegan and “Meatosauras” options so that everyone was taken care of.

Sitting there, eating with six other fellow bellydancers,after dancing that night, learning, being creatively fed and watching not only this beautiful show, but especially the “making of” before the show was one of the absolute highlights of my 12 year long bellydance career. I felt such a sense of fullfillment and history and belonging. I was actually sitting there almost close to tears. I just felt the love of this amazing dance for pouring out of not only me, but my fellow dancers with me and on screen and it was just such a beautiful time.

After we finished San Francisco Beledi, we blew up our air mattresses, got into our pjs, cozied up and watched A Knight’s Tale before slowly each going off to their own bed. Oh and while we were watching the movie Jeanne made us desert! Icecream made from only banannas!! It was yummy. Seven bellydancers were asleep in that house and let me tell you, it was pretty much the most fun sleepover I have ever been to!

At 8:20 the next morning (shockingly early time as I am not an early riser being that I work second shift at the hospital) Jeanne awoke us to guess what: an oatmeal bar!!!! I had never experienced that before, but it was amazing!!! Fresh strawberries, blackberries and bannanas; white chocolate chips, buttersctoch chips, almonds, milk, butter, brown sugar, white sugar, coconut, ahhhh! It was amazing! Best. Oatmeal. Ever. We ate, lounged around, then went and played in Jeanne’s costuming treasure trove, from which I purchased a beautiful mirrored, ATS style, banjara belt with pink and yellow tassels.
Then, it was back to work with Spins class (no, no bicycling!) in which we learned some gorgeous spin varieties and how to cue them from other moves, like Egyptian. I love spinning!!!! ATS style turns are just so powerful. Two hours of spinning and it was lunchtime! Leftover spaghetti and sandwiches made of hummus, mayonaise, spinach, cheese, turkey and tomato were absolutely amazing. After lunch all that was left was me Jeanne and the lovely Christal and being a bit full from lunch and tired, we decided the perfect remedy for the afternoon slump was (what else??) hopping in the hot tub with glasses of wine!!! A wonderful, relaxing soak and we went in the studio one last time to learn some basic sword moves. Ouch! That sword, though only 3 lbs is heavy when you’re trying to be all fierce and one handed with it! Definitely got a good start on my sword education and it was a good end to the weekend. Afterwards, we got all packed up and Amber and Sally bug were there to pick me up and take me home!

I really cannot express what an amazing time we had and what an amazing host, teacher and dancer Jeanne is. Her hospitality and laid back nature gave the whole weekend a fabulous sense of informality that was really conducive to learning and feeling comfortable with stepping out of your comfort zone and getting into these moves, but she kept it formal enough that I feel like this was one of the most beneficial workshops I’ve ever done. Jeanne already has the next round planned, unfotunately, I will be in Puerto Rico (I know wah wah ;), but I am definitely looking forward to the next ones and I will be there every time I can. If you are in the Dallas Fort Worth area , you should definitely get into contact with Jeanne and take some lessons from her. She also does Skype lessons. You can find out more at her website, http://www.texastribal.com/ .

Unfortunately, I didn’t get any pictures, but here is one of the lady herself, from her website. I think it really shows her spirit. 🙂


Again, thank you Jeanne from the bottom of my heart, for such an amazing experience and I look forward to many more! I am so proud to call this lady one of my teachers!!! And a really cool side note, I thought was that FatChanceBellyDance had the performance of Devotion on Friday night around the same time we were dancing/ sitting down and watching San Francisco Beledi! Isn’t that neat?

Smiles and Hugs and a Re- Shamka spin! 🙂 E


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