Thursday, 1 September 2011


Split Tribal Fest is a quite young Tribal Festival. When we first heard about it in 2010, we didn’t know what to expect, but after we heard the praise from friends and saw the video clip, we regretted not going.
In 2011 we were prepared and made sure that nothing stood in our way to Split. We kept an eye on the festival website and as soon as registration opened we grabbed our spots with April Rose, Samantha Emanuel and The Lady Fred.

Split Tribal Fest is an ideal way to combine vacation with dancing. We arrived a few days earlier and spent our time discovering the wonderful Diocletian Palace, swimming in the sea and eating ice cream everyday while meeting other vacationing dancers.

First workshop we attended was „Making Choreography” with April Rose. Making choreography is always a challenge and with the tools learned in this workshop you can start creating your own process. She walked us through her choreography-making process using her piece „Caged Bird „which she later performed in the show. It was awesome, we recommend!

After a few hours of rest we headed to the „Opening Party“at the Beach Club, which was a perfect kick-off for the event and a great setting to meet old and new friends while enjoying lovely dancing. We especially liked Dajana’s performance and Sundari’s fire fan piece.

Friday was our day with Lady Fred who made us sing, clap, stomp, groan and make all kinds of noises to better understand and illustrate musicality. She assigned us into small „workgroups“ where we had to create our own music. So we found ourselves in a band with Rustiqua, Marta, Vesna & Alexis, our friends from many different countries that we now met all in one place and one workshop! It was the most fun workshop in a while and it made the evening show a very special experience when we recognized different parts of the music on the dancer’s body now with a new perspective.

Friday evening it was our own turn to dance our solos. It was an honor to perform on the most beautiful stage we have yet seen, an ancient place in the heart of Diocletian Palace vibrating with energy of thousand years of people gathering to see beauty, art, performance and speech. Even Doro’s sister and her husband travelled from the neighboring island to see the show.

The streets of Split were scorching hot, and the stone walls wouldn’t let go of the heat even after the sundown. Show preparations had to be adapted and we showered after doing our make-up and hair, and freshly showered put on our costume. Even though we were lucky and our apartment was right around the corner from the stage, after the two minutes it took us to walk to the stage, we were sweating again.
Samantha opened the show with an amazing piece that touched our hearts and gave us goosebumps.

After watching stars like Sam and Manca, it was not easy to get on the same stage. Partly awed and inspired, partly insecure and apprehensive, but the support from the audience was always there and the nervousness left us after the first step …

On Saturday we discovered our pectoral muscles in workshop with Samantha. And we played at gondolas, found our inner lighthouse and sweated during hours of precise technique drills. Water breaks were community time, everyone huddled under the air conditioning. As technique geeks, we loved the workshop!

In the evening we repeated our make-up – shower – hair- shower routine and met everyone backstage which were rooms kindly provided by a restaurant right at the Peristil square. We found practical window seats to watch the show till it was our turn, seated ourselves comfortably …and who did we spot in the audience? Doro’s sister with her husband!.Yesterday’s show must haveimpressed them so much that it was worth travelling again all the way to see today’s show as well!

April Rose opened the show with an amazing energetic Indian Fusion, followed again by many many talented fusion dancers. Our favorites were Amano Project with a contemporary influenced piece for five dancers, Tribal Jam with their James Bond piece and Elisabeth Strong’s Turkish Roman finale.

Our piece was influenced by steampunk aesthetics and partly Sharon Kihara’s choreography. Luckily for you Alexis was so kind to film it – big thanks!

On Sunday the festival came to an early end for us, as we had to leave early to catch our flights. We experienced Croatian airports extensively the whole day while waiting for our planes. There we had enough time to make plans for next year’s festival and quickly decided to stay longer, dance more, talk even more and bring friends! See you in a few weeks at Split Tribal Fest 2012!!
Doro & Michaela

This year’s workshop offering makes us really happy, because we can take workshops with many teachers that we don’t normally have access to, and especially those who bring fusion to a whole new level. There are still last few places left in several workshops, so you still have a chance to book yours!
Big thanks for pics by Urosh Cotman, Martina Crowe, Lenart Ferenc, Dan Fullard, Michaela Hamajova, Polly Headson, Florian Hölbling!

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