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Interview with
Devi Mamak
by Marcel Bieger

Devi Mamak started in far away Australia and is already a world wide known living legend. She not only has reached the top of the ATS ranking, she also extended the FCBD format with nine new steps. Her dance studio is a so called “sister studio”, means it’s a peer of the San Franciscan FCBD base.

In a few weeks, Devi will come to Germany and instruct her “nine steps” at Gabriella’s  - a once in a lifetime occasion for every dancer who wants to be top of the art from the very beginning on. How every thing came about she tells us in the following interview.

How come you achieved the Intensive Teacher Training Certificate, which not too many people in the world have achieved.

I started my teacher training with Carolena in 2004 after visiting her a second time. She was not offering GS (General Skills) & TT (Teacher Training) back then. It was a matter of me filming myself teaching & dancing, sending it to her, she would respond with a "that’s great" or "no not quite right" and I would have to do it again. It was a lot of hard work doing it this way but I know she left no stone unturned with me and I feel lucky to have done this with her. I finally completed my TT with her in 2006.
How are your relations (business and personal) with Carolena, how do you cooperate?

Carolena LOVES Australia and we have become friends as well as colleagues over the years. I sponsor her for GS, TT and workshops and on her days off she likes to hang out with me & my Family (my grandma loves her).Carolena has also asked me to co-teach the General Skills certificate in Taiwan and Australia and later this year I will again be accompanying her for both her GS sessions in Australia and Taiwan.
What did you have to do to become a "sister studio" of FCBD - again, not too many studios in the world have this status.

Again I think this was a lot of hard work on my part and patience. I have never worried about how long it may take to "get it" I just enjoy the journey of learning. I have a lot of respect for both my teachers, Kaiya and Carolena and I think these two things paired with the fact that Carolena [i think!] trusts my judgment on movement. What I mean by that is I think she trusts that even when creating new steps I am always thinking of the ATS posture and body alignment.
Devi und Carolena
Carolena und Devi
"This will be an opportunity for German dancers to be amongst the first in the world!"
Could you be a little bit more specific about your nine moves which have been added to the official FCBD format. How did that happen?

Well they have happened in various ways. Some I have seen FCBD perform over the years, those steps had fallen by the wayside and I resurrected them and changed and developed them further, others have come out of choreographies [we like choreographies as well as group improvisations] that we have done. We may have done something that fits specifically for the music and then it has been so pretty or we have enjoyed it so much that we then think of cues to make them work. I would say that my main influence for the steps apart from FCBD would be classical Indian dance (Odissi style) and Flamenco. Some of the steps definitely have that feel to them.
Would you please tell us something about that what you will instruct in Germany?

Well for sure the 9 new steps! We will have plenty of time for drilling and questions as well. This will be an opportunity for German dancers to be amongst the first in the world to learn these steps before the new FCBD DVD is made later this year! We will also look at other new combinations that would be suitable for tribal & fusion dancers that I have created, so lots of new stuff from down under!

I’m also a stickler for technique. The other workshops will be Slow & Slinky and Formations which Ghawazi Caravan are famous for as a troupe. And if anyone is interested I will be in Belgium the week after teaching different workshops again.

What has the future in store for ATS?

This will be interesting to see. Last year Carolena mentioned in a posting that everyone is free to create their own ATS steps. In June I will be making a DVD with her, Megha and Jennifer. This will be called Anatomy of a step. I imagine she will give the world an opportunity to create their own steps by giving us all guidelines to create steps that will keep the integrity of the ATS look.

I think FCBD (ATS) will remain what we have always loved about them, powerful, graceful and classic.