Dance Therapeutics for ATS®: Unlock, Unwind, Balance, Strengthen, Flow

Specifically Designed for Your Unique ATS® Body & Dance Needs, by DT creator Deb Rubin, and ATS® Creator Carolena Nericcio

Welcome to Dance Therapeutics for ATS®!

This specialty class series gives you practical tools and warm-up sequences you can use right away, to unlock tension, improve mobility, strengthen your core, prevent injuries, release pain patterns, improve your dance, learn basic dancer anatomy, and take control of your own health. Learn the warm-up practices to help you feel better in your body, protect your joints, build proper mechanics of your ATS® belly dance movements, and move with ease, fluidity, supported strength, and grace for years to come.

This 13-class series was designed by Dance Therapeutics creator, Deb Rubin, in collaboration with ATS® Creator, Carolena Nericcio, for the specific movement vocabulary and unique body needs of ATS® belly dance.

Each class focuses on a different aspect of your ATS® training and movement vocabulary, and includes a Dance Therapeutics mat sequence led by Deb Rubin, followed by direct application to your ATS® dance, in a lead-and-follow flow practice led by ATS® Creator, Carolena Nericcio and/or members of Fat Chance Belly Dance®. With this format, you will get to put your newly unlocked and balanced body directly into motion, and feel the benefits immediately in your dancing.

The classes are meant to be repeated often, and integrated into your regular routine for maximum results and long term benefits. Scroll down to see class descriptions.

Optimize your dance, performance, and joy of ATS® ... and take care of your body as you do!

Great for all levels and all body types.

This unique and specialized training program is specifically designed for YOU: The ATS® Dancer, as a complement to all your dance training. All of the content in these classes is specific to YOUR art form, YOUR movement vocabulary, and YOUR specific body needs as an ATS® dancer.

Thank you so much for joining us. Enjoy the classes!

Scroll down to see all class descriptions:

Dance Therapeutics for ATS® 13-class Series Includes:

1. Upper Body Therapeutics - Posture & Arm Frame:

This class focuses on unlocking that traditionally stuck area of the upper back and shoulder girdle, to dramatically improve your ATS® posture, and create a poised, strong, and elegant arm frame. Class begins with a mat practice led by Deb, followed by direct application to your ATS® dancing, with a lead-and-follow dance section led by Carolena and/or FDBD® teachers, focused on arms and upper body movements. We will deconstruct ATS® posture and frame, and unlock the body to achieve this elegant shape.

2. Upper Body Therapeutics - Shoulders

This class focuses on unlocking tight shoulders, increasing joint range of motion, and increasing flexibility in the muscles of the upper back and chest. Learn to address all 4 quadrants of the shoulder girdle to improve flexibility, mobility, and balance in the entire shoulder girdle. Learn the important relationship between the shoulder girdle and the spine, and how this relates to every aspect of your ATS® movements, particularly snake arms, arm posture, and ATS® frame. All of this is directly applied to ATS® dance vocabulary, in a dancing section led by Carolena and/or members of FCBD®.

3. Cultivating the Fluid Core:

Learn Deb Rubin’s signature, leading-edge Dance Therapeutics techniques for strengthening the different layers of your core as well as the different muscles of your abdomen. Learn to articulate low belly and torso moves, how to improve your posture and support the spine from the front, to build the core strength and fluidity necessary for your belly dance. Class includes Dance Therapeutics practices on the mat, followed by direct application to ATS® dance vocabulary, in a dancing section led by members of Fat Chance Belly Dance®.

4. Lower Body Therapeutics - Lower Back, Hips & Hamstrings:

Learn Deb’s favorite mat sequence to efficiently and thoroughly unlock the lower back, hips, and legs, in preparation for your dancing. Learn the anatomy of the IT band, its crucial role in ATS® movements, and how to unlock your hip, leg, and back to dance with more ease and mobility. Class includes Dance Therapeutics mat practice by Deb Rubin, followed by direct application to your ATS® dancing, with an ATS® lead-and-follow section led by Carolena and Fat Chance Belly Dance® teachers. Dance vocabulary focuses on ATS® moves with focus primarily on hips and legwork.

5. Lower Body Therapeutics - Hip Openers & Psoas:

Learn to unlock and balance your hips, and address your illustrious psoas muscle, in a safe, deep, and efficient way to dramatically improve your ATS® dance posture, shimmies, hip work, and all aspects of your dancing. Learn the basic anatomy of the psoas muscle, why it gets such a bad rap, why it's so important for American Tribal Style® Dance, and how to unlock it to balance your pelvis, posture, and spine. Benefits of this class also include: Improved mobility and ease in your lower back, legs, and belly work.

Class begins with a mat practice led by Deb Rubin, followed by an ATS® lead and follow section led by Carolena and Fat Chance Belly Dance teachers, focused on hips.

Practice modifications are demonstrated, for all levels.

6. Balance & Levels - Core Cultivation for a Graceful Skeleton:

Improve your balance and your ability to move through ATS® level changes with ease and grace. In this Dance Therapeutics class, learn how to tone and strengthen your deep core that supports posture, balance, turns, and is the center axis of all your dancing. These exercises will also help you save your knees, and strengthen your ankles, legs, and core needed for level changes. Class includes Dance Therapeutics exercises by Deb Rubin, as well as direct application to your ATS® dancing, with a lead-and-follow section from Carolena and/or Fat Chance Belly Dance® members.

7. Healthy Back Bending - Saving Your Lower Back:

In this class, you will learn Deb’s favorite Dance Therapeutics methods to strengthen and stretch, balance, and tone specifically for healthy back bending, layback, and ATS® backbend stylization, in a way that completely supports and saves your lower back. Class includes Dance Therapeutics exercises by Deb Rubin, as well as direct application to your ATS® dancing, with a lead-and-follow section from Carolena and Fat Chance Belly Dance® teachers.

8. Healthy Knees:

Learn practices that balance, stretch, and strengthen the supporting structures of the knees, to create alignment and stability in the knee joint, to support both your dancing and your daily life. In this class, we look at the key relationship between hip, knee, and foot, with mat and standing practices to open the hips and legs, and align the knees. You will also learn basic anatomy and Deb Rubin’s unique Fascia approach to understanding and balancing the belly dance body—the basis of her Dance Therapeutics Training Program. This class includes Dance Therapeutics mat sequence, standing dance prep sequence to strengthen legs and core that support the knee, and direct application to ATS® belly dance, with a lead-and-follow dance section guided by Carolena Nericcio or Fat Chance Belly Dance® members.

**Props needed for this class: Strap or scarf, and a chair for support.

9. Graceful Transitions To & From the Floor:

In this class, you will learn specific Dance Therapeutics sequences to tone the core and central line of the body, and improve your strength and balance to help you with levels and floor work. You will learn Deb Rubin’s 'Pro Tips' for smooth transitions both down to the floor and back up, in a way to take pressure off your knees and save your back. We follow this up with direct integration of these new abilities into your dancing, through a lead-and-follow ATS® dance flow that includes transitions to and from the floor, led by Carolena and/or members of Fat Chance Belly Dance®.

Props used in this class: Yoga mat and block.

10. Dance Therapeutics for Finger Cymbal Playing:

Learn this great seated Dance Therapeutics sequence designed to be the perfect warm up for your finger cymbal playing. Focusing on unlocking the fascia chains of the arms as they connect in to the core, this practice will bring relief, fluidity, and agile dexterity to your hands, arms, wrists, elbows, shoulders, and chest for your finger cymbal playing. In this class, you’ll also get an Introduction to FASCIA and it’s crucial role in body fluidity and mobility. To learn more about fascia and it's important role in your dancing body, visit: Integrative Anatomy for Dancers.

11. Fluid Spine, Fluid Mind - Step 1 to Flow States:

Learn how to unwind the spine--tailbone to skull--releasing back pain, improving fluidity in the shoulders, torso, and spine, calming the mind, and preparing the body for belly dance. As we synch breath to body movements, feel your nervous system relax, your muscles and fascia stretch and lengthen, and learn how to drop into states of flow for your dancing joy and stage performance.

Class begins with gentle, fluid Dance Therapeutics practices on your yoga mat, and continues with direct application of these practices into your standing ATS® dance vocabulary, through a lead-and-follow dance flow, so you can feel the benefits in your movement right away.

12. Partner Yoga & Assisted Stretching:

Grab a friend, dance sister, or troupe mate, and enjoy this light-hearted and deeply nourishing partner yoga and assisted stretching class, designed to help you deepen your stretches, unlock the body, prep your body for dancing, and build presence, trust, and connection between troupe mates. So much about dancing ATS® in a group is about those nonverbal cues, nonverbal communication, and energetic connections between dancers. In addition to being a great work-out and helping you unlock common stuck areas in the body like hips, back and shoulders in deeper way, this class also helps cultivate those nonverbal qualities that help take your dancing and performance to the next level. Grab a friend, and have fun!

13. A Restorative Practice:

Join Carolena, Michiyo, and Deb for this delicious, restorative Dance Therapeutics mat practice designed to calm your mind and deeply relax and restore the body. In this class, you will stay in floor poses for an extended amount of time, and use pillows and props to fully support your joints and body to completely relax. Great to use after a dance class or rehearsal as an extended cool down, after a gig to balance out your post-gig adrenaline rush, or anytime in your home practice to deeply relax the nervous system and bring your whole body back to balance.

**Props used for this class: Bolster (or pillows), yoga strap, and blanket (or folded towels).

Modifications given for all levels.

To learn more about Dance Therapeutics trainings and certification programs, or to schedule your Dance Therapeutics individualized session via skype, visit:

To learn more about American Tribal Style® Dance, and study further with Carolena Nericcio and Fat Chance Belly Dance®, visit:

Your Instructor

Deb Rubin & Carolena Nericcio
Deb Rubin & Carolena Nericcio

Deb Rubin, MA, CMT, RYT, is an internationally-acclaimed performer & teacher of tribal fusion belly dance, a yoga teacher, bodyworker, and women’s health coach, helping people unwind tension and trauma in their bodies to live and move with freedom and ease. One of the leading voices in modern tribal fusion belly dance, Deb is proud to be a product of the vibrant, world-renown San Francisco Bay Area scene—The mecca of where it all began. She is grateful for her teachers Carolena Nericcio, Jill Parker, Rachel Brice, Suhaila & Jamila Salimpour, Zoe Jakes, & Heather Stants for their artistry and influence. Deb teaches workshops, retreats, and trainings around the world, fusing Yoga, Tribal Fusion Belly Dance, Performance Artistry, & Therapeutics. She is the founder of SattyaBody Healing Arts, SF Mecca Immersion, the director of Project Merkaba Dance Co, and creator of Dance Therapeutics multi-leveled training and certification programs. With 20 yrs. experience working hands on with clients in the field of mind/body medicine, and 30+ years in the dedicated study and performance of dance (many genres), Deb has created her Dance Therapeutics multi-leveled, accredited training program and apprenticeships as a pathway to support dancers in deepening their knowledge, self-care, somatic intelligence, & empowerment. Blending the best of science and artistry, ancient Yoga wisdom with modern Fascia and anatomy research and techniques, the program offers healthy tools to unlock and balance dancers' bodies, improve mobility, prevent injuries, and improve performance.

Deb holds a BA in pre-med and psychology from Princeton University, an MA in Holistic Health education and somatics from JFKU, Yoga teacher trainings from Integrative Yoga Therapy, as well as 20+ years yoga practitioner and teacher continuing study with her main teachers: Shiva Rea, Gary Kraftsow, Acro Yoga, Erich Shiffman, and Mark Whitwell, Massage & Bodywork trainings from San Francisco School of Massage, Sunshine Network in Thailand, Tom Meyers, and McKinnon Massage School. She created and taught the Thai massage program at McKinnon Massage School in the early 2000’s, and has had a private practice (massage therapy, yoga therapeutics, trauma unwinding) for almost 2 decades. Deb is published in Yoga Journal Magazine, and FUSE magazine, has co-taught with her mentor Shiva Rea, and is currently getting her E-500RYT through Samudhra School of Living Yoga. For more on Deb, or dance therapeutics, visit:

Carolena Nericcio is the dynamic founder of the worldwide dance phenomenon called American Tribal Style® Dance. An early fascination of permanent body adornment lead 8-year-old Carolena to request that her father, Carl, a collector himself, to buy a ring she could “wear always and not take off”. This concept evolved into the study of folkloric textiles, a body full of tattoos and a collection of jewelry and textiles from around the world.

The discovery of belly dance led to the creation of her own dance style, American Tribal Style® (ATS®) Belly Dance. FatChanceBellyDance® was founded by Carolena Nericcio in 1987 and immediately captured the attention of audiences worldwide with stunning dance performances featuring majestic costuming and layers of tribal jewelry. The music, a carefully chosen collection of both traditional sounds and modern fusion adds to the effect. American Tribal Style® looks old, but it is actually new.

Frequently Asked Questions

When does the course start and finish?
The course starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online course - you decide when you start and when you finish.
How long do I have access to the course?
How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days and we will give you a full refund.

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