Fat Chance Style® (ATS®) Belly Dance is modern dance form created in San Francisco, California, in the 1980s by Carolena Nericcio, director of Fat Chance Belly Dance®. Favoring folkloric Egyptian music, and using modified movements from dances from North Africa, Spain and India, a group of dancers use a series of non-verbal cues, gestures and step combinations that can form an improvisational dance that looks choreographed but really isn't. For more information on ATS®, click here.
The Current Members
Maria Naja Richardson
Director & Instructor
Born in Brooklyn, NY now in Linden, New Jersey, Naja (Maria Richardson) has been belly dancing since 2002. She has studied under Mariyah of Brooklyn, NY, and from 2004 -2006, was a member of the Alchemy Tribal Collective directed by Sarah Johansson Locke, formerly of Gypsy Caravan of Oregon. Also studying under Dalia Carella, Puela Lunares and Siliva Salamane, Naja discovered her passion for Flameno and Zambra. She is a founding member of Manhattan Tribal, directed by Mimi Fontana, NYC’s first ATS® belly dance troupe and Fat Chance Sister Studio®. In 2009, Naja created and is Director of Tribe Hamsa, Staten Island's first ATS belly dance troupe and Fat Chance Sister Studio®.
Naja has performed all across the NY/NJ/CT area and many other venues throughout the country. In January, 2010 & 2014, she traveled to Paris to perform with Manhattan Tribal at Festival Bellyfusions. She is Certified, General Skills (2009) and Teacher Training (2010), by Fat Chance Belly Dance® of San Francisco.
When not teaching or performing with Tribe Hamsa, Naja is an Information Governance professional at a major law firm.
Hillary began her study of Middle Eastern Dance in 2006 and trained in traditional Egyptian raqs sharqi until 2013, when she began taking classes in Fat Chance Style (ATS) from Mimi Fontana, director of Manhattan Tribal. Hillary was invited to join the Manhattan Tribal Collective in 2014 and Tribe Hamsa (directed by Maria Naja Richardson) in 2016. Hillary is currently based in NYC and has performed throughout New England and the Tri-State area.
Hillary adores the interactive group dynamic of FC Style, and especially the 'oldschool opulence' costuming aesthetic. She regularly creates or alters her own costume pieces for performances; as a plus-sized dancer, she believes that no one should have to abandon a beloved piece because of their size. She also is the founder and owner of Third Eye Bling, a shop for facial adornments for all types of dancers with a specific focus on the bindis used in Fat Chance (ATS) costuming.
Mira Naïf discovered bellydance in 2009 under the guidance of Shems of Baltimore and fell in love with the dance form. Upon returning to Brooklyn, NY in 2011, she studied Egyptian Style bellydance with Arianna Al Tiye for several years. She also studies with Dalia Carella and has had the good fortune of performing with the Dalia Carella Performance Project on several occasions. She has also studied other dance forms including samba and flamenco. Mira Naïf has been a member of Pure Onyx Movement (POM) bellydance troupe since 2012. It was during a POM show in 2014 that Mira was introduced to Fat Chance Style Bellydance® by Maria Naja. She was instantly attracted to the flamenco and Indian stylization as well as the opportunity to create unique choreography using synchronized improvisation. She has studied with Mimi Fontana, Director of Manhattan Tribal and performed with the Manhattan Tribal Collective. Mira was honored to join Tribe Hamsa in 2015, where she enjoys the opportunity to learn and perform this unique genre of bellydance forthcoming