By 2002, UNMATA was a student troupe from WORLD (Womb of Real Life Dance) Studio owned by Amy Sigil in Sacramento, CA . In 2004, Amy decided to join the group and to "up the game"! UNMATA is now a professional, multi-award-winning, bellydance fusion troupe and art-bound circle of friends, based at Hot Pot Studios, Sacramento since 2008. UNMATA’s current members are Amy Sigil , Shelly DeCant , Kari VanderZwaag and Sarah Stinson .
Teaching and Performing their distinct “Tough Love” style internationally at major festivals and events across the country and around the globe, tribal-fusion powerhouse UNMATA’s high-energy brand of dance has packed the house and electrified audiences at venues of all sizes. Whether using fire, swords, or just the sweat off their own bodies, UNMATA always satisfies!
The high-energy teamforce of UNMATA is known for extreme choreography, inventive Tribal improvisation, and for tapping into an unmistakable divine inebriation on and off stage.
UNMATA has brought home awards such as Bellydance Troupe of the Year 2004, Bellydance Troupe USA 2004, Ensemble of the Year 2005, and Tribal Fusion Group of the Universe 2007.
UNMATA is the Sanskrit name synonumous with the thorn-apple, a powerful herb used in ancient times to reveal a divine state of inebriation through movement.
« A very long time ago there was a plant that just appeared in my back yard, small weed of sorts at the time. Plum, my youngest daughter, thought it was super cute and decided to water it to see how big she could get it to grow. It grew to be 6 feet tall with beautiful flowers and giant spiked seed pods. She collected the seeds and the next year we planed about 7 plants. We hung them in the fall to dry the flowers and I happen to have a hafla at my house at that time. Luna says to me “Do you know what those are Amy? I”m bringing you a book.” Turns out it”s Datura, also called UNMATA in India. UNMATA is sanscrit for “Divine Innebriation”. Turns out the plant was a hallucinagenic. »
As Unmata began to perform more regularly, Amy wanted to unify UNMATA with some sort of matching jewelry or accessory to identify themselvesby. She turned to a friend, Ryan Henderson, and asked him to create a simple design out of welded copper wire which would incorporate the symbols associated with the cycle of the moon. As Amy puts it, the symbol itself is the combination of a waxing and waning moon facing each other, but the significance lies in the empty space in between, representing infinite possibilities.
The name UNMATA and the symbol have grown beyond the edges of the local dance community and have extended around the globe. Many dancers around the world have chosen to adorn their skin with the symbol. Each person who has embraced the symbol has a different story, a unique inspiration and affinity towards the symbol. To each person, that empty space of infinite possibility calls them with a different song, in a different voice.
The UNMATA Tattoo project
2012 – Art photography book of UNMATA symbol tattoos from dancers and friends, worldwide. It is a story about why all of us did it !
“The movement around the symbol is about people pushing bounderies, about people being experimental, about being inclusive, about being individual and finding a family IN being an individual (…) and find yourself.” Amy Sigil