For reasons that are just too painful to talk about right now, I will be re-locating back to the Bay Area again. I will be there starting in March (actually end of February, but jetlag and such).
So why write a blog?
To talk briefly about dance, what it means to my dance, teaching and performance life when I get back.
Well, let's start here, I've lived in Germany now about 3 years. the first couple of years...and still, I've struggled with being a foreigner, the outsider. New language, people, places, culture, everything.
I have over all LOVED my experience. And anyone that knows me, knows I'm not particularly, a "good American" whatever that means, can mean. I think every person in the world (withing capabillities to do so), and maybe especially Americans, need to get out into the world, live somewhere else, be the foreigner, the new person, not knowing anything, not 'being number one'. I think it's a nessicary for personal development and growth as a person. EVOLVE! :}
I digress...
So, leaving the Bay intitally for me, was at least in my mind, a relatively easy thing to do. Giving up everything I had there, friends, the little family I concitter myself to have, DANCE, teaching, being in troupes, availabillity of AMAZING teachers there. Though, I hardly ever went to classes when I was there. More for reasons of not having enough money. Living in the Bay Area, even in Oakland, means working, a lot.
This is something that I came to appreciate SO MUCH while living here. When you live without something, when you change your life, you gain perspective. Now, living here, without all the amazing dance teachers, I have seen what I let pass me by while living in the Bay.
You know what they say about hindsight....
On my trip back, the first time back to the Bay in 2 1/2 years, I spent many many hours in dance classes, studied, trained for took and passed Suhailah L1 Certification. i was not going to let the opportunity of being there amoung these great people, this time pass me by.
There is so much to be said, the parallels of what goes on inside someone to what their life is like on the outside. Giving things up, and taking them back with  new appreciation...
So, for 2 years living in Germany, I was the new kid, struggling to make something of myself, struggling to get visas to stay, struggling with the language, therefor Jobs, therefor money, therefor dance was completely sacrificed, I sat around the house a lot. I was far more dependant on others than I'm used to being. Someone that might have known me living here in Germany, might not understand who I am. In my element, I'm EXTREEMLY independant. Self assured, strong. It has been a challenge here for me, but in the same breath, it's been an valuable experience, and one I will never matter what my heart says to me right now...I will be a better person for this experience.
So, finally, I had learned enough German, started to earn JUST ENOUGH money, and started feeling like I DESERVED to start feeding my soul and my passions again, SCENE: Dance re-enters the room.
This was via, a job only a 15 year old would work...onto a shitty bar job (one I would NEVER deal with if I were back home and in my own elements), irregular work piercing, irregular Professional Make up Jobs, Hustling basically, to make enough money to start honoring myself and the things I love once more. Wake up those sleepy sleepy head parts of myself again.
I started going to workshops. I started believing in myself, started taking classes and started writing schools about coming to teach.
One of the emails I sent out came back, they wanted to meet with me. Semiramis dance School. we started, I would give a workshop, it was a success. So we booked another one, another success, happy students, happy teacher (me), happy owner of the studio, eventually leading to being offered a weekly class there.
THESE PEOPLE saved my sanity, busting ass to start dancing and teaching again. I will be forever greatful to them Thank you Beatrice and Christelle.
And now we have this wonderful weekly class that has been running for a while, a little student shuffeling, people in and out, always new ones trickling in...And a base group of students, so far, only women (I've had male students too in classes throughout my teaching experience). These women, what are we now 8? I love these ladies. these people who continue to stick with me, are willing weekly to work so hard, these people who TRUST ME with their dance form, with their minds and bodies for 90 minutes (at least) every week. I love my students so much. And I feel pretty aweful I am having to leave my class, to look at the faces while I tell them, I have to leave, and I'm sorry, that I wanted us to continue, that I love them, that I will miss them...and finally, that THEY were the reason I am not leaving immediately, that my decision to stay for another few weeks was to give them a half of a series of classes. I feel I owe it to them. They are the highlight of every week here. I can be having the worst possible day, and I go to class, and no matter how I walked in, I walk out feeling amazing and happy and good.
Dear students, I love you. I wish I could put the school in my pocket and take you with me, but luggage fees are outrageous. I also wish I was famousey enough, or THAT good of a teacher, people could afford to fly me out, then I'd come kick your asses in the studio from time to time. At this time, this is not the case, so you will just have to try to take a look at what I'm trying to express from my heart and hold that. Also, please keep dancing! I'll keep in contact and suggest teachers and workshops as much as I know of. Please keep dancing!
So, coming back to the Bay.
Well, you can't throw a rock without hitting an amazing belly dance instructor. What does this mean for me and teaching? I'm not sure. What does this mean for my dancing? Oh it's ON!! I will hit the classes and workshops, as much as I can afford to go, hit it hard and have my ass handed to me! No better place than the bay to have your ass handed to you in dance class. I can't wait.
As far as teaching? Well, the Bay is oversaturated with teachers. And I don't like stepping on toes either...
So, I've tossed around the idea a bit, what to do? I think I'll stay out of SF, and probly Oakland too in regards to teaching. (unless I find some amazing space to live in Oakland that has a dance studio in it).
I know this, I will offer private lessons for sure. And maybe we'll look around Marin/Petaluma Area, offer something like class series, see how that goes. I think it's not stepping on anyone's toes to offer a class in an area I know people won't travel out of to go take classes elsewhere like Oakland or Sf.
I know I'm not "X" dancer/teacher or "X" dancer/teacher. but I'm a damn good teacher, and I've spent since 2007 developing MY OWN teaching regiment, and I give credit to everyone EVERYONE, when I teach things I've learn. I've groomed and weeded and built and stripped and polished and let evolve, what I teach. Basically when it makes me go "AHA!" it's added into the curriculum.
I have a hellavalot to offer as a teacher. And I promise I will pay attention to you, and notice what you're doing and make corrections, and I also promise I'll be dislexiqu do you spell that!? (I won't know right from left, I'll say elbow when I mean knee), I'll frustrate you, and challenge you, I will find your personal limit and push you to it, cause you deserve that. YOU'RE PAYING for that. I promise I will know WHY a body part is moving that way, and I promise when I don't I'll tell you I don't and to be careful then with the movement. I promise I will kick your ass in the workout and I promise even though the class is 90 minutes, we will almost never get out on time because I never feel like the class is over and you deserve as much time and attention and detail as possible when you take dance classes, and you deserve and need sttretching and a cool down to keep your body safe when we feel like the work is over.
I have a hell of a lot to offer as a teacher, and I hope I find my place back in the Bay somewhere, because I truly love to teach.
I want to take one moment to acknowlege the dance community I found here. thank you dear belly dance friends (it's all "belly dance" to me). Europeans get a little offended when it's reffered to as "Belly Dance"....anyhow.
If it weren't for you over the last year, my time out here, teahcers, students, dance partners, and just friends made just through belly dance festivals and such, my time here would have been harder than it was. You helped me find part of myself and part of my voice again, I thank you one million times.

Dear Future,
Hey, I know I'm not perfect. But let's face it, I've tried DAMN hard. What's say, you cut me a deal, and I cut you one, or promise to hold up my end of taking care of myself as best I can. I'll even keep working on those parts of being open with people, not becoming hardend, taking it easier on myself, forgiving other people and myself, trusting my instincts and intuition RIGHT AWAY, if you, just cut me a break? We can do better than this. You and me dear Future, we're gonna be best friends and wickedly delicious lovers, a force to be reconed with.
ps. I'm serious about the gardening, pickling veggies, sewing, and chicken thing.   

See you soon Bay Area. xo

And Other notes on my visit back to the US...

Nov. 2nd 2012. I'll never forget the date.
I won't forget how akward I felt standing in front of the woman herself. SUHAILA SALIMPOUR. I have to laugh, because in a way it's  silly to be so nervous, she is a lovely, encourraging, wonderful woman. She also doesn't allow for slacking, tough love in the best way possible. I won't speak too much about the test itself, rather encourrage you to go and do this for yourself.
What is a Suhaiala Level1 test? What does it mean? IT DOES NOT MEAN, I can go out and teach her format. (I believe you have to be Certified level 3 to teach the Salimpour Format). What is it then? It's a personal test and a goal...and a start to you on your way to the higher certifications.
To stand in front of this woman, (my favorite teacher of all time), have her call out and assess you in HER format, the most ass kicking format I have found to date, and then get her approval. It's amazing. It was hard work, training, I was in classes about 3 times a week 1-3 classes each of those days at 'the mother ship' The School itself in Albany California, I had 2 private lessons with Andrea Sendek (amazing woman for preparing people for the certifications). Went to Andrea's seperate Suhaila Format Classes at the FCBD Studios. Had to read, study, make myself understand classical dance speak, and Suhaila format Speak, had to pull out, dust off, and make friends again with my finger cymbols (we're still working some stuff out)...
And still made some time for a few other classes, with Strangebrew, and visits with friends, eating all the foods I haven't had here in Europe over the last 2 1/2 years, helped mama at home with her broken ankle, made it to Shadow Dance and Unmata's 10 Year Anniversary Show -Blood Moon. Got to see dear friends, places, and the shopping...woa mama.
Anyhow, so I had been back and forth in my mind in my security level of how I would do on the test, I went everywhere from, yeah, whatever i got this to, oh shit, I'm not gonna make it.
We had to set up a private test for me while I was in the US, I wouldn't be there in the normal test date times (people lucky enough to live n the area are able to take the test on specific group testing dates - check the website for those dates), for me I would miss her in Europe until sometime next year, and miss the normal test dates at the studio, the "Mothership" in Albany California.
So, Nov. 2nd 2012, 11am, just me and Suhaiala...
It was all done in about an hour hour and a half, then I HAD TO WAIT, It was a very hard few hours. Checking email often, then all of a sudden it was there, and i smiled, my finger going towards the button to open up the email...then i pulled it back, waited a couple of seconds, then pushed the button, and heres what i saw:

Dear Keri,

Congratulations!  You have passed the Suhaila Salimpour School of Dance Level 1 Certification Test.  Due to your hard work, you have proven your proficiency in Level 1 in the Suhaila Salimpour Belly Dance Format.  We are very excited about the impact this format is having on the Middle Eastern Dance community, and we are proud that you have chosen to become a part of Suhaila's program.  In about 4-6 weeks, you will receive your personalized certificate in the mail as proof of passing the Level 1 written and practical exam.

Happy happy Keri. I did the hard work and it paid off! Now the trick, is continuing that work now. i will be joining the online classes and keeping up with what I've learned and continue to challenge myself, because I deserve it.
Do you know what's even better than the certification? To learn more things about myself as a dancer (and as a person). Who knew? I didn't really know i was so in love with my finger cymbals, I expect to keep up with that and get much better at it, they're fucking beautiful when played right, with interesting patterns, and funny, even though i have a very hard time w left hand dominant, I preffer it. I also learned to LOVE the work being asked of my legs and building those up, I also learned that y body is pretty smart, it can do a lot, and i owe it to my body and myself to ever find challenges and confront myself with it, my body and I, we're kinda stuck together, we deserve this stuff. xo
Download for German version can be found here:
(click on singer lady in right bottom corner, then download)

In this interview, there is Plan B magazine something different questions than a musician. Here is the "Keri Lonhard - Miss Anthrope - Tribal Fusion Dance" project demand. Keri Lonhard are on the following questions of Plan B magazine for information about this project.

Interview with Keri:

Plan B magazine: Keri, how did it happen that you have this tribal fusion dance project started and how long have you been doing this?
*Keri: I guess the 'project' would be me, and projects I work on, which is always a work in progress! I guess it's impossible for me to talk about how I came to be, where I fit in, in belly dance of today without also including whatever history I know (as best I've learned & with my own experiences and memories). I was always interested in Belly Dance...especially so as a teenager, but it wasn't until 1998 I would take my first Belly Dance class, and start my study and life long obsession of belly dance...even to this day I take classes and Workshops as often as possible. I think there is no art form can you ever learn enough in! I first started studying the dance with a group in the San Francisco area called "Fat Chance Belly Dance" headed by the director Carolina Nerriccio. There, I learned a style of belly dance called A.T.S. (American Tribal Style). After about a year and a half of studying there, in that style, I started looking for other belly dance classes, eventually finding classes with Jill Parker, the director of "Ultra Gypsy" out of the Oakland/San Francisco area. I had never seen a belly dancer move with such grace and style!! I had taken a few classes with Jill before being asked to dance with the group at an event called Rakkassah, the biggest annual belly dance event - at that time, in our area. I was thrilled and honored and excited and very very nervous! It was the start of my performing career, ready or not. I would come to dance with the group for the next year or so. It was changing times for belly dance back in those days which I can clearly see now, at that time, around 2000, what Jill was teaching I think we simply referred to it as "Tribal Belly Dance", if I remember correctly. It was fresh and new and exciting!! Jill was an original member of the Fat Chance Belly Dance troupe, and she split away eventually to start her own troupe Ultra Gypsy. She had a strong background in the A.T.S. Style, so for instance, some of my first performances with the U.G., we were still wearing Turbans, Cholis and Pantaloons, and large A.T.S. Style skirts and the whole works! Eventually after conversations and much debate, we decided, or were allowed, by Jill, to take off the Turbans and start experimenting with the costumes, choreography ideas and music! What an exciting time it was, and so was the birthing of what would become today, "Tribal-Fusion". My run with the wonderful, innovative and renowned "Ultra Gypsy" gave me such an experience foundation for performance. Also passing through Ultra Gypsy would be some of the biggest names out there today in the world of Tribal-Fusion. Just a few of the people's names the folks reading may get an idea; Jill Parker of course, Sharon Kihara, Meliza Wells, Rose Harden, Shawna Rye, Erin Harper, Tanja Odzak-Goppold, I was lucky enough to dance with these girls in U.G. And most of them in projects and troupes after U.G. There were others that were in that troupe before my arrival there, such as Frederique (Lady Fred), and others who came to the troupe after I had left, such as the infamous Rachel Brice. There were MANY MANY talented dancers coming through U.G., please forgive me if I have left some names out, I'm trying to focus this on my experience with the group plus a little background information. It's QUITE A LONG belly dance history we all have and not enough time in a short interview to cover all of it.

After Ultra Gypsy, I went on to create my own troupe called "LAPSUS". I found it to be a creative outlet for doing things I wanted to do...a little.....ummm, uncommon, a little darker, or experimental and closer to my heart than what I perceived as being done in belly dance at that time. It was clear the door had been left open for change and evolution of Belly Dance, and that, was an opportunity that I and my dance companions took to push boundaries and explore what could be done with belly dance. We would experiment with some very unusual music, fire, theatrics, themes and fusion of movements.

I was the founder of LAPSUS, but ran it as a collective troupe. Everyone would have a say in the troupe, the costumes, music, make-up, music, shows and incoming troupe members. We would be an active troupe on and off since around 2000 (origional incarnation would be, myself, Meliza Wells, Jo Dankosky Braden, Sharon Kihara, Shawna Rye, Deb Campbell and Carrie Arrota). After a long pause, LAPSUS had a reemergence in 2007, with it's newest incarnation being myself, Meliza Wells, Erin Harper and Andrea Costantino, later joining the troupe would be Tanja Odzak-Goppold, Nizhoni Ellenwood and Raven Ebner. We have even had the lovely Ariellah as a guest artist!

After U.G. And alongside LAPSUS and my many other dance and performance projects, I've found even more, amazing dance teachers, such as Ariellah, Zoe Jakes, Rachel Brice, Amy Sigil, and the most impact and influence on my dance technique, Suhaila Salimpour.

A personal thank you for all my teachers along the way! INCLUDING fellow dancers. We all learn from each other, all of us!

Plan B Magazine: What can imagine the reader can refer to "Tribal Fusion Dance"?

Keri: That is not an easy question to answer. I guess maybe the most modern version of belly dance? The key word in the description being "fusion". The fusion, in the title, allows for the dancer to interpret whatever they want into a belly dance form. I think it allows a freedom of dance expression not as widely seen in other styles of Belly Dance. Of course you will find a basic set of belly dance moves as a common language throughout different forms of Tribal-Fusion belly dance. But what it's fused with can be very different. I have seen belly dance fused with Flamenco, Goth, Regge, Traditional Dances, Dub-step, Hip-hop, Fire, you name it, it's probably happening somewhere these days. Best thing to do, if the reader wants to find out more about what to expect from Tribal-Fusion Belly Dance, is to spend some time watching some videos on youtube. Look up the names of the teachers and dancers I've listed in the interview and also just explore the videos that come up, plus, probably my new favorite dancer Illan Rivere. A 19 year old young man from France, brilliant dancer! I was lucky enough to take a workshop with him as well....I HIGHLY SUGGEST all I'v listed, to go take classes and workshops from, to those interested in learning this form of Belly Dance.

Plan B Magazine: On the Internet there are photos in the gallery where you Feuerspuckst how something works and what you had to go through it while you learn it?

Keri: In learning to work with fire, I think the things I had to go through would be what people expect them to be. I first learned how to work with fire in 1998, from a long time fire performer. He drilled safety and knowledge of fire into our heads, including the kinds of clothes one should wear while working with fire, how to wear our hair, what to be aware of while working with such a dangerous thing. First things first, you learn "Fire-safety". Please don't ever start playing with fire without first learning from someone with enough experience to know what they are doing, and how to do it safely! You learn what to do if something goes wrong, you have people watching the people that are playing with the fire. These people are ready to put out fire in case something goes wrong. You learn very quickly a respect for fire. If you don't respect it, it will get you. You should learn how to make your own fire equipment, how fire works, how long it burns, about the fuel you use, how to put it out, how to hold and work with your different fire apparatuses, and after all the safety and technical learning, then you learn how to make it beautiful, graceful, and how to incorporate it into your dance. Something like fire-breathing, you first practice with water until you learn how to control the liquid. I won't explain the how to, we don't want people trying at home without an experienced person or few with them.

Plan B Magazine: You're doing performances and workshops, please tell us more:

Keri: In the U.S. I was performing often. I left the U.S. In March of 2010. Up until that time, was doing a lot of shows. With LAPSUS, some Suspensions troupes such as C.o.R.E., side troupes such as L'Anonyme Collective, even my own drag troupe called MAN-A-SAURUS-REX! And had only after so many years of dancing just really begun exploring dancing as a solo belly dance artist. For classes: I gave weekly classes 2 times a week. One time a week in S.F. And one time a week in Oakland. After coming to Germany, I didn't know the language, the people, the opportunities available here. It took some adjusting, finding some work, and some exploring and taking risks, but as of a few months ago I have started get my self out in the belly dance world here, and begun building something. I've also been going to classes here in Basel to Beatrice Holm on Tuesday evenings, and Lörrach on Thursday evenings to Claudia Bachmann. I'v also taken workshops in Germany and other countries, wherever my most admired teachers are teaching I will go to them when possible! In early March I had a performance at a Workshop show night at San Lo' in Rome. And another in Basel Switzerland in middle March. I've taken on a private student here and have taught 2 Workshops. March 18th was: "Tribal-Fusion Technique and Refinement". June 17th was actually 2 workshops in one day: "Unique You, Timing and Musical Interpretation" and "Tribal-Fusion Presence, Postures and Combos" both Hosted by my friend, student, and soon to be dance companion, Christelle Gasser , at the Tanzstudio Semiramis in Basel Switzerland, where she is also a Belly Dance teacher. Starting August 13th, I will be teaching 8-9:30 Monday evening Tribal-Fusion Belly Dance class at studio Semiramis in Basel. The class is open to all skill levels.

I also have a workshop coming up, Friday October 5th in Offenburg at the Tribal Festival there! This one will be "Layering Techniques, Drills and Conditioning for Tribal-Fusion Belly Dance". This is my stuff. I work the students really hard in conditioning and training muscles and techniques needed for this dance. I present some really challenging stuff, but it's somehow fun, and it's so worth it! My next will performance will be at Tribal Festival Offenburg, myself and my dance companions! Festival/Workshop information here:

Plan B Magazine: What is the future of "Keri Lonhard - Miss Anthrope - Tribal Fusion Dance" project is expected?

Keri: I plan to keep expanding my own dance education, and the dance education of others. I want to take a lot of dance, including Hip Hop, Flamenco, Indian, Modern Jazz, Ballet, and a variety of Belly Dance classes/workshops. I hope to expand my student base with my Monday night class in Basel, upcoming workshops, & performances. I'm hoping this modern style of belly dance really catches on out here, I think people will love it!

I will be working with friends of mine, & respected teachers in some dance projects.:

Christelle Gasser ( )

and Claudia Bachmann ( )

Plan B Magazine: On your website is that you come from California, what drives you in the South German province?

Keri: Short answer? Love. That and I always wanted to live in Germany. My Husband is German. Norman Lonhard (of Pigeon Toe and Triptykon) He's from Lörrach. In 2010 I was traveling Scandinavia and the E.U. (selling merchandise for a friends' band). His band Triptykon, was playing Roadburn Festival in Tilburg Holland, we met there and....well, my plans to go live in Berlin changed just a little bit! Hahah. Everybody always thinks I'm crazy for leaving San Francisco to come live in Southern Germany...but I find this area extremely beautiful! Everyone thinks it must be boring here compared to there and I think it's far from it! It's definitely different, but you have things here and can live here unlike you can in S.F. We're close to France and Switzerland. Italy is not far. A few hours ride in any direction and I'm in a completely different country, different culture and language and landscape! Here everything is old and beautiful. Statues everywhere, stone lined streets and pathways, rivers, Churches, the Black Forrest! Our next door neighbor is a Horse Riding School and Stalls!! So maybe there's not a ton of clubs or night life or something to do, but it's not the kind of thing that is important to me. I think living and learning life in a culture that's not mine is a great opportunity. It's important for people to do this kind of stuff, learn languages and cultures and places outside of their own, outside of their comfort zones, so to speak, and create a larger perception of life and this world we live in.

Plan B Magazine: On your website looks very mystical of all, but I do think a lot of fun with the thing you have, please tell yet curious or funny story?


Yes a lot of the pictures on my website are older pictures of my group LAPSUS. It was very experimental, mystical, dark. The performances were really heavy (and hot!! fire....get it?), and a lot of our photos reflected that heaviness. But, with that said, we always had a ton of fun in rehearsals. Running around, smacking each other, making jokes and being goofy. We even had 'red wine rehearsals'! (exactly what it sounds like) I have a really strange sense of I might find some humor in things that, you may have to be there for to understand. Like, how do I tell you how funny it was to be practicing "throwing up" for a performance with canned creamed corn?? Or how to make the "blood pack" for the next performance?? A couple interesting ways to see our humor come out, we would build some fun stuff into the choreography, just so we would not be taking ourselves too seriously and the audience, if paying attention, could have fun with. For instance, regular floor/knee spin was a Patrick Swayze move from the movie "Dirty Dancing". (R.I.P. You were the Swayziest!) We ended one choreography with the Vincent Price "Thriller laugh". Another time we choreographed in a Michael Jackson Thriller Zombie move into our Tribal-Fusion choreography, but acted totally normal about it. No one got it, that was devastating! Hahah. These days I'm more into going into more beautiful, more polished dancing than I was then...But those were some fun times! I think over all, you should learn and learn, continually expand yourself, your limits and abilities, train hard, and always do what you want and have fun! And as far as me personally, I look really wild I suppose, but I love being home, spending time with the Husband and the animals, cooking, red wine and a movie. I love time with friends, and really being close to the people I love. Outside of dance, next things I want to learn? Gardening and Sewing! I don't know if that's funny...

For more information:

This link I will leave you here with is an old LAPSUS interview I did for "Big Top Magazine", that was later named "Culture Flux" (from the amazing kSea Flux's mind) in 2007. I may become this other person onstage, but in real life I am kind of reserved and shy. This was my first interview, and I must make immediate apologies for being so nervous I forgot a couple of names & info, we had a short amount of time to get the interview out on time and I didn't take my time with my answers. It's good refference for over-all what was going on at that time, but it's to be taken with a grain of salt. I am interviewing for another magazine issue That is coming out and runs August/September issue of the German magazine "Plan B". In that interview, I have taken my time, added something about the history of how things came to be, and included all the names and info that should be there, relevant to LAPSUS. This old interview, imperfections and whatnot, makes me miss LAPSUS so hard! All the fire safety, all the support from LAPSUS admirers, Lucci, who was the closest thing we had to a manager. All the wink wink, nudge nudge, venue owners that let us do what we did with ALL THAT FIRE & fake blood, in their clubs, all the girls for all their willingness to try some really crazy shit with me, all our guest artists, including Ariellah, kSea Flux himself, Kelly, Lucci again, Brad for our photo shoot and great live snap shots, Aaron for letting us have all those dangerous and loud rehearsals in his home....just, wow. I am forever greatful for everything that came together to support us in doing what we did!
Forever yours...     -KERI LONHARD