Carolena Nericcio, director and founder of FatChanceBellydance, has been dancing for over 30 years. In the 1990s she created the concept of American Tribal Style Belly Dance (ATS), a performance art form using a foundation of Middle Eastern belly dance that has been stylized and adapted for a contemporary American audience. It is a blend of cultural dance influences from India, Spain, North Africa and beyond. Carolena has developed a method of improvisational choreography, using a vocabulary of natural movements and cues allowing the dancers to communicate via gesture when dancing together. The effect is a vibrant thread, drawing the audience into the tapestry.

An American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer, Carolena incorporates the science of anatomy and fitness into her classes and workshops. Ten DVDs (performance, instruction and documentary) were produced with the help of a series of grants from the California Arts Council. Most recently she authored the book Belly Dance: A fun and fabulous way to get fit for Barnes and Noble publishers.

Her troupe, FatChanceBellyDance, is a Bay Area phenomenon that has become known around the world. Audiences delight at the exuberance, vitality, beauty and power expressed by the strong and agile dancers. Carolena and FCBD are regularly featured at major events such as the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival and Rakkasah West, and have traveled nationally and internationally to perform and teach workshops in ATS. As well as dancing at many clubs and festivals, Carolena and FCBD have produced four theatrical stage shows in San Francisco and offer regular classes in their unique dance style at the FatChanceBellyDance Studio and Resource Center in San Francisco’s Mission District. The studio houses a store containing a wide array of DVDs, books, music and costuming for Tribal Style Belly Dance, as well as an archive of videos, books and photographs from the FCBD “experience.”

For more about Carolena and FatChance, please visit

Photo credit Kristine Adams

Megha Gavin is a Birmingham, Alabama native who received her initial training from Carolena Nericcio, director of FatChanceBellyDance and originator of American Tribal Style Bellydance in San Francisco, California where she studied from 1996 to 1998. She is now certified by Carolena to teach the FatChanceBellyDance format and is the exclusive partner of FatChanceBellyDance.

After moving back to the south in 1998 and started teaching the first American Tribal Style classes in the region in New Orleans. From these classes emerged Devyani Dance Company. Megha returned to Birmingham in 2003 and opened Devyani Dance Center, the new permanent home of Devyani. She has well-attended workshops across the United States both individually and with her partner, Carolena Nericcio, on the Tribal:Pura tour celebrating the partnership of FatChanceBellyDance and Devyani Dance Company. Additionally, in 2003 Megha taught at the Majma Dance Festival in Glastonbury, England as a representative of FatChanceBellyDance.

Devyani Dance Company has performed at numerous festivals, weddings, private parties, gallery openings, theatrical productions and restaurants in New Orleans, Birmingham and at festivals across the country. Under Megha’s direction, Devyani was nominated for “Best Ethnic Dance Performance” of 2002 and 2003 by the Gambit Weekly in New Orleans, and “Best Emerging World Band or Performer” in 2002 and 2003 by Offbeat Magazine. Megha has been given the honor of presenting Tribal Style Bellydance to students in two Louisiana school systems and at UAB in Birmingham, AL.

For more information on Megha and Devyani, please visit