Tribal & Trance Festival 2008

Devi Mamak talks to festival director Debra Napier Of Urban Quabila

Wow! This year has really started with a bang. I can’t believe as I am putting together this article that it is already March!

I have just come back from Whittianga in N.Z. My hosts Tracey & Margy looked after us [hubby came this time] as they always do. I came back a few kilos heavier & sun burnt! Too much good food, vodka and glorious beach. We did also manage to get in some dancing however.

Both Tracey  Miller & Margy Morris are ex students of Susan Brown and when Susan left to get married in the U.S.A they were left without a teacher. What amazes me about these two women is that not only did they keep it going as best as they could without a teacher but they somehow even manage to get together every now and then to practice and even perform together. This is not an easy feat as Margy lives in the south Island and Tracey lives in the North island! Now that is dedication to the art!

One of the highlights for me was the Saturday night performances at a local Indian restaurant. Teachers Margy, Tracey & Bronnie presented their troupes with some of them performing for the very first time. I love seeing that nervous excitement that comes with a first performance and the relief and real sense of accomplishment when it was all over. I thought they all did a wonderful job.

This month I am also off to QLD for the Raqs Festival. Melissa Christina from Melbourne and myself will be the special guests. I am really looking forward to that one and will let you know all about it in the next article.

We also have Paulette Rees Denis coming once again to our shores for weekend workshops in Wollongong, N.S.W. Paulette will also be conducting her “Soul Collective” teacher training both in Sydney & Innisfail QLD. If you are interested in these please contact:

Jacky: for Wollongong

Deb: for Sydney

Nina: for Innisfail

Jacky form Tribal Jewels will also be hosting the next Student Soiree to coincide with Paulettes visit. This will be very exciting for the students and also for Paulette to be able to see what some of us are up to now and to see all the newer students performing. And of course we will all get to see Paulette perform which will be a real treat.

On a different note, and finally to the topic of this article, as many of you may already know I hosted the First Australian Tribal & Trance Festival in 2006. It was a huge success as many attended from all over the country, N.Z and we even managed to bring out Carolena & Megha as our special guests for the weekend.

Even thought it was a huge success I made the decision not to host another one as the work load was huge and I realized that I wanted to concentrate my energies on more artistic ventures. Luckily for all us Tribal enthusiasts Debra Napier of Urban Quabila has agreed to take on this mammoth task. I’m sure she will do a fabulous job. Here is what she had to say about her ideas for Tribal & Trance Festival 2008.

I want the festival to be a positive educational environment and a solid & supportive community experience.  In addition I’m hoping we’ll all come away inspired artistically and exhilarated from sharing a really enjoyable weekend together.” – Debra Napier



The first festival was one of the highlights of that year for me.  The supportive community spirit present and strong focuses on technique are two things that initially drew me to the dance form.  The first festival provided the chance to network with many dancers from varied artistic backgrounds and the standard of performance at the Red Carpet was inspirational.  When I heard that you Devi had decided to pass on running the festival again, I knew I had to give it a go.  I’m really excited about it.


The first festival provided an excellent template to work with so we’ll be using the same format; workshops, Red Carpet Night and Performance/Market Day [which we will be calling “The all day Soiree”.  In addition, previous attendees requested a meet and greet night so we could all get to know each other which Tribal Blossoms of Brisbane have offered to host. I would once again like to add a Tribal Jam to close the fest on the Sunday evening.  Really, improvisation is what unites us and imagine what a blast it will be improvising with so many people! It is also something that I would like to host once a year.


The festival will start on Friday evening 5th September and finish on Sunday evening 7th September.  At this point in time we are still in negotiations as to the venue.


I’m aiming for a broad range of traditional to modern workshops.  Some examples include Tribal Flamenco fusion with you, sword combinations and modern formats including Melusina from Underbelly’s Red Belly Black, Gypsy Noir of Canberra, fire fusion and 4 workshops run by our special guests.


I’m delighted to say that Heather Stants and Sara Plaisted of San Diego’s Urban Tribal Dance Company will be featured at our fest.  They promote an urban influenced dance style and minimised costuming emphasizing body movements over ornamentation.  I remember seeing them on a dvd titledTribal Evolution and their choreography and isolations were totally mesmerising.  I have watched the same piece at least 20 times and I’m still blown away each time.

6] ANY SPECIAL EVENTS THROUGHOUT THE WEEKEND?  The primary special event will be the Red Carpet Night.  Sara and Heather will of course be performing as well as Ghawazi Caravan, Urban Qabila, Gypsy Noir, Tribal Jewels and many others.

7] I HEAR YOU ARE HAVING A FUNDRAISER FOR THE FESTIVAL? CAN YOU TELL ME MORE ABOUT THIS?  We are looking to hold a fundraising concert in May this year.  Many of those performing at the Red Carpet Night will be performing as a taster for what the festival will have in store.  Information will be posted to Urban Qabila’s website as information is available.


I want the festival to be a positive educational environment and a solid & supportive community experience.  In addition I’m hoping we’ll all come away inspired artistically and exhilarated from sharing a really enjoyable weekend together.

Sounds like its going to be a lot of fun. To coincide with the festival we also have the return of Carolena & Megha for the General Skills certificate. This will take place the week before the festival: 29th, 30th & 21st of August. So if you are wanting to come along to both events but can’t afford the  extra airfare why not come along to both super events.

If you want more info on the festival please contact

If you want more inf on the general Skills with Carolena & Megha you can contact me: