main page/topics
back to interviews

Interview with Isabel de Lorenzo
one of the promoters of
Roma Tribal Meeting

by Marcel Bieger

What brought the idea up, to make a Tribal Festival in Rome?

Gathering Tribal dancers in Rome is an old idea that for so many reasons was impossible to fulfill before now ... but this year I felt it's finally the right time! It's a long story - parallel to my life story - that I'll try to tell you in a few words. Twelve years ago (when I was 30!) I decided to move from Brazil to Europe, to try a new life, meet people, travel, study and be closer to the origins of Oriental dance. I used to be a writer and literature teacher, but in Italy I worked for 5 years as a belly dancer.

Then I met Lara Rocchetti, a dancer who was looking - just like me - for something more than just cabaret; we had cultural and community ideas about dance and begin to search a space to practice them. It was almost impossible ... Rome (and Italy in general) didn't understand our language ... and this was the beginning of an important project: the foundation of a studio/dance school where all ethnic dances could dialogue with the community, create intercultural works, produce performances and also theatrical shows, mix with contemporary art and grow up together with a new vision of a country that was changing with the arriving of people from so many countries. Italy was opening to the immigration. In a loft in the centre of Rome, we created San Lo' studio ( in 2003. By the same time, our dancing inspiration was moving from Oriental to Tribal style.

It's been such a hard work to build the studio as it's been arduousto to bring into being a Tribal interested community in Rome. And since the last seven years we are working for just that. We created the first Italian ATS troupe, Carovana Tribale, with only three members at the beginning, but now we are seven and there're so many students and fans! I met Geneva Bybee in Milan in 2007 and she began coming frequently to teach in the studio, and so Tribal Fusion interest began to grow as well. Now our friendship is solid, our studio is full and we felt it's time to put everything together, in this city where all times and tendencies coexist since centuries.
Since this is the first one for Tribal, have there never been classical belly dance or cabaret festivals in Rome, and is the Roman Tribal scene big enough or will there be artists from  whole Italy?

There's no big dance festival in Rome but many small events coexisting more or less in peace. We often organize workshops and shows with Italian and international dancers (BDSS, Mahamoud Reda, Anasma, Geneva Bybee, Leila Haddad, Susan Frankovich, Kimberly Mackoy, Myriam Szabo, Karim Nagi etc), but this is the first time we call all Tribal tendencies together, to dance and to discuss about the story and the future of tribal movement. In short, we work for more realities and more peace!

Do you still do both, cabaret and tribal?

Lara and I began with Oriental dance. I completely changed to tribal, while she keeps doing Classical Bellydance. Both of us are involved in theatrical experiences, contemporary expressions and music. Geneva of course is a tribal body and soul!

How did you get in touch with "Helm"?

I met Ling Shien and Mark Bell of Helm last Spring in Fairfax, their home town near San Francisco, CA. I went there to see their live concert with FCBD dancing. It was amazing and they were so nice, they exhale tribal roots! And so I invited them to come and they accepted. To share the travel costs, I found other two places in Europe (France and Slovenia) interested in organizing workshops with them by the same period.

How many people fit into the studio?

San Lo' has three studios (for 35, 25 and 15 persons dancing, respectively) and a performance space. The Show on Friday the 19th of November will be held in a concert hall (250 places); the Open Stage on Saturday the 20th of November will be held at the studio (60 places).

Are you planning to make a regular Festival out of Roma Tribal Meeting, even with more international artists?
Lara Ronchetti
Isabel de Lorenzo
one of the studion of "San Lo"
"Carovana Tribale"
Geneva Bybee
Photos: with kindly permission by Roma Tribal
Graphics and layout: Konstanze Winkler
We have many ideas...